We’ve noticed a trend recently. You love your home, you love London , but you’ve also realised that you need somewhere new. Perhaps somewhere larger, somewhere with a bigger garden, somewhere closer to the countryside, or even somewhere a little smaller.
Yes, it appears you’ve got a dose of ‘ready to move’, whether you’re selling or letting your home, what better time than the New Year – a time often linked with new beginnings and fresh starts.
So, how do you find the best estate agent?
What questions should you ask?
As property experts in the London area, we at Ashmore Residential thought we’d give you our seven tips so that you can choose the best estate agent for you.
Phone a Friend
Ask for recommendations. Friends and family can point you in the right direction and equally they can steer you away from the agents to avoid! Ask them if they’ve had a great experience with a particular estate agent, and enquire about how communicative, knowledgeable and friendly the agent was. Did the agent get the job done – and achieve the asking price or above?
Tip: Social media is your friend! If you’re a member of a Facebook community group in a particular area, post your questions in that group. And while you’re there check out local estate agents’ profiles to discover more about their local area knowledge and understand how they interact with the local community.
Check out estate agents reviews online. Facebook reviews, Google reviews and reviews on Feefo can all give you an insight into other customers experiences. Have a read through to get a good idea as to whether or not an agent is worth shortlisting.
Tip: Always have an open mind when reading reviews, because while most will be genuine, some negative ones (and some positive ones) may not be.
Check the Agents Website
If you have a couple of shortlisted estate agents, check out their websites. Compare and contrast the services they offer and the fees they charge. Research where they market their properties and check out their social media feeds.
Tip: If you’re comparing and contrasting, you need to ensure you know what you want your chosen estate agent to do for you. Write a wish list of your requirements.
Check Fees and T&Cs
When it comes to estate agents, each will offer a slightly different service, and each will have a different way of operating. You have high street offices, internet-based offices, and hybrid agencies that blend traditional with the internet. Each has its advantages and disadvantages depending on your individual requirements, but always check the small print and look at the overall service.
Tip: Do some research and decide whether you want a sole agency agreement, or if you would like multiple agents to market your property. It’s important to read the contractual obligations if you choose the latter.
Review your Agent’s Performance
Remember, your estate agent will be working for you, to get your house marketed and sold or let. But it’s actually a two-way thing and you will need to do what you can to help them do their job too. Your agent should be prepared to communicate with you if they think things should change, like a review of the price for example. And you should feel confident enough to ask about performance and see results or otherwise.
Tip: Have a clear understanding of your expectations and what you will want to review. Is it the number of people shown your property, or is it the number of hits on property websites? Is it about proactive calls made to prospective buyers and tenants, or is it to get an offer within a certain timeframe?
When you are narrowing down your shortlist, have a look at the properties that the agent sells and lets.
- Are they similar to your house?
- Do they have any experience selling/renting homes similar to your property?
- Can they talk with good knowledge about the local area?
- How accurate are their valuations?
All of these are a must because you need to know that your agent knows what they are doing and can convey that to a prospective buyer or tenant.
Tip: If you want to know how much similar properties have sold or let for have a look online so that you are fully informed.
Trust your Gut Instinct
There’s a lot to be said for getting a feel for whether you have picked the right agent to market your property. Something may simply click into place when you’re having a conversation, or you may know immediately that the agent is for you. Trust your instinct as it may well be right.
Tip: While we say trust your instinct, make sure you also carry out the checks and reviews as well!
For no-obligation advice, please contact our expert property team at Ashmore Residential on 020 8366 9777.