Questions you should consider asking your estate agent...
If you are having your property assessed by an estate agent then this is your chance to have all your questions answered before finding any nasty surprises further down the line! To help you with this we have produced a list of some of the questions we feel are most important.
The obvious ones are what is my property worth and how much do you charge but there is so much more you should know about when choosing the right estate agent for you - a well marketed, well advertised property is very likely to attract more interest and sell for a higher price, unfortunately a poorly advertised property is just as likely to sell for a lower price or not at all.
- Does the agent have a marketing plan structured for your property? - Some agents have a one size fits all approach to selling your home, others will structure a marketing plan around your needs, timescales and availability. Have they asked about your requirements and can they suggest a market stratagy for your property?
- Are you tied in to any sole selling/sole agency period? - I have seen agents who have tied clients into 3,4 or even 5 month long agreements. Make sure you are aware if you are tied to an agency and if so how long you have to stay with them should you be unhappy. And ask yourself if they are tieing you into a long agreement why would they do that? Are they worried they may not be able to sell your home? Are they concerned they may not offer a service you are happy with?
- Open 7 days a week? - Not all estate agents are. Does it matter if an agent is closed on a Sunday? More people are available to view a property at weekends so if you would like the agent to show people round then this loses you a popular day of viewings as well as relying on people who visit or call the office on a Sunday calling back on Monday or leaving a message.
- How do they use modern technology to market your property? - Most agents use the largest property websites to advertise your property on but how can you make your home stand out from the others on there. If there is a number of properties of a similar style and price to yours what will the agent do to make your property look more eye catching than the others? The more interest your property receives online the greater the chance of selling at the highest possible price you have.
- Does the agent accompany viewings? - How involved do you want to become, will you be expected to do the occasional viewing or every viewing, what are you comfortable with? You are the client, they should be able to reasonably work around you.
- Viewing feedback - When do you get feedback from the viewings? If they are unable to speak to a viewer to get the feedback what will happen then?
- How regularly do they review your propertys marketing? - Will they keep in regular contact with you? If so how regular? Will they be reviewing the marketing of your property and proactively making changes should your property not be sold quickly so it doesn't become stale on the market. If they do ask for examples of some of the changes they will do to keep your property interesting to potential buyers.
- How do you know what they are doing with your property? - Is it down to you to call them to keep in touch? Do they keep in telephone contact (if so when)? Do you have access to your propertys statistics online?
- Who will be dealing with any offers? - How much experience do the negotiators have, will someone senior be overseeing any offers. A well negotiated sale can often get you more than you had hoped for, sometimes higher than the asking price! A well negotiated sale will get you thousands more than a poorly negotiated one!
- What happens once a sale is agreed? - Your solicitor and mortgage broker/lender will deal with the official part of the sale but who will help you tying all the different bits together? Moving is one of the most stressful things you will do in your life but a good agent can really help in reducing this and getting a sale through. Is there a dedicated, experienced person dealing with your sale or is it passed around the office or handled by someone who is out of the office more than they are in it?
Some unscrupulous agents will offer the highest asking price or the lowest fee simply to buy your business. If they try to take the easiest route to win your business you should question if you would be happy with that same person negotiating your sale price and could their lack of salesmanship and negotiation skills cost you thousands of pounds or even a sale?
Not all of these questions need to be asked, a lot will should be covered by the agents who visit you but I hope this gives you some questions which can be asked of any estate agent so you to make an informed choice when choosing an agent to sell your home.
If you have any questions regarding your property valuation or any aspect of our marketing please feel free to contact me personally.
Stuart Scott - Owner, Urban & Rural (Flitwick)