How do I choose an estate agent to sell my home?
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Our expert Simon Gerrard answers your property questions.
I am selling my home and am deciding which estate agent to go with. What should I consider?
When choosing which estate agent to trust with the sale of your home, it’s important to remember that instructing the agent that tells you the highest price and offers the cheapest commission is likely to be a big mistake! There are two far more important facets that you should consider when instructing an agent, to ensure you get the most for your home: - a) The agents marketing and b) their ability to guide the sale through to completion.
When Mary Portas came into my business a few years ago (Secret Shopper – Channel 4) she pointed out that in reality until a sale is agreed, 100 per cent of what an agent does is marketing to find a buyer.
So the agents ‘reach’ - how many potential buyers can see or will be informed that your property is for sale, is integral to achieving the best price. Therefore the agent who can give your home the best quality promotion and the widest reach will maximise the price. So look at the resources the agency can offer in terms – Do they have a network of offices worth of buyers that will see your home? Are they Independent or a Corporate? As you will generally get a more personal service from an Independent. What general advertising do they do to encourage buyers to register with them? Do they have a recognised Brand that will mean more buyers will have registered with them?
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You should remember the first impression is imperative, not only on the viewing, but also the marketing. It is not only about how quickly the agent will list the property, they must ensure the pictures, floorplan and description are all in place before going live to market, or you will lose the initially impact.
The asking price is critical, ensuring your property is correctly positioned in the market, will attract interest from the right buyers. So investigate and ask the agent to demonstrate what percentage of their properties sell at close to asking price and how many properties needs to be reduced before they get an offer? It is a common trap for an agent to value high and tie you into a long agency agreement only to reduce the price after the initial marketing.
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The wrong price could ultimately cost you thousands in the long run while saving a few hundred pounds on the fee could result in poor or limited marketing which can cost tens of thousands of pounds. You may achieve a good price, but if more buyers knew your property was for sale, you could have achieved a great price.
Check that the agent will carry out ALL the viewings and won’t leave you to show buyers round, as buyers generally feel intimidated by the owner shows them and less free to explore.
Find out if the agent will promote your property on the three major portals – Rightmove, Zoopla and Primelocation? And if they will be using premium listings, or videos to make your home stand out from all the other properties?
Find out how many people you will be dealing with in the agency – is there one point of contact or could you be dealing with a number of different people. For instance in my agency you can expect calls from negotiators at any of our offices who will all be helping to find a buyer – however the seller will have one point of contact who will keep them full appraised of overall progress and developments and who they can ask for advice.
Simon Gerrard is the managing director of north London estate agents, Martyn Gerrard and a former president of the National Association of Estate Agents. Email your property questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.