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Questions to ask your estate agent

Rhino Home Protect 09 October 2023

Buying or selling your home is one of the most significant events in your life, and finding the right estate agent can make all the difference in how this experience unfolds. Doing your homework and being prepared with intelligent questions to ask an estate agent is essential. By asking the right questions, you can ensure that you trust the agent and believe they have your best interests at heart rather than solely focusing on their commission. 

We've put together a guide for buyers and sellers with important questions to ask your estate agent before you even start the property transaction process. 

Choosing the Right Estate Agent

Choosing the right estate agent can make a world of difference in how your property transaction turns out. Asking smart questions ensures you find someone with your best interests at heart!

a. What experience and qualifications does the estate agent have?

Knowing the agent's experience and qualifications guarantees they have the necessary skills to handle your property transaction. An experienced agent will better understand the local market, property trends, and buyer preferences, increasing the chances of a successful sale.

b. How long has the estate agent been working in the local market?

An agent with significant experience in the local market can offer valuable insights and guidance, helping you set an appropriate price and navigate potential challenges unique to the area.

Property-Related Questions

a. What is the property's current market value?

You need to know the property's estimated value not to underprice or overprice your home when selling and not put in an offer for a home that is far more than it's worth. Knowing this will help you make informed decisions when negotiating with potential buyers or sellers.

b. Are there any known issues or repairs needed in the property?

Full disclosure of any existing problems or necessary repairs prevents surprises later in the process. It allows you to address these issues upfront, avoiding delays or complications during the sale.

Sales and Marketing Strategy

a. How will the estate agent market and advertise the property?

As a seller, you want a robust marketing strategy to attract potential buyers and maximise your property's visibility. Knowing how the agent plans to showcase your home will help you assess their efforts in reaching the right audience.

b. What is their approach to attracting potential buyers or tenants?

A proactive approach to attracting potential buyers or tenants demonstrates the agent's commitment to finding the right match for your property. This can lead to a quicker sale and a more satisfactory outcome for both parties.

Viewing and Open House Arrangements

a. How will viewings be conducted? Can virtual viewings be arranged?

Understanding the viewing process ensures that it aligns with your preferences and schedule. A good estate agent will want to personally attend and handle all the viewings to build that relationship with potential buyers, answer questions you might not know, and make sure that the right offer will benefit both parties. However, virtual viewings can enhance accessibility for potential buyers, especially when physical visits are challenging.

b. Will the estate agent handle open house events, and how frequently will they be held?

Open house events attract multiple potential buyers, creating a sense of competition and driving up offers. Knowing how often you can expect these open house events lets you plan accordingly and ensure you showcase your property effectively.

Negotiation and Offer Handling

a. How will the estate agent handle negotiations with potential buyers or sellers?

An agent's negotiation skills can greatly impact the final sale price. Understanding their approach to negotiation will give you confidence that they can advocate for your best interests and secure the best deal possible.

b. What is their approach to managing multiple offers?

In a competitive market, you may receive multiple offers for your property. Knowing how the agent handles multiple offers allows you to evaluate their strategy for getting your property's best price.

Fees and Contracts

a. What are the estate agent's fees and payment structure?

In the UK, estate agent fees typically range from 0.75% to 3.5% of the property's final selling price. The percentage may vary depending on the location, the estate agent, and the services offered.

The two main types of estate agent contracts are the sole agency contract, where you appoint one agent exclusively to sell your property, and the multi-agency contract, which allows you to appoint multiple agents to market and sell your property simultaneously, with the commission going to the agent who successfully finds a buyer and completes the sale. 

b. Can they provide a breakdown of any additional costs involved in the transaction?

Aside from the estate agent's fees, there might be other expenses you need to consider during the property transaction. Here are some typical additional costs you might encounter: 

  • Legal fees: Solicitor or conveyancer fees for handling the sale's legal aspects.
  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC): A certificate that shows the property's energy efficiency.
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax: A tax imposed on property purchases above a certain threshold.
  • Land Registry fees: Charges for registering the property with the Land Registry.
  • Mortgage arrangement fees: If you're getting a mortgage, fees might be associated with arranging the loan.

It's essential to clarify the fees with your estate agent before proceeding with the sale to understand the costs involved and avoid any unexpected expenses later in the process.

Communication and Updates

a. How frequently will the estate agent provide updates on the progress of the sale or purchase?

A reliable estate agent should provide regular updates on your sale or purchase progress, keeping you informed of any developments, offers, or potential buyers, typically through weekly or bi-weekly updates. Open and consistent communication is essential to ensure you are well-informed and confident throughout the property transaction process.

b. What channels of communication will be used for regular contact?

Ensuring that the agent's preferred communication channels align with your own helps establish clear lines of communication throughout the process.

Timeframe and Completion Process

a. How long does the estate agent anticipate the process to take?

Understanding the estimated time frame allows you to plan other aspects of your life accordingly and manage your expectations.

b. What steps are involved in the completion process, and what can be expected?

During the completion process, several key steps will be undertaken to finalise the property transaction and transfer ownership. The specific steps may vary depending on the nature of the sale or purchase. Knowing the completion process in detail helps you prepare for the final stages of the transaction and ensures a smooth and timely completion.

You can confidently choose the right estate agent to guide you through the property transaction by asking these essential questions. They will empower you to gather important information, make informed decisions, and ensure a smooth and successful property transaction.

Choosing the right estate agent is a big step in buying or selling your home. But remember, it's always good to have a backup plan. Just like you'd get insurance for your car or phone, you can protect yourself from unexpected costs when buying or selling a house with Home Buyers or Home Sellers insurance. Want to feel safe and sound during your property journey?

Contact Rhino Home Protect and find out how our insurance can help you relax a bit more. Let's chat soon!

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