Buying, selling, letting or renting a new property can be stressful even for seasoned professionals. When it comes to listing and marketing a property you want to sell or let, you don’t have to do it alone! The same is true for those looking to buy or rent a property. Seeking the help of a trusted estate agent can make the process run smoothly and ease any stresses you might have.
While it’s important to have the help of an estate agent, it’s more important to make sure that when choosing an estate agent, you make a wise decision. Unprofessional estate agents can make the process more stressful and drawn out, rather than helping you to buy, rent or sell quickly.
Choosing an estate agent
Choosing the right estate agent helps to make the process of renting, letting, buying or selling easier by taking away the responsibility for tasks such as listings, viewings and services such as professional photos. It pays to choose the right estate agent – you’ll sell, let, rent or buy your property with less hassle.
When choosing an estate agent for your property, there are certain factors you should look for, and others which you should try to avoid. Estate agents should ultimately work in your best interests and have a duty of care to you throughout the entire process.
Whether you are looking to sell or let a property, estate agents should provide a range of services beyond simply valuing and listing your property. Professional photography and floor plans should be included, as well as effective marketing for your property and the organisation of viewings.
For buyers or renters, an estate agent not only showcases their properties and facilitates viewings, but they should be able to provide accurate information about the local community too.
Tips and advice on choosing an estate agent
Taking a little time to vet your estate agent can help you buy, sell or let a property sooner and with less stress.
1. Watch out for overvaluations
Some estate agents value your property optimistically in order to entice you in and make sure you choose them as your estate agent. These overvaluations aren’t representative of a realistic value you could achieve for your property, so are misleading.
Make sure your estate agent can provide evidence for how they have valued your property to avoid an overvaluation. This could be by showing the sale or let prices of similar properties in the area.
2. Ask more than one estate agent to value your property
Take the time to ask for a property valuation from more than one estate agent. This can help to establish whether any estate agents are overvaluing your property.
3. Know their fees
Ensure that you are explicitly aware of the fees that your estate agent will charge for their services. This is usually charged as a percentage of the sale price.
In 2023, the average estate agent fee is between 0.9% and 3.6% of the selling price (including VAT) for your home. This is dependent on many factors including location and your negotiation skills – take a look at the fees for several estate agents to get a feel of the average prices in your area.
4. Beware of hidden extras
Unfortunately, not all estate agents are created equal – what some include in their price as standard are added extras for others. It’s essential that you are clear which services are offered as part of the estate agent’s fees.
Typically, you can expect the following services to be included as part of an estate agent’s role in the sale or letting of your property:
- High quality photography – often overlooked, high quality images ensure that your property is showcased in its best light and stands out from the crowd.
- Detailed floor plans – similar to photographs of your property, floor plans help buyers or renters to visualise your property and get an insight into the layout.
- The property valuation – accurate valuations are essential when selling or letting a property and can help take it off the market sooner.
- Listing and marketing your property – this includes listing your property on online property sites, their own site, informing their list of relevant contacts about the property and a ‘for sale’ or ‘to let’ sign for the property.
- Organising viewings – they should arrange viewings and also show potential renters or buyers around your property.
- Keep the deal moving – your estate agent should help to make sure that things keep moving in the right direction until the exchange of contracts and date of completion.
5. Check their track record
As with any product or service you agree to purchase, you should take care to do your own due diligence. Our top tip for choosing an estate agent is to check their track record for selling, letting or buying – verified reviews from customers can be incredibly helpful in your decision making.
It’s also important to find out if they have recently sold, let or helped someone buy or rent a property similar to yours or your ideal property. This can help you to establish whether they are a good fit for marketing your property or helping you to secure the home of your dreams.
6. Opt for a local agent who knows the area
Estate agents have much more knowledge to give than just the latest properties on the market! Local estate agents can give you valuable information about the local community, schools in the area and among other things, the state of the market in the area.
7. Find out how they will advertise your property
It’s important to know exactly how an estate agent plans to market your property for let or sale. From branch displays and property sale or let boards to listings on national websites, there are a range of different ways that estate agents can market your property.
It’s time to sell, let, buy or rent your property with Stanfords! Make the most of our experienced estate agents and unrivalled property marketing, working with you to get the best deal for your property.