HOW TO CHOOSE AN ESTATE AGENT
Top tips for choosing an estate agent
Selecting an estate agent to market your home can be a daunting task, especially with so many to choose from. When trusting someone to sell your biggest asset, it’s essential you know what you’re signing up for in order to get it sold quickly, professionally and achieving the best price possible. NAEA Propertymark have outlined a few things to consider before choosing an agent.
Make a shortlist
Start by creating a list of possible agents. Reach out to family, friends and neighbours for any recommendations. It’s important you do some research to see if the estate agent not only marketing but is also actually achieving sales on your type of house in your area, as some estate agents specialise in specific types of properties. Consider looking on online sites such as On The Market, Rightmove, or Zoopla and check that the estate agent has taken attractive pictures of all the important features of the houses they are selling.
Ask questions and get a valuation
Once you have narrowed down a shortlist of possible agents, arrange a visit to their office to meet them face-to-face as this is a good time to determine if they are friendly, professional and knowledgeable. Following this, contact a few different agents to provide a valuation and marketing strategy individually for your property and ask them what their advice is for a successful sale. They should be able to provide some local comparisons and reasons to justify the price they have come up with. Ask lots of questions and make a mental note of the agent’s punctuality, politeness, knowledge of the process and management of your expectations.
What are their fees?
You will then need to look carefully at the nitty-gritty of the contract and the agent’s fees. If you are selling your house using a traditional, high-street estate agent, their fee will be based on a percentage of the price paid by the buyer, but as in any contract check what you are paying for and what is not included. In order to avoid unexpected costs, don’t sign anything that you don’t understand and make sure to ask about anything that is not clear. Avoid tying yourself into a long agency period.
Check industry credentials
Remember the industry is as yet unregulated with little barrier to entry. It’s wise to choose an estate agent that is a member of a trade body, who applies to a strict code of conduct, as this indicates a higher level of professionalism and diligence. NAEA Propertymark Protected agents will give you the assurance that your estate agent follows best practice, meets all requirements of the profession, has voluntarily chosen to be regulated and works to high industry standards. They hold professional indemnity insurance and if they are holding monies are required to be covered by Client Money Protection to give you peace of mind throughout the sale of your house.
See what kind of service is offered
Don’t be afraid of asking lots of questions about the service offered. This includes finding out how easy it will be to get hold of your agent, and how often they will update you on their progress. As a seller, you need to be fully involved and informed at all times. You also need to trust that the agent is batting for you, not the buyer.
Find an agent you can trust
Finally, as a homeowner, having an estate agent that you believe in is a must. Whether through local word of mouth, testimonial or Internet reviews, start off on a good foot with an estate agent that you feel confident in, and with whom you have empathy.
The Selling Process
This guide is provided to you from the Royal Institution of Chartered SurvorsDecided to sell?
If you have decided to put your property on the market remember it can take anything from four weeks to several months if a chain is involved.1. Choosing an estate agent
Once you have decided to sell you need to employ an estate agent to put your property on the market for sale.2. Marketing your property
An estate agent will discuss the best way to sell your property and will discuss with you the price to expect from the sale. You will need to sign a contract with the estate agent marketing your property.3. Agreeing the sale
You will have to negotiate around making and accepting an offer on your property. It is up to the seller on how much they are willing to accept.4. Instruct your solicitor
Your solicitor will help prepare the documents required to help put your property on the market for sale. They will also get involved in the negotiations through to the exchange of contracts and completion of sale.5. Exchange of contracts
Both parties will sign contracts and agree a date for moving. At this stage the sale becomes legal and binding.6. Completion
Date of moving. The funds will be exchanged and the keys will be left with the estate agent.Agreeing the sale
Most property is bought and sold through estate agents. Once a marketing figure has been put on the property, you will find that most buyers will put in offers.
You will find negotiation around making and accepting an offer can be a lengthy process. You should ensure that you answer any queries that may be raised during negotiations.
All offers on the property must be forwarded onto the seller by the estate agent. It is up to the seller how much they are willing to accept. Your estate agent is pivotal in the negotiation process in ensuring that you reach an agreed price with the buyer.Instructing your solicitor
You will need to employ a solicitor to handle the legal aspects of selling your home.
Once a buyer has been found for the property your solicitor will liaise with the estate agent and the buyer's solicitor.
Exhange of Contracts & Completion
After all the enquiry forms and contracts have been signed and returned, this is the point at which it is time to exchange.
The buyer and the seller will agree a date for completion, i.e. the date that the seller will need to move out of the property
This is the stage at which the sale becomes legal and binding.
Your solicitor will also get involved in the contract negotiation, exchange of contracts and ensure completion through transferring the legal title and funds.
The date of moving will have been agreed by both parties.
On completion day the funds will be exchanged between solicitors and the keys should be left with the estate agent for collection by the buyer.Sellers Checklist
Here's a brief summary of the various costs you have to consider when you sell your home:Estate agent's fees
Charges vary from one agent to another, so it's worth checking on fees in your area. You should consider how the Home Information Pack will be paid for, as this will vary from agent to agent.Legal fees
These vary from place to place. Expect to pay the solicitor about 1% of the total agreed price - but check the range of services they'll provide for the fee, and ask if they offer a no sale, no charge deal.
It's often worth choosing a solicitor or conveyancer on the recommendation of a friend or colleague - otherwise contact the Law Society to find firms in your area.Surveyor's fees
If you're moving to a new home, it's worth paying for a survey on the new property from a qualified RICS member - especially on older properties, or buildings you want to extend or renovate.
Again, surveyors' fees vary, so compare prices before choosing, and negotiate the fee to match the size and type of property. Ask the surveyor exactly what's covered in the survey, so you know what you're paying for.Moving costs
The cost of moving varies according to how many belongings you have, how difficult they are to pack, how far you're moving and the time of year.
Shop around for the best deal - and remember it's worth checking to see if the quote includes insurance.Storage
If you're not moving straight into a new home, you may have to consider storage. The costs for this vary according to how much you need to store.
As a rough guide, a two-bedroom house will probably fill up to four containers, and a three-bedroom house can fill six.