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5 Tips for Choosing the Correct Estate Agent

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By : James Hardy    99 or more times read
Everyone has heard the bad press about estate agents, so how do you choose a ‘good’ agent? Here are a few pointers to help you on your way;

1. Do your research

Typically, when choosing an estate agent, people make a decision based on two factors; who charges the lowest commission rate, or who offers the highest valuation. However, it is very unwise to make a decision based solely on either of these well-known marketing tricks. Ideally, you need to spend a few weeks monitoring local agents, to find out which ones are selling local properties frequently, and have a good, solid reputation.

There are many ways to do this, for example you can ask around and see who friends, family and colleagues would recommend. Keep an eye on ‘for sale’ signs in your local area to get further feedback on agencies.

2. Ask questions

Once you’ve performed research and have identified the agents who have sold houses similar to yours, it’s time to contact their office. A good angle is to visit the office as a potential buyer, and express interest in properties similar to your own. This way, you can talk to the staff, and find out how they are likely to go about selling your home. During this initial visit, ask the following questions:

  • How is the customer service at the agency, are the staff welcoming and helpful?

  • Is the agency up-to-date with the current housing market climate, and can they accurately relay house prices and demand?

  • Can the agency find property information promptly and with ease, and do they work well together as a team to help their customers?

3. Types of services offered

Most estate agents generally work on a commission-based system. However, to get the results, they are required to put the work in first. When looking for an estate agent, you need to assess how hard the agent is actually working, and how this affects the sale of your property. Generally speaking, the following services should be offered as standard by any estate agent;

Standard services offered by estate agents:

  • Free initial visit and valuation of your property.

  • The preparation of property marketing details.

  • Promotion of your property.

  • Forwarding offers from buyers to you, in writing.

  • Negotiating with buyers on your behalf.

4. Estate agent charges

Always be aware of charges when choosing an estate agent. Many agents offer a fixed price service, typically including the production of property details in paper/online form, promoting your property online, and in some cases, in local papers. In many cases, however, you are required to manage questions from potential buyers, negotiate the price, and show them around your property yourself, this of course can be less than ideal if you are working during the day. Generally speaking, the fee for a service like this is payable upfront whether or not your property sells.

It is therefore important to find a service to suit your individual requirements. If you need help showing potential buyers around your house, and would like the agent to handle calls, there may be extra charges for these services, so always check up front.

5. Estate agent contracts

Always read any literature the estate agent gives you, and most importantly, read the contract thoroughly. Check that all of the important areas are covered in the contract, and if you need to ask questions about any of the clauses, do so before signing any paperwork. Clarification of points at this stage will eliminate worry and problems further down the line. Any established estate agent will be happy to answer your questions.
If you are looking to bypass the estate agency route, have a look at this website: Property Bought For Cash.

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