It pays to know how to get the best out of your estate agent to maximise your chances of a quick and effective sale, as well as how to choose the right estate agent in the first place. Have a look at our handy tips to make sure you choose the right agent and then get the best from them.
1. Get a few valuations
You will probably have a number of estate agents in your locality, so ask at least three estate agents to come and give you a valuation. The values might be very different and although it is tempting to go with the agent offering the highest valuation, it’s worth double checking that their figures are realistic, as well as taking other aspects into account. You may want to view sold property prices in the area to get an understanding of what prices similar homes have been achieving in your area. There is no point having a property for sale at a price which deters buyers.
2. Choose local
Choose a tried, trusted, long established agency selling property in your area. They know their market inside out; they are aware of the types of properties in an area, the situations of buyers looking for them, the typical values and they have their finger on the pulse of local market conditions which may be completely different to the national picture. They also have an immediate, live register of interested buyers seeking property in the area and they know how to pick up and exploit buying signals. PFK’s seven branches cover an area that stretches along the west coast of Cumbria, covers the Lake District National Park and reaches across to Kirkby Stephen, up to Carlisle and even just across the border into Scotland, and we can share our lists across our branches to find the right buyer for your property.
3. Choose quality
If the agent has been established for a great many years, it is a sure sign that they have been doing something consistently right over that time. PFK has been established since 1876 so we have over 140 years of experience under our belts! It is no good selecting an agent with little experience just because they charge a much lower fee. As with all things, quality often comes at a price and a real estate agent is worth their weight in gold.
4. Test the agent
Before engaging their services, act as a prospective buyer. Assess the mood before you walk in – see if the office looks well organised and professional and each negotiator looks busy and happy, not just leaning back in their chairs looking at their watches! Subtly or mentally make notes of how promptly and enthusiastically you are welcomed, how professionally are you treated and how thorough the questioning is of your requirements and needs. If you leave with a positive list, you can be sure that if you instruct that agent, your buyers will be similarly treated when introduced to your property.
5. Look at their online presence
Aside from the agent’s own website, agents who are listed on Rightmove enjoy two million visitors a month searching for properties, giving sellers the broadest possible buyer base. Since mass use of the internet has come about, there has been a growth in the number of people selling their homes via alternative means to the high street estate agent. Despite this trend, the vast majority of property sales are still handled by professional estate agents – and they make good use of the web as a vital marketing tool.
6. Do they advertise in the local paper?
Rightmove have undertaken some research about their users, and discovered that 70% of people now start their search online – but what about the 30% who don’t? Quality, frequent newspaper advertising is still a key tool when selling a property, as is a physical office with a window to advertise properties alongside a friendly, professional team who can really talk to people and find out their needs.
7. Check your property details and photos
Once you’ve chosen your estate agent and agreed terms, they will draw up property particulars and have photographs taken. They should ask you to check the details and provide a signature to say that they are accurate. Ask to see the photos to check their quality and agree which ones should be used before the agent includes them in the property details.
8. Be ready for viewings
There is much more to selling a property than merely taking a photograph, placing an advertisement in the paper and erecting a ‘For Sale’ board outside. Look for an agent who provides a viewing service and offers you professional, personal advice every step of the way, from the initial valuation all the way through to completion.
Most estate agents will already have potential buyers up their sleeves, so expect viewings pretty quickly. It saves you a lot of hassle if you can let the estate agent have a set of keys so that they can access the property easily, particularly if you’re away from the property most days. It should go without saying that you must leave the house tidy and clean to maximise the chances of a quick and successful sale. Check out our top tips for viewings here http://www.pfk.co.uk/top-tips-for-viewings/
9. Keep an eye on the selling process
Once you have chosen an agent, keep an eye on how they operate to sell your property after being instructed. If things are not right, and get no better when you speak to them about it, you will be able to change agents. A good estate agent should possess all of the following attributes:
Communication skills – exceptional English when letter writing, marketing and selling.
Tenacity – the ability to deal with sometimes difficult solicitors, surveyors and other professionals.
Diplomacy – the ability to tell people bad news but have a solution in place wherever possible.
Organisational skills – keeping appointments, making time for clients, corresponding with you effectively.
Good memory to remember all of the above, as well as important titbits of information to help match buyers to properties as quick as possible.
Hopefully, the relationship with your estate agent will be pleasant, professional and friendly. Don’t forget, the estate agent is working for you. You are the client and it’s up to them to fulfil your instructions and help you sell your property.
10. Stay in touch with your agent
Once an offer is made, keep in close contact with your estate agent and make sure that the process is being well managed. Some buyers will ask that the property is taken off the market on acceptance of the offer. PFK will give you advice along the way and check that the purchasers are serious before committing.
11. Get the whole package
There is not just work to be done to find a buyer for your property, but work to be done once a sale has been agreed: keeping all parties informed, progress chasing and managing often tenuous chains. This is often where a truly professional agent comes out on top – and where the online agents often fall down. Look at what an agent offers after a sale has been agreed to distinguish between a quality agent and someone who is merely good at matching buyers to properties.
At PFK, our sales progression service is included in our fee as standard, so you don’t have to chase for updates. Our team will keep both you and the buyer updated on the progress, from the moment the offer is accepted through to exchange of contracts. We as an agent are the pin who holds everything in place for you, so will coordinate mortgage valuations, surveyors, solicitors and so on. If there are any problems, we will liaise with both sides and seek a satisfactory conclusion.
If you are looking to sell or for some advice on any aspect of the selling or buying process, you can contact your local PFK office for a free, no-obligation valuation and expert advice. Get in touch at email@example.com , call your local office or pop in and see us – we’re always happy to meet clients and have a chat about your needs.