How can prospective property sellers choose the right estate agent for them? Online experts Tepilo take a closer look, providing some useful advice.
Advice for property sellers - how to choose the right estate agent
Once you've decided that you want to sell your home, one of the first things you'll need to do is choose an estate agent to work with.
Selecting the right agent to suit your specific needs can help you to achieve all of your key objectives, including selling your property for the best possible price and in the shortest time possible.
Cost, too, is likely to be a significant factor, which is where online agents may appeal more than most – thanks to lower overheads and no need for a high street presence, a one-off fee rather than a commission-based structure can be employed.
Alongside guidance from NAEA Propertymark, we analyse some of the most important things you can do to help you decide which agent is the best fit for you.
They say word of mouth is the best form of advertising and as a consumer it can certainly be the best form of recommendation.
Ask around your friends, family and neighbours – have they used an online agent? How was their experience? Would they recommend such a move to others?
Your own research is crucial
As well as considering personal recommendations, it's also important to carry out your own research. You can look at an agent's social media presence and listings on property websites like Rightmove and Zoopla.
This will give you an indication of a company's customer service levels and how your home might be advertised should you choose to instruct them.
Narrow down your selection
When searching for an agent to instruct, you're likely to come across a high number of potential suitors.
Once you've spoken to people you know and carried out some of your own research, it can be useful to narrow down your selection to a manageable shortlist of potential agents. Online reviews can help with this. While there is debate about how useful and trustworthy online reviews are, they help give a good indication of an agent’s reputation and standing.
If a company overall has a good rating and far more positive reviews than negative, this could help to influence your thinking. Sites such as Trustpilot, allAgents and Google itself can all help to give you an idea of the customer service levels of the agent you thinking about using.
Make contact and get a market appraisal
Once you have a shortlist, you'll need to contact the agents. They should be able to provide you with a valuation of your property based on local market conditions and their experience, as well as an idea of how they would go about selling your home.
Here at Tepilo, for example, we’ve redesigned the selling process around the customer, placing a big emphasis on phone support and technology. At the same time, it’s important that sales managers are on hand to deal with all aspects of the process, from appointment to completion.
Make sure you work with an agent you can trust, as this will drastically improve your chances of selling.
Fees and services
Estate agents offer various different fee structures and levels of service. Some agents offer a traditional commission-based fee, meaning you pay the agent a percentage of the eventual sale price of your home.
Others, like Tepilo for example, offer consumers the option to pay a one-off upfront fee to sell their home, meaning you could get the whole process done for as little as £645. What’s more, no matter how high the eventual sale price, you won't have to pay the agent more money.
Most agents offer a range of similar services; however, some will offer more than others and some will offer additional services as add-ons to a package. Some of the additional things you'll need to consider are For Sale boards, floorplans, accompanied viewings and sales progression.
You'll also need to look closely at the terms of the contract being provided by each agent.
An agent you can trust?
As well as choosing an agent who you feel you can trust due to your initial dealings with them, it can also be helpful to check on their professional credentials.
Are they a member of a property redress scheme and are they a member of a professional trade body like NAEA Propertymark?
Commitment to these types of organisations reinforce an agent's professionalism while providing you with additional support in the event you have a problem.
Technology shouldn't be underestimated
Not all estate agents have embraced technological change and working with these firms could be detrimental to the success of your sale.
You need to make sure you work with an agent that utilises social media, has a marketing presence on the leading property websites and is available for you to contact whenever you need.
Services like live chat, online booking and management centres and instant online valuations are additional bonuses that the best agents should be offering.
Online agents are likely to make more use of technology because of their technology-first approach. This might be something you want to bear in mind when considering which agent to choose.
What’s best for you?
Once you’ve worked out exactly what you require from your agent and what type of service and cost suits you best, it’s important to ask all the prospective agents lots of questions and go with your instinct.
Above all, you want to instruct an estate agent that is dedicated, professional and will do the best to sell your home for the best possible price and to the most suitable buyer.
If you consider some of the above advice before choosing your agent, your chances of selecting the best partner for your sale will be significantly improved.