Sole or Multiple Agent?
The first question to ask yourself is whether you will choose a sole or multiple agents to sell your property. Listing with your property with every Estate Agent on the high street will get the most exposure and more viewers through the door, but you will pay much more in fees. Many house sellers choose a sole agent for this very reason. However, a sole agent may take longer for your property to sell so isn't advisable if you are in a hurry. However sole agents generally work on a lower commission so may actually save you money. There are pros and cons to both options, and there isn't a one-size fits all approach here so do your research.
Word of Mouth
A great incentive to use a particular Estate Agent is through personal recommendation. Ask friends and family or neighbours what experiences they have had. Anyone who has had a good experience with an Estate Agent is worth listening to, because this can cut out a lot of the searching and the mistakes that could be made.
Good Estate Agents know the market in your local area like the back of their hand, and they also have good connections with local people, that are in the market to buy. The impact of this cannot be exaggerated - a good Estate Agent can find the perfect buyer for your property, quickly and easily, simply because of their network of active house buyers. They will be close by, to meet prospective buyers and this makes it good practice to choose an Estate Agent local to the property you are selling.
Unfortunately, some agents give deliberate optimistic valuations as a ploy to get you to go with them, after all, they know that the valuation is the main reason a seller will use them. This is not good practice and you should not be fooled by higher than expected valuations. Err on the side of caution, and find an agent who gives you what you think is a realistic price according to the market. This is much better than you being fooled by a high price and then being disappointed months down the track when your property still hasn't sold. Here's the thing. You, as the seller, can set the price for your property. You can say to the agent exactly how much you would like to sell your property for. It has been this way since time immemorial, and it is not going to change.
When you are looking to buy a property, the first place you head for is the Internet so it is vital the Estate Agent you choose to sell your property advertises online. As well as listing your property on their own website, always check which portals they will use to advertise your property - the big players are Zoopla and Rightmove with a new portal OnTheMarket having launched at the start of 2015. When selling a property, it is important to consider which portals your chosen agent uses to ensure your property gets maximum exposure.
All Estate Agents have different terms and conditions, and their fees cover different things - many of which are open to negotiation - so it is always best to ask. Estate Agents usually charge the seller between 1% and 3%, excluding VAT, for a sole agency agreement of the price at which the property sells. With the VAT added on, the fee rises between 1.2% and 3.6% of the value of the property. Fees are generally negotiable, and a good Estate Agent will be happy to talk this through with you to find a level of fee you are comfortable with. If an Estate Agent has incredibly low fees compared to other agents, then it is worthwhile investigating what is covered in the terms and conditions. For instance, the quoted fee may not cover marketing of the property, preparing the property details or even for sale boards. The best Estate Agents are upfront about fees, and what is and isn't covered. Additionally, some Estate Agents stipulate that a fee must be paid just for finding you a 'ready, willing and able purchaser,' rather than for actually selling the property. This means you still have to pay the agent's fee even if the sale falls through. It is advisable to only use an Estate Agent who charges a fee as a result of exchange of contracts, and nothing less.
The online Estate Agent market is still relatively new, although a quick search on Google provides a plethora of online agents on the web. Online state agents offer cheaper services than traditional high street Estate Agents and there are no standards in terms of quality provided. If you are considering an online Estate Agent, always contact them by telephone and have a discussion with them regarding their practices and their experience. In addition, it is a good idea to look for testimonials, preferably contacting some previous clients to see what their experience was like. Online Estate Agents will not have the in-depth local knowledge that a traditional high street Estate Agent will have. Therefore it may be advisable to contact a local Estate Agent for a valuation first, so you are sure your property will be marketed at the right price.
Contact your local Whitegates branch for a free, no obligation, Market Appraisal of your property and see how we can help you achieve your sale.Alternatively, see our tips on how to get your property ready to sell.