Updated: Jun 8, 2018
When selling a house choosing the right estate agent (or realtor in the US) is an important decision as it can be the difference between getting the best price and not selling your house at all.
It might be your first time selling a property, or it’s been years since you had to put a house on the market, but except for trial and error or a personal recommendation it is hard to know where to start finding the best estate agent/realtor for you.
Here are my top 5 tips to help you get started:
1. Remember YOU are in control!
Firstly remember that they are working for YOU! Your agent should be working in your best interest to get you the best deal for you. They need you and wouldn’t have a business without having properties to sell. You are in control and while an agent is working on your behalf, it is up to you whether you want to accept an offer or not.
2. Do your homework
Before you start hiking around to every estate agent in a 30-mile radius, get an idea of what your house is worth in the current market.
Go to sites like mouseprice.com in the UK to find out how much similar houses in your area have been sold for.
Then check out which estate agents have similar properties to yours, as they are most likely to know your market. There is no point going with an estate agent that specializes in selling 16 bedroom castles when you are trying to sell a 3 bedroom semi-detached suburban home.
Find out how many houses similar to yours are currently on the market in your area and how much they are on the market for. This will help you to know how much competition you will have for potential buyers and a rough indication of what you might put your property on. Do this by going on your local property sites like aspc.co.uk in Aberdeen, Zoopla or Rightmove for most UK cities, or Zillow or Trulia in the US.
3. Finding your Estate Agent
Now you might have an idea of which estate agents work with your type of house in your price bracket, it’s time to choose which estate agent for selling your property.
Ask friends and family for recommendations. If you don’t know anyone locally try asking on local Facebook group pages and forums.
Pose as a buyer to get a better feel for how effective particular estate agents are, even go on a viewing for a similar property to yours to see how they handle a viewing.
Look around your neighbourhood to see which estate agents are marketing similar homes to yours.
Choose 3 estate agents to talk to that sell your type of property and get valuations from them. Beware of over valuations as on average, properties that were heavily reduced went on the market for £5,000 more than all other properties – but ended up being sold for £20,000 less on average.
4. What to ask when choosing an Estate Agent/Realator
Here’s a list of questions to ask potential agencies before you hire them.
What do you charge? Fees are usually between 1-3% of the purchase price, but beware of really low prices as this can be a red flag. Also find out what all the other costs are and factor that into your budget.
Will they conduct viewings, or will you have to? Do they do weekend or evening viewings?
What marketing materials will they prepare (e.g. floor plans, photographs, online tours)?
How many relevant buyers do they have on their books, and will they tell them about your property?
How many similar properties have you sold and what prices did they sell for? How long did they take to sell?
Will they provide a 'for sale' board? Usually you will be responsible for putting it up.
What property portals they will advertise your property on? Some agencies will promote your property on their social media sites as well.
How will you follow up with prospective buyers after they’ve viewed the property?
5. Read the small print
Before you sign anything make sure you have read all the terms and conditions carefully. If there’s anything you’re not sure about or don’t agree with don’t be afraid to query it.
While putting a property on the market can be a stressful time filled with uncertainty, if you choose your Estate Agent wisely they will help guide you through the whole process and make it as smooth as possible.
Do you have a fab Estate Agent/Realtor in your area that goes above and beyond and you recommend them to everyone? Add them as a tip in the RelocateGuru App to help others find them and have a great experience as well!
Have I missed anything? Do you have any tips or stories to share? Add them in the comments below.