It's often said that selling your home is one of the top 5 most stressful things you ever do. A good Estate Agent can help smooth out the entire process but a poor one can actually make the process worse.
Top Tips to choosing the right agent
Before choosing an agent check out their website, visit their office and do some market research to determine how successful they are in your area.
Look for properties that have sold or are 'Sale Agreed' rather than just 'For Sale'.Two
Consider the quality of their online marketing.
Are their photographs of a high quality, do they include floor plans or other valuable features?
Decide which 2 or 3 agents you feel will represent you and your property best and request a free valuation and market appraisal from them.Four
Many people choose their agent at this stage based on the highest valuation or the lowest fee. This can be a serious mistake.
Both of these tools can be used by agents to secure your business but an excessive asking price will potentially leave you stranded on the market with no offers and a low fee could result in a poor service that fails to get you the best price for your home.
During the valuation has the valuer taken full account of the property including any key selling features?
Have they listened to your reasons for selling and taken this on board? Have they provided you with comparables to support their valuation? Do you 'gel' with them?
Will you or any potential buyers feel confident and comfortable working with this company perhaps over a period of several months?Six
Make sure you know the terms of the contract that you agree with your agent.
Are there any up front fees? Will you have anything to pay if you decide to withdraw your property from the market? Are there any additional marketing charges that may be added along the way? Is there a minimum period of instruction?
Is the selling fee fixed or is it a percentage of the sale price? Do the quoted fees include VAT? In other words make sure you know exactly what the service will cost you at the outset.
The 4 P's of Property Sales
Estate agents don't set property values.
Part of our job is to use our frontline knowledge of the fluctuations in the property market and buyer demand to advise you and to give you a 'best estimate' of what your home is worth. Too low and you could miss out on the best price. Too high and you might get little or no interest and have to reduce at a later stage.
We will advise on an asking price and pricing strategy in order to ensure that we achieve the right interest and secure the best market value sale price for your specific home.
Is your property presented at its best?
Have you de-cluttered? Have you given the house a thorough clean and tidy up? Would some repainting or redecorating be worthwhile to enhance your property's appeal? Are there broken fixtures or fittings that could be easily and inexpensively fixed?
If you have pets or smoke deal with any unpleasant odours wherever possible. We're asking tens of thousands of pounds from a potential buyer so don't give them a reason to walk away - give them reasons to want to buy your home.
You pay your agent a significant fee to sell your home so make sure you're getting value for money.
When you phone your agents office are the staff pleasant? Are they well briefed about your property? If your property is slow to sell what can your agent do to help your property stand out from the crowd?
Is your agent using all of the tools available to attract interest in your property - floor plans, social media, featured property options, mailing lists?
This is essential both during the marketing stage and during the 'legal' stage.
A typical house sale in Northern Ireland currently takes in the region of 8 - 12 weeks from an offer is accepted until keys are handed over. Too often people allow emotions to take over and unreasonable demands and deadlines are put down.
Your agent will be working hard behind the scenes - with solicitors, other agents in the chain, mortgage brokers or lenders, surveyors, buyers and other sellers - just to make your sale happen. A lot of unseen work goes on and we only collect our commission if we sell your home so a good agent will not rest until the sale completes.
In a booming market a property can sell in a few hours or days. At other times it could take considerably longer but, if you're on the market and getting no interest, go back to the three P's - Is it priced right? Is it presented at its best? Is your agent Promoting it as well as they can?
It's a two way street - your agent should be in regular touch with you but, if you're concerned or unhappy, drop in or call your agent and discuss the situation. Switching agents, appointing a joint agent or disinstructing your agent should be a last resort if every other option has been exhausted.