How to select an Estate Agent.

We believe its sensible to see several estate agents, both traditional and fixed fee.  Get valuations and make an assessment of what they intend to do for you.

Traditional estate agent fees are now about 1-2% per cent the price of the property.

Online agents such as housesimple offer marketing for only £995, paid up front. For this you get a valuation and marketing.  Viewings normally come with an additional cost.  However, if you choose this way of selling, ensure the online agent advertises on the major property portals.

Remember they are pitching for your business.  They will be in sales mode.  Make sure you question them on any claims they may make.

  • We advise getting two valuations from traditional estate agents and at least one from fixed fee estate agents.
  • If you use our Comparison Tool you can save time and hassle by arranging to see all the agents on one day via our calendar app.

When you meet estate agents:-

  • challenge all the estate agents on their valuations.
  • get them to justify their valuations against other houses sold or being sold in the area and don’t accept wish washy answers.
  • they wish to position themselves as experts so get them to demonstrate how they use their expertise and data to arrive at a value.
  • get them to tell you how often and by how much they reduce asking prices

Most importantly get them to give you data you can believe on

  • how long they take to sell a house; and
  • how many houses they sell below the initial asking price.

On average high street estate agents sell 19% of houses 5% or more below the initial asking price.  The same number for fixed fee estate agents is 11%.

As well as our advice on valuations, make sure you

  • understand what each will do for you in a practical sense and what they expect you to do.
  • understand how they will market the property, their local knowledge and expertise, which portals they will use.
  • note how many photographs will be marketed – the more the better and make you sure authorise as satisfactory before they are published.
  • some may advise the use of premium listings where your property will come at the top of a portal search pay. Get them to justify this.

The high street agents are now under threat from the fixed fee agents.  Be wary about claim and counter claim, particularly on the effectiveness of their own marketing teams.  The reality is that most properties are marketed and seen through a portal.

  • Get the estate agent to set out how their marketing is better.
  • How will it bring out the best of your property?
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Simpler Tip

Selling a house is the most important and stressful financial transaction you are likely to undertake.   Make sure you feel entirely happy about the estate agent you select, the claims they make and the service offered.