There are different types of property agents and they do work in different ways. Here are some things to consider when choosing a Property Agent.
- There are different types of property agents
Different estate agents sell different homes - some specialise in first timers, others like family houses, some handle the top end, so check around. Look at the length of time that estate agents have homes on their books and whether they then have to reduce the prices because they over-valued them to win instructions in the first place. A pattern will appear and the best agents will emerge. Select the three or four most suitable estate agents to come and value your property.
- Agent valuations are key
If you find that an agent gives you a far higher than average valuation, be cautious. Never choose an estate agent purely on the basis of the promise a high price. Your property is only worth the amount a buyer is prepared to pay for it. Ask them why they have valued your home higher than comparable properties in the area.
Similarly, if you find that you preferred one particular agent but the price they suggest is too low for you, discuss this with them. Find out if they think your house could be marketed at a slightly higher figure, or if there is anything you could do to increase the asking price.
- Agent's viewing policy
Ask the agent about their viewings policy, whether they will show potential buyers around personally, how much notice they will give you and so on. Online agents will usually prefer you to carry out your own tours of the property, but conventional estate agents will often hold keys so that they can show people round when you're not home.
- You get what you pay for in life and in property transactions.
Estate agent's fees are another important point to consider. Do not to be drawn in by the agent with the lowest charges purely on that basis. Fees generally range between 0.5% and 2.5%, but the chances are you will get what you pay for in this instance. You will be offered lower charges if you choose one company as your sole agent, but this may mean limiting your exposure to potential buyers.
- Written details of offers
Find out too how they will present offers. The Office of Fair Trading says estate agents must give their clients written details of any offers received from potential buyers, promptly, either by hand, post or fax. They should also keep a written record of any offers that they receive for your property. You can ask them not to bother to contact you with offers below a certain level.
- Associations and Memberships
Find out which of the estate agents are members of an association for example
the National Association of Estate Agents. This is the industry body that requires members to adhere to a comprehensive code of practice.
- Would you buy from your Agent?
Look at the agents listing you home and ask would I buy from these people? This is one of the key elements in any transaction, people deal with people they like, even in today's high tech world.