Deciding when to move house and sell your home is a huge decision. So choosing which estate agent to entrust the sale too is an equally monumental decision.
Get it right and the whole process can be relatively simple, stress-free and much more pleasurable than people think! However, get it wrong and it can be horrendous, stressful, time-consuming and worst of all cost you a lot of money! Here at Maurice Kilbride, we have more than 20 years experience selling homes and moving people, so here with our compliments are 5 fundamental things to consider when choosing an agent.
Create a short list of local agents
Most people seem to select a short list of three agents, usually anything between a year and six months before they are ready to go on the market, so the selection process can take some time. Firstly, don’t just look at the numbers – as, at the end of the day, the only house you are interested in selling is your own! So, look for an agent who stands out in terms of creativity in their marketing, because they are the ones who will get your property noticed. Look also for independent online review’s, we use a company called Reference line as our preferred review website partner as they are also the preferred choice of the Ombudsman for estate agents, so making them more credible. Are they corporate, online or independently owned and local? Are they affiliated to professional or redress bodies such as the Ombudsman?
Once you have done your initial research and narrowed down your choices, it is a good idea to visit each agent – unless of course, you go down the online route! Pop into their office, check out the activity, what are the staff like? How are they treating potential clients face to face? If you like what you see, hear, feel – invite them out to give you a valuation of your home.
At the valuation
When the agent comes to conduct the valuation – make sure you have prepared a list of questions- don’t be shy! You may be a habitual mover, but mostly people only ever move once every 7-10 years and the selling marketing is constantly evolving, so be prepared. Important things to look out for here include punctuality, professionalism, local knowledge and very importantly, do you feel a genuine affinity with them and like them? After all, you will be working very closely with them for the next few months. But perhaps most importantly are they interested in you and your plans? Or do they just want to talk about how good they are? About how many houses they have sold, how much over the asking price and how they are worth their percentage fee? Ultimately this should be about YOU! A good agent will ask about your plans, what your concerns are and address these. They will actually listen to you. Fees are important, obviously, but they are not the most important factor. Look also at the small print in their contracts, such as a minimum tie in periods or sole selling rights as opposed to a sole agency agreement. Is there a withdrawal fee? Remember the cheapest agent is not always the one offering the lowest fee.
Ask for evidence
Never select your agent based on them giving you a ridiculously high valuation. Many agents deliberately over-value to secure your business. When an agent says your home is worth X ask how he or she has arrived at that figure. Challenge them to provide comparable proof or evidence of properties which have sold recently in your area. A good honest agent will be able to provide this, along with a list of other clients who have recently used their services for you to speak with if you so wish.
Once you have collated everything and arrived at a considered decision, let your partner agent know. This is the beginning of a partnership between you and your agent. To achieve what you both want- for you to sell your home and for them to justify and earn their fee – you will both need to work together. Good and regular communication is the key to a smooth sale.
There are a lot of questions you need to ask and at Maurice Kilbride, we are confident that given the opportunity, we can answer them openly, correctly and honestly and maybe demonstrate how our bespoke marketing including the use of the very latest cutting edge technology can work for you.
Thank you for reading