You’reTip Top Now Our Top Tips: Choosing an Estate Agent

Paul Hajek | 3 Mar 2011

 Day 3: Everything You Need To Know About Buying and Selling a House or a Flat in 31 Daily Bite-Sized Chunks

Welcome to Day 3 of our special series of blog posts running every day in March. 
If you have heeded our advice in our previous blog post you have or are in the course of putting your house or flat in tip top condition ready to sell in the Spring.
But like Conveyancing Solicitors not all Estate Agents are the same.

Here are our top tips to help you choose an Estate Agent to help you sell your home.

1. Ask around.

Talk to friends and colleagues about their experiences

2. Ask your Conveyancing Solicitor for advice.

Yes, strange as it may seem, your Conveyancing Solicitor will have had dealings with all the local agents. Your Conveyancing Solicitor may also be able to negotiate a better fee you as well.
And no, your Conveyancing solicitor won’t charge for his time and advice.

3. How Many Valuations (or Market Appraisals, it’s posher) Do You Need?

If you get three valuations you should be able to smooth out any anomalies between the top price and lowest price.

Some Agents will try and bamboozle you with the highest valuation to gain the instruction.

The theory goes that if it doesn’t sell and they have your property long enough, you will eventually drop your price to a more market sensitive price.

It is tempting to go for the middle valuation, but there are a few other points you should bear in mind with the current state of the market;

• Getting the price right in the current market is more important than ever to avoid your property sticking and eventually going stale

• Ask your Estate Agent as well for “priced to sell” rather than expect to achieve. Remember, your Estate Agent wants to create buzz fro your property, so    attracting more than one interested buyer can lead to a small scale (or large) bidding war.

4. Horses for Courses.

As we said before, not all Estate Agents are the same, some will specialise in particular types of property e.g. top of the market middle market and mass market.

Look around for “For Sale” boards in your area and do research on line to see the Estate Agent most suited to your property

5. Question1: Your time starts now…

Don’t be afraid to ask searching questions about the Estate Agent’s competence. Any Estate Agent worth his salt will be more than happy to demonstrate their track record and their expertise

So here goes:

• How many similar properties have you sold in the last 6 months and what percentage of the asking price did you achieve (The average at the moment is about 92%)

• What information have you based your valuation on and have you proof

• Will you accompany all viewings, and in the evening s and at weekends

• What is included in their fee; does it include all advertising costs and brochures

• Where will your property be advertised; portals; regionally; locally

6. Are Estate Agents Fees Negotiable

Yes, of course they are, but remember you are dealing with an expert negotiator, so it won’t be easy.

If your Estate Agent drops his fees too quickly, consider how well he or she would be able to convince a Buyer that your property was correctly priced

7. What type of Estate Agency Agreement?

Sole Agency Agreement:

This is the most common and works for both parties best. You get total commitment from your Estate Agent, the fees will be the lowest and you only pay the one fee if a sale is agreed and completed

Joint Agency;

Can work well if you have a property, which would benefit, from both local exposure and national exposure. The downside will be a higher fee as the Estate Agents split the fee

Multi Agency:

The most expensive (as only one Estate Agent will get paid) and tends to be the marketing of last resort. Does bring with it a hint of desperation

9. The Small Print

As Conveyancing Solicitors we ought to give some advice (general advice
you understand- speak to your own Conveyancing Solicitor for specific
advice-we’re only trying to help) about the Estate Agency Commission

Resist too long an agreement. 6 weeks should be enough for you to gauge
how good your Estate Agent is, and you can then extend it by one or two
weeks notice. You remain in control.

The average time to sell a property at the moment is just over 10 weeks so
an agency period of 12 weeks should suffice (that’s 10 weeks and 2 weeks

Happy Selling!

Be sure to sign up for a chance to have your Conveyancing carried out by Clutton Cox, free of charge. 


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