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How to choose an estate agent

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Written by:
13/10/2014
According to recent research two thirds of home movers have had issues with their estate agent. How do you pick the right one?

The research, conducted by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), found that 21 per cent of people who had bought or sold a property in the last five years felt that their estate agent lacked communication skills. A further 14 per cent felt as though their agent “didn’t care about them”.

To avoid these issues, putting some care into choosing the right agent is vital. Russell Quirk, CEO of online estate agent eMoov.co.uk, says: “Selecting the right estate agent for your property move is essential. Choosing the right estate agent can help you sell quicker and achieve a better price.”

Here’s what to look for in an estate agent:

Cost

Always check the fees your potential estate agent charges. For many homeowners, Quirk says, this is a big factor. Consumers can save thousands of pounds in selling fees by making the correct choice, he says.

Service

With a full fifth of home movers accusing their estate agents of poor communication skills, being sure that your agent responds to you quickly is key according to Mark Hayward, managing director of the NAEA. Also be sure that you get along with your estate agent on a personal level.

Hayward says: “This will be invaluable throughout the process and will make it as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.”

Quirk adds: “If you work long hours in the week, even something as simple as agent opening hours could be a factor – you would need someone open late in the week or at weekends.”

Also, be sure that the person you meet will be the one dealing with your sale. Estate agents often put their top sales person in front of homeowners, before assigning the sale to the office trainee. 

Website

Checking that your estate agent’s website clearly lists property details is one way to confirm their communication skills, Hayward says, while asking friends, family and neighbours who have recently bought or sold homes for their recommendations can help you find an agent with a stirling reputation.

He says: “Looking out for advertisements in local newspapers will also show you which agents stand out from the crowd, and what areas the agents cover.”

Performance

You can see how well you chosen agent tends to perform on property portals, Quirk says. Check to see how long it takes them to sell properties and their average selling price.

Quirk says: “The national average selling price of an estate agent is 96 per cent of the listing price. It’s worth challenging a potential agent on their sales performance.”

Hayward adds: “Simply keeping an eye out for ‘for sale’ signs – and particularly ‘sold’ signs – in your local area will tell you the agents which are most popular.”

Credentials

Hayward recommends checking that any estate agent you’re considering is registered with a professional body. He says: “This means that they are bound by a code of conduct and will give you peace of mind that they have a strong understanding of the market and will carry out best practice.”

Quirk adds: “Essentially, don’t be sold by sales talk and do your homework.”

Listen to your instinct

Estate agency is filled with wonky practice and the more it goes unchallenged, the more it will happen. Go for the estate agent who seems honest. If you trust them, the chances are your potential buyers will too. 

 

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