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Questions to ask to hire the right estate agent when selling a property

Aug 29

Questions to ask to choose the best estate agent

What questions to ask to choose the best estate agent for you? The following questions will help you determine the best property professional for you if you plan to sell your home. In these challenging and uncertain times, choosing wisely your estate agent will make all the difference in terms of selling price, time, customer service, and peace of mind.

We all want good value for money but choosing your estate agent based on price only needs to be carefully considered. It’s not all about fees, it’s about the quality of service first. A cheap agent may spend less on advertising and sell your home for less… Interview at least two or three estate agents and ask each these questions to determine what you get for the fee. Compare and choose which works best for you. Estate agents can offer different services for the same fee.

1. DO YOU OFFER AN EASY CONTRACT EXIT WITHOUT CANCELLATION FEES IF I AM NOT ENTIRELY SATISFIED WITH YOUR SERVICE?

The average length of a contract is 4 months. Most estate agencies today do not offer any exit without cancellation fees. If they don’t deliver on their promise, you are stuck with them or have to pay a fee, while your local market eventually declines. How can you make sure they are accountable to you? Negotiate an easy exit clause to leverage your satisfaction. Our satisfaction guarantee protects your right to end our partnership immediately if you are disappointed with our performance. Our motivation to meet and exceed your expectations is second to none!

2. WHEN ARE YOU AVAILABLE FOR VIEWINGS AND CAN I REACH YOU EASILY?

How quickly do they return buyers’ enquiries? Can they be reached easily? Do they work on weekends or after 6 pm to show properties? 

Questions to ask to choose the best estate agent

3. WILL YOU CALL WEEKLY TO DISCUSS VIEWINGS FEEDBACK, MARKETING STRATEGIES AND PROGRESS?

How much time will they dedicate to your property’s marketing every day? Will they give you feedback after every viewing? How often will they update you on their marketing strategy and progress?

4. WILL YOU DEAL WITH MY PROPERTY PERSONALLY OR WILL I BE DEALING WITH ASSISTANTS?

It is easier to deal with only one experienced agent from A to Z for better communication flow and to avoid loss of information. In large agencies, you often have to speak with three different persons: one for the administration, one for the viewing, one for the negotiation.

5. WILL MY PROPERTY BE LISTED ON ALL RELEVANT PORTALS?

Verify that your agent is on as many portals as possible, Zoopla and Rightmove being the most important ones. A study has found that one-third of Rightmove visitors don’t check Zoopla. If you own a luxury or prime property, will they use any specific portals to target high-net-worth buyers? 

6. WHAT IS YOUR INTERNET / SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING STRATEGY?

Facebook alone represents an audience of millions of people of all ages, and not just young people. The portals expose your property to “active” buyers, those who are currently actively searching regularly on the portals. Social media in general allows you to reach “passive” buyers, those who do not go on the portals but who would buy if they came across the “right” property. The more people view your advert, the more chances your property will have to attract the right buyers.

7. DO YOU USE PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS AND FLOOR PLANNERS?

Is your agent willing to invest in a professional photographer and floor planner to present your home in its best light? A floor plan is essential because buyers want to see as much relevant information as possible before requesting a viewing to avoid wasting time. Pictures are the first tool to catch buyers attention and it is well-known that a picture is worth a 1000 words. An engaging advert copy underlines your home’s unique key selling points. Ensure your home is cleaned, decluttered and looks its best before the photographer comes! 

8. WHAT IS YOUR SELLING FEE AND DO YOU CHARGE ANY ADDITIONAL FEES?

Cheap commissions can hide extra fees, such as cancelling a contract early or professional photos. It is best to clarify everything upfront. Some agencies charge for putting up a sale board or for taking professional pictures. Other estate agencies charge their fee after finding a “ready, willing and able” buyer, even if the transaction has fallen through. At Wise Rock Property, we do not charge any commission or fees if the transaction fails, and we carry the cost of all marketing materials.

9. WHY SHOULD I TRUST YOUR PROPERTY VALUATION?

Beware of estate agents who promise you the moon at the valuation stage and then reduce the asking price a few weeks later… Ask to see comparables, similar properties that have sold nearby within the last 12 months and enquire about their views on the current local market, so you can understand the upcoming challenges and opportunities.

10. ARE YOU SKILLED AT NEGOTIATIONS?

The ratio “sale price to asking price” is a good indication on how well an estate agent values a property and how successful he/she is to sell for the asking price. You can view estate agents’ track records on Allagents.co.uk. 90% of your selling price is determined by the market, 10% by the selling agent. 

11. DO YOU PROVIDE A TRANSACTION MANAGEMENT COORDINATION SERVICE TO PROTECT MY TRANSACTION AND ASSIST IN COMPLETING THE SALE?

You have received an offer, fantastic, now what? It’s not plain sailing after that unfortunately, and one-third of property transactions in the UK fall through, costing millions of Pounds wasted in legal fees. It’s a lengthy process as your agent, we are by your side during conveyancing to ease the communication with your buyer and his solicitor until completion. 

12. WHICH PROPERTY REDRESS SCHEME DO YOU BELONG TO?

Estate agents in England must belong to a redress scheme such as PRS and The Property Ombudsman. If you have a complaint about the agency’s services that you cannot resolve together, you can turn to the scheme. Ask the estate agent to see a copy of their membership certificate, request their membership number or search the online database on each redress scheme website.

Letting agents must also belong to a “client money protection” scheme, which compensates landlords and tenants in case the agency can’t repay the owned rents and deposits, for example, if the company goes into administration. Please request a copy of the certificate. Here is a list of the six government-approved schemes.

13. READ THE FINE PRINT IN THE SALES TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Most home sellers have made up their minds by the time they read the agent’s terms of business, but it can be a costly mistake if you don’t read the fine print. Clarify upfront certain potential situations such as disputes or if the transaction falls through. Never hesitate to ask if you do not understand certain clauses, there are no stupid questions! Compare several contracts if you can.

We hope this list of questions to ask to choose the best estate agent will prove useful,
here is a PDF to print at home

Do you have a property to sell in London?

We’d be delighted to have the opportunity to answer these questions for you if you are considering selling your home in central and north London. Our one-to-one service aims to make your property journey better, easier and safer, let us show you how! We can help you with a better property valuation, selling or letting your home or purchasing your next property, please call 07341 443 858 or send an email to Hello@wiserockproperty.com.

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