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How to Compare and Choose the Right Estate Agents

How to compare and choose the right estate agents for you - Priestley's

Estate Agents are regularly featured within the top ten most hated professions, thankfully in the bottom five, but nevertheless still featured. Eight years ago when Priestley’s opened its doors in West Yorkshire, we aimed to provide the best possible service to clients, whilst we have succeeded, the industry as a whole still suffers with a reputation problem and this article is intended to help you find the right estate agents for you.

How to find the Right Estate Agent

One of the major reflection points in the current property sales market is high prices and low fees. It is, however, surprising to many what it takes to sway a seller’s decision. Estate Agent fees range from £299 for the least expensive agent to 3 per cent for some high-street agents from London. It is good to weigh in the roles played by the physical location of your property and the size of the home as they will determine the price you can fetch from a prospective buyer.

Personal Recommendations

Personal recommendations are one of the best ways to start the search for a good estate agent. Your family and friends will always give you an agent assessment that is honest and trustworthy though you should also consider the differences between your property and theirs. You can then evaluate them individually based on a couple of factors including;

Agent’s performance: One of the major factors in assessing an agent’s performance is their speed in selling property and their ability to achieve sales closely matching asking price. It is not exactly useful to get an agent who is good at selling city centre apartments while yours is a large country property or the other way around. Most of the time people choose agents from big agencies and overlook the fact that agents from smaller offices could have dedicated more time to your property and a niche list of prospective buyers.

Pressure from past sales: Never be pressured into using the same estate agent that sold you the home. Well, if you were impressed by the experience and the prices in the purchase of the home, they may well be the right estate agents to handle the sale. If you, however, feel that a different agent could do a better job, do not restrain yourself. It is always essential to know what to look at when choosing the right estate agent especially, with the big changes in the estate agent market. There is a huge gap between the best and the not so good. It is always good to keep a record of each agent and his performance on the estate agent market and eventually narrow down to about three before eventually inviting them for a valuation.

Sole Agencies vs. Multiple Agencies

Most property sellers opt to stick to one estate agent when selling their homes as it is typically the cheapest option for them. Estate agency fees are usually much lower for sole agents as compared to multiple agents. For sole agents fees are estimated at about 1.2% compared to choosing multiple agents where fees sit at about 2.5% to as much as 3.5%. It is, however, important to know the insight the agent has on the location.

With dual representation, it is important to make sure that both agents are in consensus about sharing the commission to avoid one of the agents claiming the full amount. Making the best approach will largely be dependent on the type of property you are selling as well as the market state at a given period.

Though the popular advice is to choose the agent with the largest presence in the industry, they might also be experiencing a hard time getting their stock to sell and hence their large numbers of listings. Isn’t it possible that this is why the large multiple agent firms have huge stock?

Though many seem to have the impression that big is best, there is no evidence that these agents actually do a quicker and better job than the smaller, and more adaptable firms. There is no proof that the prices acquired by the large firms are actually higher than the smaller firms. It is definitely nice for them to handle larger volumes of business but how do they benefit the individual home seller? The great advantage of a good small agency is there unmatched potential to devote attention and man hours to individual properties and hence stand a better chance at finding a buyer.

Choosing the best agent to sell your house means getting the house sold at the best value possible and at the same time add value to the experience through the selling process. Big brands might be good at advertising their brand but their clients’ property is in such large quantity that most of the property is queued up behind the premium property in advertisement.

It is, however, important to note that the highest price or cheapest fee doesn’t always represent the best value to the seller. It is sad that statistics show that most consumers are in the notion that the agents that offer low costs and the highest prices are the best choice for selling their property. The unfortunate truth is that agents that offer the lowest costs or the best prices are also often quick to persuade their clients into offering a lower asking price.

Check the Agent’s Social Media Offering for Updates

A good agent should be able to keep their social media offerings updated for their potential sellers. Checking on an agent’s offering’s and activities on public forums will give you an idea on the agents still stuck in the dark ages and those who are using all available online marketing options. Clients who remain honest about the services they offer and also want to establish an approachable personality as well as show inclination towards engagement with their local community in embracing social media are the ultimate choice for both sellers and buyers.

Basing Agent Choice on Quality of Listings and not Quantity

Since most estate agencies are not in the business of accumulation of listings instead of sale, it is important to insist on the significance of choosing a reliable and efficient agent that will get your property bought at the best value in the shortest time possible.

The Best Approach when Dealing with Agents

Make sure that you always stay in control of the situation. Read into the details of the contract and remember to check the tie-in period of your sole agency and the required notice period. Around 70% of property sellers do not read the contract details before signing on the dotted line, which could haunt them down the line. Make sure that you inquire from reliable sources including experienced family or friends on the meaning of some policies and how they affect you as the seller. Never be afraid to negotiate from your point of view. It is important to negotiate in matters concerning the tie-in period and the recorded notice period if you do not feel completely comfortable.

How to tell if the Agent is Honest

The only true sign that the agent is providing you with accurate and authentic information is to do the research and know your stuff. Some agents will come to you with optimistic valuations just to get you to choose them and then try to talk you down later. Do not let your research be clouded by optimistic valuations. They are just aimed at getting your signature. Do some homework on home valuations and under what category to group your home according to location and asset value. You should be the one to decide the price to put the property on at even though you should pay attention to their advice.

Do not also fall under the pressure of an agent to drop the price. Though it is good to listen to their concerns, the best way is doing online research and getting professional advice from at least two estate agents. These combined should be enough to enable you to get an appropriate approximation of the prospects and price it correctly.

Estate agent contracts are usually legally binding and it is therefore very important to take your time in selecting the right agent to sell your property. Make sure to include clause that provides you the liberty to terminate the contract without incurring a penalty and change the agent if you are unhappy with their performance and never agree to sign to a period longer than 12 weeks.

If there is no way to terminate the contract, then try to discuss the reason to the poor performance and ask them to come up with new ideas to get higher demand on for the property. You could use the internal complaints procedure to complain about an agent’s behaviour if it seems improper. A quality estate agent should be able to provide a quick solution to the issue. An estate agent should have their agents on one of three redress schemes; the Ombudsman services property, The Property Ombudsman, and The Property Redress Scheme.

Are you a Buyer and not a Seller?

Do your research into the area and current property sale trends, you can check online for previously sold properties and what asking to sale prices actually were, speak to a few agents and get a good feel for the area you are looking at.

Prepare your Finances

Getting pre-approval for a mortgage will put you in a great buying position. All estate agents are required to verify your ID before any solicitors are instructed, so it would be wise to bring a passport and a utility bill as proof of funds. Confirmation of finances is compulsory for any agent to accept an offer.

Equally first-time buyers or chain free buyers make for attractive buyers. Make sure the estate agents understands your potential to complete quickly.

Be Proactive

Being proactive raises the interest of the seller, explore offers with the agent to gauge the range of negotiation. We have seen a lot of people loose out on a property they genuinely wanted by offering an under market amount, and are surprised when the seller accepts the next genuine offer.

Any offer you make should be subject to valuation.

Happy House Hunting.