#5 All you need to know about choosing an estate agent
Pick the right estate agent to help you sell your home and you’ll be in safe hands, guided through the sales process as smoothly as a swan gliding through the lake in Victoria Park and supported at every stage. Yet with so many different estate agent sales boards displayed in your neighbourhood, how do you pick the right agent to act on your behalf?
Keatons has been helping people buy and sell their home in East London for nearly 25 years and has built a knowledgable team in that time. Operating in Hackney, Bow, Shoreditch, Stratford, Royal Docks and Wanstead, Keatons has also branched out to the south-east and north-west of London, to Deptford and to Kentish Town.
Lars Gooch, operations director at Keatons, has been in the property industry for over 25 years. He’s played a key role in developing Keatons’ expertise and trustworthy reputation on the high street, which has meant buyers and sellers like to use Keatons time and again, and he instinctively knows how to make the industry work in your favour.
As far as Lars is concerned, when it comes to choosing an estate agent to sell your home there are three stages to base your decision on.
First is to see which agents are the best and most active in the local area. Base your research on the following:
- Sales board presence outside properties;
- Office location;
- The amount of properties the agency has for sale and has sold on Rightmove/other portals (a good market share generally means a very good agency);
- Speaking with previous customers (if possible);
- If you get a friendly and prompt response when you contact them.
It’s also worth taking into account Google and Trustpilot reviews, the quality of their website, and the quality and quantity of property stock they have live. From your research make a shortlist of three and contact these to visit your home.
Second is to think through what is most important to you when they’re selling your home, and prepare a list of questions in advance. Issues to consider include:
- What have you sold recently in the area that is comparable?
- How and where will you market my property?
- What do you do specifically to generate viewings?
- What is the current level of demand for my type of property?
- How many viewings can I expect in the first couple of weeks?
- Do you stay in regular contact with me, and when and how do you provide feedback from the viewings?
- Do you carry out the viewings yourselves?
- What are your fees?
- What are your Terms (eg, contract length)?
- What if I want to change agency or go multi-agency at some point?
- How do you manage and progress my sale once a price is agreed?
- What is the valuation you have provided based on?
- Are you regulated by any professional bodies? (Keatons is a member of the Property Ombudsman and safeagent.)
Lars emphasises how important it is for the agent to listen to your concerns and needs, and not to just spend the time broadcasting their services – it should be a two-way conversation.
Lastly, simply make your choice. First and foremost, go with the agent that you feel has the best chance of getting you the best price for your home. To determine this consider that you are likely selling your biggest asset and you want to go with an agent that is confident and has a proven (realistic) track record about achieving the best possible price the market is willing to pay. It is likely to be the agent that answered your questions most informatively.
Once you’ve decided who that is make sure you are comfortable with their fees and terms. You might be able to negotiate on fees and length of contract, there’s no harm in asking, or the agent may have already offered you their best rate.
Lars says, “Agents are generally speaking very personable and like to get to know their clients expectations, so build a rapport with them and be as informative as possible, as they are on your side and ultimately want to get the best outcome for your sale.”
Base your decision on these three pillars and you can be confident you’ve researched your agent as best you can and worked through everything there is to consider. If you want to go into more depth on anything covered here, platforms such as Which? and HomeOwners Alliance provide lots of detailed advice.
Link to other blogs in series:
#1 Selling your home – all you need to know
#2 Buying a new home – all you need to know
#3 Landlords – all you need to know about renting your property
#4 Tenants – all you need to know about renting your home
#5 All you need to know about how to choose an estate agent