How to Select an Estate Agent .jpg

Looking for an estate agent

There is plenty of help available if you are looking to sell your property. Traditional and online estate agents are widespread, with many properties being advertised in several places at once on and offline. Estate agencies also offer a certain degree of safety as a given, as each one must belong to an ombudsman scheme: either the Property Ombudsman, the Ombudsman Services Property or the Property Redress Scheme.

Choosing the right estate agent can be a stressful experience, especially when there are so many options out there. Luckily, you can narrow your search down quickly with Plentific. The Plentific website can quickly generate a bespoke contact list of the best estate agents in your local area. Each will have a Plentific profile, displaying their qualifications, experience and customer reviews. The Plentific Guarantee, which can cover your entire project, will also be available if you choose a 'verified' tradesman. With over 75,000 registered tradesmen from all over the UK, Plentific is committed to helping you find your ideal hire, whatever your job may be.

What do you need to know about selecting an estate agent?

Traditional estate agents

Traditional estate agents are the ones you will find on the high street, though it is rare that an estate agent will operate without some kind of online presence. This option is for those who are happy to leave the management of their sale to someone else. A traditional estate agent can organise and conduct viewings, talk with clients on your behalf, evaluate your property and take most of the work out of your hands.

The main disadvantage of choosing a traditional estate agent is monetary: usually this kind of estate agent will charge a percentage of the property’s sale value as their fee. Depending on the size of the property and its location in the UK, this percentage could be anything between 1% and 2.5% + VAT. It is important to ask for a full price breakdown when offered a quote by an estate agent, as there may be hidden fees, such as for advertising and photography.

If you would prefer to go with a traditional estate agent, it is a good idea to visit the premises of each of your options. Talking with them will give you a good idea of their professionalism and style. Remember, if you don’t feel comfortable speaking to them then why would a potential buyer? They may be willing to take you to see similar properties in the area to give you an idea of what you can expect to get. You can also use this time to ask them about their process: how often will they contact you, and what will happen if they receive an offer?

You should consider the online presence of each of your options. In addition to their own website, do they have a presence on any other portals, such as Zoopla or Rightmove, and on these portals are they highly regarded? Their viewing policy is also important: do they accompany potential buyers? Are they open on weekends? 

If your property is particularly large or expensive, it may be better to go to a national estate agent rather than a local one. A national company will be more familiar with properties like yours, and will be better suited to advertise it to the right buyers either in the UK or internationally.

Online estate agents

The main advantage of online estate agents is that they are cheaper. While traditional estate agents charge a percentage of the property’s sale value, online options usually just charge an upfront fee. Depending on the package on offer, you could be expected to pay between £300 and £1000 to sell your home online.

Unlike traditional estate agents, online agents are unlikely to conduct interviews on your behalf. Most of the management of the sale will be down to you. It is likely that if the website can provide a value for your property it will be based almost entirely on online data, and so you may want to have your property valued independently to ensure an accurate price.

It is very rare for an online estate agent to have any kind of physical location, though your property will still be advertised to serious buyers online. Because of this it is important to scrutinise an online agent’s web presence: are their pictures of a high quality? How many properties do they manage to sell and how often? Are they highly rated on websites like Zoopla?

Finding an estate agent

It is important to have several different agents value your property. Their prices can vary, but if an agent offers a value that is drastically different to the others it may be because they may have spotted something important. You can also look at similar properties in your area, but remember that the ultimate decision of how much to advertise the property for lies with you, as does the decision of whether or not to accept an offer.

Some agents will attempt to gain ‘sole selling rights’. This means that they can charge you a fee even if they are not the ones to sell your property, so ask about this in advance and avoid it. You should also refuse to sign any agreements requiring you to pay an agent for providing a “ready, willing and able purchaser”; you do not want to have to pay a fee unless your agent actually sells the property. Finally, try to get a no-penalties notice period of at least two weeks. If you become unsatisfied with the agency you choose you will want the option to exit the deal without having to pay a penalty fee.

It is a good idea to advertise in multiple places. Do not be afraid of hiring a traditional agency whilst also putting your property online yourself. It is better to limit yourself to a single traditional agency. They will work hard if they know they can sell your property. That does not mean you should not research several potential agencies. You can always talk about your alternatives with your potential agents to make them compete on cost.

Looking for an Estate Agent? Post your job with Plentific and start receiving quotes today!