How to choose the right Estate Agent

September 3, 2020Categories: Selling, Buying
Lady with an estate agency window showing properties in the background

When buying something it's often about weighing up the pro’s and con’s before deciding to commit to the purchase and questioning, for example, whether it’s going to make your life easier,  more pleasant, if there are good reviews about it and, the big question, whether it’s good value for money?.

It’s just the same when choosing an estate agent but, with the services on offer often appearing very similar, many people simply opt for the cheapest without considering anything else. The ultimate cost of doing so, however, could far outweigh the savings they think they are making.

So, even if you think you’ve decided which agent to choose, here’s some additional questions that might help you to make that final decision.  

If an agent has a large number of 'For Sale' boards on show – that means they are the best doesn’t it?

Not necessarily. There’s the assumption that the more ‘For Sale’ boards you see from an agent, the more sales they achieve and they must be the best around. Some vendors, however, prefer not to have a ‘For Sale’ board outside their property and some agents simply don’t have to rely on them – using other ways to promote their properties, some of which are far more effective. Check out instead the agents’ website, the marketing packages they offer and the extent to which they go to promote your property locally and further afield. It’s often not just about a sign outside your door.   

The fee – surely it’s better to go for the cheapest?

Most estate and letting agents will charge a similar fee for selling your property, and some may even entice you with an offer, but if the service is below par, it’s you who could suffer both emotionally and financially in the longer term. A low fee can lead to low levels of service simply because you’re not paying for anything more and that, in turn, can lead to a slower, more complicated sale or even being unable to sell for the price you want. Promoting your property extensively, finding reliable buyers, negotiating the price and helping the sale progress can make all the difference but sometimes you have a to pay a bit more for that professional service.  

Paying up front – is that right?

It’s not illegal but can prove costly. Some agents ask to be paid upfront but that means there’s no incentive for them to work harder for you. What happens, for example, if the sale becomes more complicated, the marketing techniques aren’t working or the selling process proves more difficult and you need help to deal with solicitors, surveyors etc.? You may want to change your approach, and need advice and support, but the agent who is paid up front may argue “that’s not what you’ve paid for”. 

They say my property is worth more than I expected – that’s good isn’t it?

Everyone likes to think their property is worth a lot of money – the more the better – and it can be flattering to hear the agent thinks that too with the expectation they will sell it for that amount. The reality, however, is that buyers probably know what is a reasonable price to pay. Watch out for the agents who overvalue, to entice you to choose them, and then, just weeks later, suggest you drop the price.

I’ll get a quicker sale if I sell it for less - won’t I?

No. Again agents who might suggest this could be looking for a quick sale and quick route to getting their fee but equally buyers might question why the property is cheaper than they expected and assume there is something wrong with it. It could dissuade buyers rather than encourage them.

So what should I look for when choosing an agent?

Ultimately the aim should be to sell your property at a reasonable cost, to achieve the best price, in the quickest time and gaining the support you need along the way from a reliable agent. One who demonstrates their professionalism through their online services, as demonstrated on their website, but also through their local teams - especially those who may live in the area they work and who have a vested interest in helping their fellow community members.

And it’s all about asking the right questions to make the right decision.

If you’d like to find out how Your Move could help you to sell, or buy, a property – and answer any questions you may have about the services on offer – simply contact one of our branches.