How to Compare Estate Agents

If you are selling a residential or other property in the UK, you may well have wondered which estate agent to trust to handle such an important transaction. With so much choice, how can one be sure of finding the right sales professional? Below, we look at some essential questions to ask, areas to consider and points to watch. With the tips in this guide, selecting the right estate agent to sell your home should be straightforward and simple.

Recommendations

Depending on the area in which you are planning to sell, your friends, family or colleagues might be able to recount their experiences with local estate agents. Why not ask them how the sale went, and whether they got on well with the staff? When you instruct an estate agent to handle a sale (or purchase), you should be able to expect a complete, competent and personalised service.

Comparison Sites

Using a comparison site or two could well save time by directing you to the best estate agent in your area, based on local sales results. If you decide to compare estate agents online, some options include:

The Agent Guide

  • The Agent Guide, powered by Yopa. Usefully, this site gives local background information including transport links. There is also a graph of properties sold by agent, along with a map of the area that shows the locations of the agents’ offices.

allAgents

  • allAgents, which also lists full details. This listing engine also provides league tables, although the results might be fewer in number for smaller towns.

getagent.co.uk

  • getagent.co.uk, though this page (and others that it powers) asks users to give an email address.

The House Shop

  • The House Shop, a similar comparison tool and which states that it also uses independent property sales data.

Questionnaires

Once you have chosen – say – two or preferably three local agents to evaluate, you might want to have a list of questions ready to put to the consultant when he or she visits your property for an initial valuation. Of course, ranking the answers tends to be partly subjective; is the company (or the representative) one you want to work with, for instance? Nonetheless, there ought to be some clear and objective facts and figures to compare, such as fees, terms and conditions.

Some of the points that canny sellers consider are:

  • How much are the fees? A difference of just a few decimals after the percentage point can swiftly run into several hundreds of pounds in commission-based fees which come off what you receive, i.e. deducted from the net sale price, It is crucial, therefore, to check the arithmetic before signing any contract.
  • How long does the agent say it usually takes them to sell a property?
  • Are the for-sale sign or board, photographs and floor plans (if applicable) all included?
  • What are the contract terms? Check any minimum lock-in period, especially if there is any suggestion of sole selling rights. Importantly, wherever possible, opt for a sole agency or a multiple agency agreement.
  • Who will conduct the viewings and show potential buyers the property – and when?
  • Which websites does the company use? Currently, Zoopla and Rightmove are the most popular property listings portals.
  • When will the property be visible on the agent’s website, and for how long?

When a homeowner plans to move home, sell up or relocate to new horizons, it is natural to want the sale to be as stress-free and smooth as possible. Choosing an estate agent with a combination of experience, success and good reputation means one should be able to rely on them to manage unexpected issues, solve problems and minimise delays. When you buy or sell a home, professional standards of service, efficient staff and a smooth transaction are all essential.

Preparation and Presentation

After making the decision to sell, you may wish to take advantage of additional services that certain agents offer, such as property preparation and home presentation. Sometimes termed showcasing, it stands to reason that making the house or flat as attractive and appealing to buyers as possible ought to quicken the sale. With new properties coming onto the market regularly, it is worth considering how to make the property on offer stand out from the competition.

Finally, your agent should work with your home conveyancer or solicitor to handle matters proactively and courteously, always aiming to exchange contracts and complete the sale on the planned dates.

Good luck with your move!

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