Choosing the right Estate Agents to sell your property

PUBLISHED: 17 September 2014
DISCLAIMER: The information in this blog post may be outdated and may not reflect current financial practices or market conditions

One of the many questions we are asked is how to deal with Estate Agents. Choosing an estate agent to sell your property is important and not always that easy – especially when they give conflicting advice.

The normal process is to call at least two and ideally three or four to come and value your property.

  • Get your figures & Facts Right. Before any agents come to give you a valuation check sites such as ‘zoopla’, ‘rightmove’ and ‘nethouseprices’ and see  what other similar properties have actually sold for. You then have an idea of what your property is worth before discussing such matters with the agent.
  • What fees would you expect to pay. Call several agents to see what they will charge you for selling your property. In most cases, this is a percentage of the final sale price but you could well find considerable variations in the rates different agents charge ranging from less than 1% to more than 2% which could mean the difference of several thousand pounds on the sale of an averagely priced house. Don’t be afraid to use this as a bargaining tool and try to negotiate to get a rate that you’re happy with.
  • Don’t be fooled by ‘No VAT’. Tempting as it sounds, there has got to be a reason why an agent is not charging any VAT on their fee. It could be because they are a fledgling ‘start up’ business. This may not be a problem in itself and they could still turn out to be an excellent agent but be aware that they will not be an established firm. If a more experienced firm is not charging VAT then it is likely they are not selling enough properties to hit the VAT threshold which may not be a good sign for your own prospects of selling.
  • Over priced properties don’t sell.  Be wary of agents who give your property a valuation considerably higher than what you in your research  or other Estate Agents have concluded it’s worth. I have seen this tactic being used many times where vendors have  been tempted by the much higher price, only to find themselves tied into a long 15 week contract during which time the agent tries to get you to drop the price to the kind of figure that you had initially suspected it was worth. If an agent is confident they can sell your property for substantially more than you think, and then give them just a short two or three weeks. If they are not satisfied with this arrangement then they are clearly not as confident as they initially made out.
  • Watch out for ‘Fixed Fees’. We think percentage fees work best so if an agent agrees to sell your property at an agreed fee of 1.25% make sure that this is on the actual sale price and not fixed at the market price. As mentioned above, some agents will overvalue  and then set an agreed fixed rate on this high valuation. If you sell for a lower sale price they will still charge the same high fee. It also means that the agent has no incentive to achieve you the best possible price for your property.
  • Don’t Be easily offended – A good estate agent will be honest about your property. If they feel a good tidy up is in order before they take photos or suggest you have the lawn mowed, windows cleaned or a room redecorated, this shows genuine interest. You will be paying them a lot of money to sell your property so taking their advice on board may be a good idea.

Remember, Estate Agents are sales people and that’s exactly what you want them to do when it comes to achieving you the best possible price for your property. If you like them, then it’s likely potential buyers will too. First impressions are important and a buyer’s first impression of your property can often be coloured by the manner and approach of the agent who is selling your home. It’s important therefore that you choose one who is professional, affordable and who understands you. We have dealt with many over the years so if you would like a recommendation then please do give us a call.