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How to Choose an Estate Agent: Top Tips

View profile for Paul Hajek
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We have used all our experience as top notch, quality solicitors in Chipping Sodbury, Bristol to bring to you a definitive guide to buying and selling your home 

This is Chapter 2 of our book "Don't even think about buying or selling your home until you've read this book -it will save you time & could save you thousands" gives guidance on what you can do to your property before you put it on the market for sale

Over the next month post or so we will post a Chapter from the book every other day.

But, if you can't bear the suspense, follow the link at the end of this post and receive a complimentary copy.

Choosing an Estate Agent: You're Tip Top, Now Our Top Tips: 

If you have heeded our advice you have, or are in the course of, putting your house in tip top condition ready to sell. But like Conveyancing Solicitors not all Estate Agents are the same.

Here are 9 Top Tips to help you choose an Estate Agent to help you sell your home

Top Tip #1. Ask around.

Talk to friends and colleagues about their experiences.

Top Tip #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 for you as well. And no, your Conveyancing Solicitor won’t charge for his time and advice.

Top Tip #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;

  • 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 to value your house on a “priced to sell” basis rather than just “expect to achieve”

Remember, your Estate Agent wants to create a buzz for your property, so attracting more than one interested buyer can lead to a small scale (or large) bidding war.

Top Tip #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.

Top Tip #5. Question1: Your time starts now...

Don’t be afraid to ask searching questions about the Estate Agent’s competence. Any Estate Agent worth their 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, in the evenings 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?”

Top Tip #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 their fees too quickly, consider how well he or she would be able to convince a Buyer that your property was correctly priced.

Top Tip #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. But, be aware that Sole Selling Rights are similar but the Estate Agent gets a commission even if you end up  selling to your mum or sister!

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.

Top Tip #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 Agreement.

Resist a ‘too long’ agreement, six 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’s10 weeks and 2 weeks notice).

Happy Selling!

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