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Choosing an estate agent to sell your house

Selling your house is a significant decision and you need to be certain that you are working with the right people to help you achieve your goals. When choosing an estate agent to sell your house, talk to a few to find the one that you can be confident has your best interests at heart.

There are seven top questions that you will want to ask your estate agent. Watch the video or read our advice below.

Video: seven things to ask when choosing an estate agent to sell your house

 

How well do you know the local area?

Your ideal buyer will have a lot of questions of their own. They will be looking for a house that meets some important criteria and many will be related to the local area. They might have quite detailed concerns about the quality of the local schools, facilities such as shops, libraries, doctors, dentists and so on, as well as wanting to know about transport links such as bus routes, how close the railway station is, and what local traffic conditions are like.

Not every estate agent will have grown up in your area but you at least want to know that they can answer these kinds of questions confidently – it can make all the difference to the buyer.

How will you market my property?

High street shop windows and local press listings might still have their place but if the estate agent is relying too heavily on them, beware. Over 90% of active home buyers go straight to the internet so your estate agent must make sure that your property is listed on the major property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla. Different portals offer different things to prospective buyers so you need to be sure that your estate agent has covered off the important sites.

You could even ask to check out the listing of some local properties that they are currently marketing. As a recent seller through Open House found, the quality of the written listing can make all the difference when it comes to making a prompt sale.

Will you draw a floor plan?

For people who prefer a visual description of a house rather than a lengthy written listing, a floorplan is essential and second only to good photos in helping them decide whether to view your house. It helps them get a better idea of whether the property will be suitable for them and whether the layout will suit their needs or could be easily adapted.

Importantly, floorplans are a great time saver for a busy home seller as they minimise wasted viewings. This means that you only hold viewings for people who are genuinely interested in the property.

Who will be carrying out the accompanied viewings?

Most estate agents carry out accompanied viewings which saves you the time and inconvenience of being at home yourself.

The key thing you need to ascertain is just who will be carrying them out. Will it be someone who is simply there to open the door and let the viewers walk around? Or will they be accompanied by someone who knows your house well and can actively identify the ways in which it will suit the viewers, answering their questions there and then. A well-informed sales agent will be far more likely to close a sale for you than a “door opener”.

Do they ask for any up-front payment?

Be careful if the estate agent asks for money up-front. Many, especially online estate agents, do this. The problem is that once your money is in their account there is less motivation for them to proactively sell your house. Choose an estate agent who will stay keen until the job is done.

What will the length of our agreement be?

Most contracts are between 12 and 16 weeks, a reasonable timescale that should enable them to find the right buyer. Some, though, want to sign you up for between six and ten months and if you are tied in for that period of time there is nothing you can do about it. Think about why they feel they need that long and how it will affect you if they prove to lack the proactive approach that you’d prefer.

What are your opening hours?

Your buyer will certainly not be confining their home searching to office hours so an estate agent that only works 9-5 (and perhaps a few hours on a Saturday) is likely to be missing opportunities for you.

You need an estate agent who is available to take enquiries and hold property viewings in the evenings and at weekends. Responding to buyers’ needs in this way is more likely to get you the sale you want.

For more tips on choosing an estate agent to sell your house and how to sell your your property successfully, subscribe to our YouTube channel or download our free e-book, Top Tips to Sell Your Property.

Rahul Jain
Written by Rahul Jain
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