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Choosing an estate agent – 8 questions you should be asking

Deciding to sell your home is one of the biggest decisions you will make. Your home will be full of memories that can make the choice to move an emotional one, and that’s before taking into account the financial aspect. You might be moving for a variety of reasons, from moving closer to friends and/or family, needing a larger space for your family, or for that retirement dream you have! You need to make sure your home is in the right hands to ensure a smooth process from start to finish and to take some of the stress off your shoulders. You won’t be short of estate agents to choose from, but how do you find the right fit for you? Whilst choosing an estate agent is a personal choice, we have put together 8 questions that can help narrow down the perfect estate agency for you!

Before you even speak to an agent, the first step is to work out what you need from the experience. Are you looking to move in a specific timescale? Have you already found your next property, or would you like to hear about any that may meet your criteria (if so what are your criteria)? Your agent will want to know why you are moving, and any expectations you may have.

Who are they?

When meeting an estate agent, or even before, it’s a great idea to check out their website and get a feel for how they present themselves. Is their site easy to use, and clear with its information? If you struggle at this first hurdle, perhaps they may not be the fit for you. If you know someone that has personally dealt with an estate agency, ask for their honest feedback – You will find people are vocal about bad experiences but may need to be directly asked to hear about some wonderful customer service.

Their current properties?

Do they have any properties that are similar to yours? If so, take a look at how they are marketed to get a feel of what to expect. You may think a large catalogue reflects a successful business, but dig deeper and you could potentially see properties that have been on the market for quite some time. Additionally, if they have a huge catalogue of properties for sale, do they have enough staff to juggle them and still provide some fantastic one on one service to a new vendor?

This also gives you a great opportunity to gauge what a potential buyer’s experience will be like!

Their marketing strategy?

There is no one size fits all when it comes to selling your property. An experienced estate agent will be able to tailor a marketing experience to your individual requirements. This is where sitting down and working out what you want comes in handy. Do you want something lowkey? Perhaps you don’t want to go on any websites, and want the estate agents to find the ideal buyers for you? Being upfront with your estate agent at this early stage can help ensure a smoother process with your marketing strategy.

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How is the market performing?

This goes hand in hand with asking about their market strategy. The property market, especially over the last 2 years, is always changing. How will your estate agent keep on top of the current climate, and adapt accordingly? This will give you a good sense of how long properties are taking to sell, and whether they are selling in the region of the asking price. Finding out at this stage how forward thinking your estate agent is can save a lot of stress in the future.

Where do you feel my property sits on the market?

If you have an ideal figure in mind, you should be upfront with this. A good estate agent will not just parrot this back to you, they want to get to know you and your expectations. It may be that your agent cannot give you a figure during their valuation as they want to go back to the office and look into the current market, but they should be providing you with a range soon after. Some agents will completely overprice your property to get your custom, only for you to find you need to carry out a reduction in price before you get any viewers! Listen to your agent and their reasons for the price range they are suggesting, they are the professionals for a reason and should want to help you in your journey.

What are your fees?

This is another aspect that isn’t set in stone, most agencies will not have a set fee, but rather a fee that reflects your property and its place in the current market. Try not to be drawn in by any agency offering low fees without backing up their reasons for it. An agency’s fees will indirectly show you the work their staff are carrying out in order to sell your property. Different estate agencies will have different experience levels, and cheaper is not always better!

This is also the time for any potential agents to be honest about any other fees you may have to pay, e.g. do you need to pay for an energy assessment? Will you need to pay for online marketing? Are you expected to pay anything towards your marketing materials?

Do you have any buyers in mind?

A great agent will know who they are trying to find a home for. It might be that your location is perfect for a particular family, or perhaps they think your home might be a good fit for an out of town couple. Whilst this is unlikely to guarantee you a sale, it lets you know how informed the agent is with their current buyers.

Who will carry out the viewings?

Who are the staff that carry out viewings? Are they knowledgeable and passionate about helping to find the right buyer? Do they prompt viewers for honest feedback on your property? There is no point in receiving feedback that every viewer loves your property if it doesn’t lead to any offers. Viewers can be remarkably blunt if prompted, and could give you some great insight into what works and doesn’t work for your property. It may transpire that you could do something simple to help potential buyers see themselves living in your property, such as dressing your small room as a bedroom or home office!

Above all, choosing an agent has to feel right. Is this someone who you feel will communicate honestly with you, and often? Do you feel they can have conversations with you, even if they aren’t the most positive? And do they know the local area?

At Wellington Evans we are passionate about finding the right buyer for each property. We don’t believe the property market has to be rigid, but that it should leave room for flexibility. Finding an agent that can think on their feet and provide advice based on experience is a real asset in your selling journey.

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