How to Find the Best Estate Agent: A Critical Decision
Choosing the right estate agent is a pivotal step in your property buying or selling journey. It’s essential to identify the exceptional agents from the less competent ones. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to find the best estate agent near you.
Remember: The Agent Works for You
When selecting an estate agent, remember that they work for you. Your experience of choosing an estate agent should be positive. If it doesn’t feel that way when interacting with agents, consider exploring other firms. High street estate agents typically charge a fee based on a percentage of your home’s selling price. This means that if they don’t sell your property, they don’t get paid. Hence, it’s in everyone’s best interest to start off on the right foot.
How to Find the Best Estate Agent Near You
To begin your quest for the best estate agent in your vicinity, follow these three essential steps:
Look for For Sale Signs: Observe the For Sale signs in your neighborhood. This will give you insights into the more popular local estate agents and those who successfully sell properties similar to yours.
Seek Recommendations: Ask for recommendations from family, friends, and neighbors. Personal referrals can be invaluable.
Use Our Best Estate Agent Finder Tool: Utilize our tool to find and compare local estate agents in your area. It provides information on agents operating nearby, their market share, fees, and their success rate in selling properties like yours.
How to Choose an Estate Agent
Once you’ve compiled a list of potential estate agents, narrow it down to a shortlist of at least three. Invite them for a valuation and a discussion of their services. In the process of creating your shortlist, consider the following:
Compare Agents: Assess local estate agents based on their track record, including how quickly they sell properties and how closely they reach the asking price. Our Best Estate Agent Finder tool offers essential information for this purpose.
Check for Relevant Experience: Ensure the estate agent has experience selling properties similar to yours. Verify this through their shop window, website, or property portals like Rightmove.
Evaluate Their Marketing: Analyze the properties the agent lists on Zoopla and Rightmove. Look for well-taken photos, clear and relevant descriptions, and the right pricing strategy. Also, consider the number of properties they manage and whether many are marked as “reduced.”
Consider Past Transactions: If you had a positive experience with the agent who sold your property to you, add them to your shortlist.
Meet at Least Three Estate Agents
To identify the best estate agent for your needs, schedule individual meetings with the shortlisted firms. During these meetings, you can ask further questions to gauge which one is the right fit for selling your home. Questions to consider:
Previous Sales: Inquire about their recent sales, specifically properties similar to yours and whether they achieved the asking price.
Valuation Justification: Ask them to explain their proposed property valuation and how it aligns with the local market.
Accreditation: Confirm if they are members of an accredited independent ombudsman service, such as the Property Ombudsman or the Property Redress Scheme.
Handling Challenges: Inquire about their strategy if your property doesn’t sell as quickly or at the expected price.
Agent Presence: If you prefer a specific agent, ask if they will personally conduct viewings.
Terms & Conditions: Familiarize yourself with their standard terms and conditions, including their commission rate and typical tie-in period.
Beware of Estate Agent Valuations
When considering how to find the best estate agent, exercise caution when receiving property valuations. Estate agents understand that their valuation often influences clients’ decisions. They may adopt two approaches:
Overly Optimistic Valuations: Some agents may provide overly optimistic valuations initially to secure your business. They later reduce the price if there’s a lack of viewings.
Realistic Valuations: Others may emphasize providing a realistic price and caution against inflated valuations.
It’s essential to establish a pricing strategy that aligns with your goals. Agents should support their valuations with evidence from local sold prices. Utilize tools like our Best Estate Agent Finder to assess an agent’s performance in achieving the asking price.
Understanding Estate Agent Costs
When seeking the best estate agent, consider their fees. Estate agents typically charge a percentage fee, typically ranging from 0.9% to 3.6% (including VAT) of the agreed selling price. Negotiation can play a role in determining the final fee.
In 2023, the average estate agent fee is around 1.42%, including VAT. Negotiating a fee around 1.2% (including VAT) is advisable. For higher-value properties, agents may accept lower fees, possibly below 1.2%.
While fees are essential, remember that selecting the best estate agent shouldn’t be solely based on cost. High-performing agents who achieve asking prices can justify their commission fees.
Qualities of a Good Estate Agent
To find the best estate agent, consider these essential qualities:
Enthusiasm: Look for agents who exhibit enthusiasm for selling your property. This becomes apparent when you invite them for a valuation.
Proactivity: Choose an agent who demonstrates a proactive approach to marketing, conducting viewings, and following up with potential buyers.
Track Record: Evaluate an agent’s performance by assessing their speed of selling properties and how closely they achieve the asking price.
Marketing Strategy: Inquire about their property marketing strategy, including which portals they use, premium listings, and advertising in local newspapers.
Terms and Conditions: Review the terms and conditions carefully to understand the contractual arrangement and obligations.
Online Estate Agents
Consider online estate agents as a potentially cost-effective alternative to traditional high street agents. While their fees are often fixed and upfront, they can vary in terms of packages and pricing. Some online agents even offer free property listings.
Changing Estate Agents
If you’re dissatisfied with your current estate agent’s performance, you may consider changing agents. However, be mindful of exclusivity periods stipulated in your contract. It’s essential to plan for the end of this period. When switching agents, ensure you don’t end up paying double commission. Review our guide on switching estate agents for more information.
Choosing the Best Estate Agent to Sell Your House – Summary
In summary, to find the best estate agent:
Shop Around: Compare local estate agents based on their track record, speed of sale, and asking price achievement.
Build Trust: Ensure you have a positive rapport with your estate agent, and that they represent your property effectively.
Negotiate Fees: Negotiate the commission fee while considering the agent’s performance.
Understand the Contract: Carefully read and comprehend the terms and conditions of the estate agent’s contract.
By following these guidelines, you can identify the best estate agent to assist you in your property sale.