Selling your home is a significant transaction, and it often comes with a mix of emotions. It’s a huge step for you. That’s why it’s essential to choose the very best estate agent who can not only find the right buyer and secure the best price for your home, but also provide the support and guidance you need throughout the process.
Maybe you’re selling the family home where you’ve created cherished memories and raised your children, and now it’s time to downsize (read our downsizing guide here). Perhaps you’ve outgrown your first home and are ready for the next exciting step up the property ladder. It could also be a situation where you have a buy-to-let property or an inherited home that you no longer wish to maintain.
No matter your reason for selling, there’s no shortage of agents vying for your business. With numerous options available – from local to national, traditional high street agencies to online platforms – each with their unique strengths and target markets, the challenge is finding the one that best suits you and your property.
If your home is already on the market and you’re considering a change of agent, read our guide on switching estate agents.
It’s not a precise science, but you should be able to narrow your choices down to a select top two or three agents.
So, without further ado, here are 11 questions to aid you in making your decision.
Firstly, these questions should be asked (perhaps internally, or with your loved ones) when narrowing down which estate agents to meet with:
1. What are your plans?
Typically, estate agents kick off conversations by asking about your plans. It’s vital to have a clear understanding of your reasons for selling and the timeframe you’re aiming for. If you intend to purchase another property, take the time to compile a list of your requirements and desires. The agents you engage with regarding the sale will likely be eager to present you with the exceptional properties they have in their inventory, providing you with insight into how they handle potential buyers.
2. How good is their website?
Does it exude professionalism, offer user-friendly navigation, and encompass all the crucial information you seek? Do their property listings leave you impressed with their visual appeal?
3. Are they a member of a professional body?
Estate agents who are members of professional organisations (such as The Property Redress Scheme) are committed to upholding the highest industry standards and abiding by a stringent code of ethics. It’s important to note that non-member agents may also uphold these standards, but understanding an agent’s membership status helps you make an informed decision. Having a comprehensive view of the agent’s credentials is always beneficial before making your final choice.
4. Are their homes listed on the best portals?
Numerous sales websites have a significantly broader reach than an agent’s individual site. The more well-trafficked websites an agent features your property on, the wider the audience of potential buyers they can access. Various popular online portals are available for agents to utilise. You should inquire about the specific portals they use and the rationale behind their choices.
5. What type of home do they specialise in?
If they’re selling similar homes, having ‘competition’ for a buyer might seem like a drawback, but, in reality, it can be a positive indicator. It suggests that the agent is experienced in effectively marketing homes like yours to the ideal buyer. Consider reading our guide ‘a unique agent for unique homes’.
Once you have made a shortlist of which estate agents you’d like to speak or meet with, these questions can be asked once you’ve engaged a prospective estate agent(s):
6. What's the market like at the moment?
This offers you insights into the expected number of viewings and the potential timeframe for selling your property. Additionally, it provides a sense of the agent’s expertise.
7. What similar homes have you sold recently?
This will provide confirmation regarding the achievable sale price for your property. Furthermore, if the agent has recently completed numerous sales of properties similar to yours in the past month, it indicates a thriving market and their effective performance. Check out our current homes for sale here.
8. How much would you market our home for?
Chances are, you already have your own valuation in mind from your online research. Compare your estimate with what the agent provides and pay attention to their level of confidence in delivering their valuation. Typically, they will present a valuation range and suggest an initial market price tailored to your specific timeframe and circumstances. If their suggested price varies from your initial expectation, don’t hesitate to ask additional questions and engage in a more detailed discussion.
9. Do you have any potential buyers in mind?
Their answer is likely to be positive. To delve deeper, inquire about what properties these potential buyers have recently considered and the feedback they’ve provided. This inquiry will provide insights into the agent’s level of engagement with prospective buyers and their effectiveness in communication.
10. What are your fees?
The majority of agents offer an all-inclusive fee, although a few may impose additional charges for items such as high-quality brochures. Ensure that you have a transparent understanding of all the associated costs. It’s important to bear in mind that a competent agent will provide value for your investment, so resist the temptation to opt for the least expensive option, as quality often corresponds with the price you pay.
11. What happens if I'm not happy with your service?
As long as you’ve made a thoughtful selection of your agent, you shouldn’t encounter significant issues. However, it’s a prudent practice to verify the following:
- What’s the minimum contract duration, and how much advance notice is required for termination?
- If you procure a buyer independently, are you still obligated to pay the agent’s fee?
- Whom should you contact if any issues or concerns arise during the process?
Once you’ve found two or three agents that you’re sure can do the job, based on all the above, it’s time to turn to bonus question:
12. Which agent feels right?
When you have questions, who do you trust the most to provide the answers? To put it plainly, which agent do you feel most comfortable with? The combination of thorough research and your intuition is a reliable approach that often leads to success in various aspects of life. In this context, it should help you find the ideal selling partner for a successful sale.