Searching for an estate agent

On the last post before the break, we were two weeks away from getting the estate agents in to value the house. This is how we chose ours.

We are in an area full of estate agents. Big, small, corporate. The competition is fierce and I think that makes picking one harder. I think the advice I had read was to get three in to value and then choose one. But there were so so many and I ended up asking 5. One of them only rang once and I couldn’t get through when I rang back so that one got the chop early. Four of them visited over a period of a week – the week of the 12/06, a week later than I would have liked. I chose to go with the less chain-type and more local, family business agents in my area. The first one was lovely, local and appeared to be knowledgeable about the market. The second one valued the house at a ridiculously high price – we would never ever sell at that price. The third one gave a valuation similar to the first one but was a walking-talking estate agent stereotype. And the fourth one was again lovely, local and knowledgeable, but valued the house a bit below what we were expecting.

As you can imagine, it was a toss up between the first and the last. I had the first one over again the following week to meet my husband, to see if he agreed with my judgement. He did, so we signed up with them the following week and booked the photographer for the week after – cue mad painting/cleaning/decluttering. The house went on Rightmove on the 07/07. So, as you can see, it was a long process – this was because of estate agent’s and photographer’s availability.

 My top 3 tips for choosing a estate agent are:

Find a estate agent you like. There is nothing worse than dealing with people you dislike or don’t trust. Would you buy from the person you are dealing with? Are they knowledgeable about the type of property and the area you are selling?

Research! And don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are websites where you can find how many weeks a estate agent takes to sell and what percentage of the asking price they achieve. If you can’t find those, you can ask. Ask about their database. Ask on which property websites they list on – Rightmove is the most popular one, so I would say that’s the minimum requirement, but Zoopla is a good to have. Ask what is included in their fee: is EPC extra? Is the photographer extra?

Photos and floorplans matter. Look at other listings by the estate agent on Rightmove: does it have a floorplan? Are the photos nice? Ask the estate agent who takes their photos – professional photographer with a DSLR will nearly always be better than estate agent with an iPhone. Some people won’t even bother viewing a property that doesn’t have a floorplan – plus it helps people decide early if it’s the property for them or not, therefore reducing the amount of time-wasters. You only want potential buyers to view!

If anyone stumbles across this blog and want to leave your top tip for choosing a estate agent, feel free to leave a comment!

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