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10 questions to ask estate agents when selling your home

Choosing an estate agent is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when selling your home.

Unfortunately, in many cases you’ll only realise you picked the wrong one when your home isn’t selling – and you’re tied into a contract.

So, being prepared and doing your due diligence on agents in your area is key to making the right decision.

Here are 10 crucial questions you should be asking your local estate agent…

Questions to ask estate agents when selling

1 How much do you charge?

Most agents will charge a percentage of your home’s sale price as a fee.

This percentage can vary, so be sure to ask your agent exactly what fee they’ll charge and why they propose to charge it.

For instance, if your agent charges a 1% fee and your property sells for £300,000, their fee will be £3,000.

2 Are there any other, ‘hidden’ costs?

Your agent should include various things within their commission, including:

  • A ‘For Sale’ board
  • Professional marketing photographs of your home
  • A floorplan
  • Marketing on the major property portals like Rightmove and Zoopla

If you need an updated Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), your agent may charge you extra for this.

EPCs last for 10 years, but you can’t sell your home without one and can’t put it on the market without having at least applied for a new one if yours has expired.

3 How will you market my property?

Your agent should be able to give you a comprehensive run-down of how they intend to sell your home.

With the majority of property sales starting online, ask your agent which of the three main portals they’ll market your home on:

  • Rightmove
  • Zoopla
  • OnTheMarket

As well as those online marketing methods, will they advertise your property in their window display?

Do they have a database of ready and waiting buyers looking for properties like yours?

How will they promote your property on social media for maximum exposure?

4 What experience do you have of selling properties like mine?

Ask your agent about other properties they’ve sold that are similar to yours.

How quickly did they sell? What was the interest like from buyers and what was their feedback after viewings?

Your agent should be able to provide you with data to back up what they say, too.

5 How quickly do these kinds of properties sell in this area?

Thanks to the stamp duty holiday and buoyant buyer interest, properties in the UK are selling quicker than ever before.

According to Rightmove, the average time to find a buyer is down to 50 days.

Your agent should be able to show you how quickly properties like yours are selling now against how quickly they sold in the past.

This can help you judge buyer interest in your area and help you decide on the right asking price for your home.

6 What kind of contract will I be on?

There are a number of different kinds of estate agent contract, so be sure to ask yours what kind you’ll be on, so you know where you stand.

The three main types of contract are:

  • · Sole agency

A sole agency agreement means your agent is the only one permitted to sell your home for a stipulated amount of time, but if you find your own buyer, you don’t have to pay their commission fee.

  • · Multi-agency contract

This means you can use more than one estate agent to sell your home and you only pay the agent that does. Fees for this kind of contract are usually higher than a sole agency agreement but having more than one agent marketing your home can sometimes help secure a faster sale.

  • · Sole selling rights contract

This contract means your estate agent is the only one allowed to sell your home for a permitted period of time. This time period is often 12 weeks, but can vary, and even if you find a buyer yourself, you still have to pay the agent’s commission.

7 How long will I be tied in for?

Many sole estate agent contracts will include a tie-in period, usually 12 weeks, where no other agents are able to sell your property.

Find out from your agent what the tie-in period is in their contract before signing and ask them if there is a fee to withdraw from the contract early if you’re unhappy.

8 How did you reach your valuation of my home?

If you invite several estate agents to value your home, you might be surprised at the difference between each agent’s valuation.

Don’t be afraid to ask your agent how they reached their valuation figure and request to see local market data on properties similar to yours.

9 What happens when the stamp duty holiday ends?

The stamp duty holiday, which came into action in July, means buyers no longer pay any stamp duty on the first £500,000 of a property’s purchase price.

That means they could save up to £15,000.

But the ‘holiday’ is due to end on March 31, 2021, which could mean the stamp duty exemption threshold reverts back to £125,000 for most buyers and £300,000 for first timers.

Your agent should be able to provide you with insight into the current market in your area since the stamp duty holiday started and advise you on a suitable asking price taking the current market conditions into account.

10 What should I fix before selling my home?

This is a question worth asking, as your estate agent should know exactly what buyers are looking for in your area.

As well as advising on areas of your home to improve or ‘fix-up’, your agent should be able to suggest other steps you can take to make your home more appealing to buyers.

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