How to get the most out of your estate agent

It is sometimes said that estate agents are a dying race, shortly to be replaced by internet property portals and direct selling. If you have read my ‘little black book’ blog, you will already know that I believe this would be mistake. Good estate agents play a critical role in bringing buyers and sellers together and more importantly, nurturing the deal through to exchange of contracts and completion. So how do you find and establish a productive relationship with a good agent in your area?

1. Seek advice from several sources

It goes without saying that asking a friend or colleague to recommend a local agent is a good place to start. However, do try to consult many different advisors including neighbours, solicitors, local property finders, financial advisors etc. The reason being is that just because one person has had a particularly good (or bad) experience with an agent, may not mean that you will get the same service. Personnel change, some houses are particularly tricky/easy to sell and different properties lend themselves to different agents.

2. Be clear on the Contract

Clearly, the success fee will need to be considered carefully but do remember when budgeting that most agents will charge VAT on top of the agreed percentage. Likewise, look out for any additional ‘setup’ costs as some agents charge for brochures to be printed whereas others do not. Finally, do bear in mind that the contract term is usually negotiable and so ideally, you should give yourself the flexibility to change agents if things are not going well after 8-12 weeks.

 3. Agree the service you expect

An increasing number of agents have recently stopped accompanying perspective buyers to viewings and instead, asked the vendors to show them around. Beware of this. Doing your own property viewings are time consuming, sometimes hurtful (buyers can be tactless) and less effective than allowing an expert sales agent to steer buyers round your property, showing off its strengths and playing down the weaknesses. As a professional buyer, I also prefer the agents doing the viewings as they are usually quicker and able to give more focused responses to key questions I may ask.

 4. Be honest

The best way to get the most out of an agent is to be honest about your expectations and needs. So, for example, if for financial reasons, you have an absolute minimum amount you are able to accept, share this with your agent so they understand your bottom line and can help you to understand whether this will affect your property’s sale-ability and timescales.

 5. And finally…listen to advice

It is an uncomfortable truth that most of us think that our homes are worth more and are more desirable than is really the case. Of course, you want to achieve the best possible price but don’t be deluded that you know more than a reputable agent. It is true that some agent overvalue properties in order to gain the instruction but if two others value your home at significantly less then you may need to listen to their rationale. You are much better to price sensibly and have ten viewings (and possibly multiple offers) than have an unrealistic price and no interest.

If you are considering selling your home in the East Midlands and would appreciate some advice, speak to Kate Vincent on 01780 408 377. Garrington also offer an Oversee of Sale service for those lacking the time or experience to liaise with estate agents.

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