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Finding the right agent is a crucial first step…
Over the forthcoming holiday season many of us will suddenly find our houses too small – and our extended family too big – or will resolve to make 2015 the year we relocate. If you’re thinking of selling, we’ve put together some top tips to help you find the best agents to work with.
Do your research
Take note of the for sale boards you see, check out who’s advertising in the local papers and what they’re selling – find out if they have property similar to your home on the books – and ask friends and neighbours if they have any recommendations.
Be realistic about asking prices
Get a rough idea of the value of your property before you speak to an agent. Look at the asking prices for similar properties that are currently on the market and don’t forget to find out what nearby houses have actually sold for recently. You can find this information online at the Land Registry (houseprices.landregistry.gov.uk). Be warned, it might bring out your nosey side.
Invite a selection of agents to value your house
By considering two or three different companies you can compare costs, valuations, marketing strategies, advice and opinions.
Ask for advice on preparing your house for sale
Find out how to present your property to its best advantage – and get a feeling for the expertise and personality of the agents you’re considering – by asking them what work you should do before selling your house. Don’t take it personally if they suggest you declutter, repaint or replace curtains – it could help you achieve a faster sale.
Don’t just assume that the highest valuation is the best agent
Let’s face it, we all want to get the maximum price for our house. A high valuation can be hard to resist, but beware: if it seems too good to be true, it quite possibly is. Ask for a justification of the price and evidence to support it. Over-pricing your property could deter potential purchasers and delay the sale.
The lowest fee is not always the best option
With all the expenses you incur moving house, it’s tempting to try and save money wherever you can. But choosing an agent based entirely on fees can be false economy. Choose an agent that you think will work hard to get the best price for your house and consider what level of service they will provide for that fee.
Make sure your home’s seen by the right people
Find out how your home would be marketed. Will there be a brochure? What property portals will your home be listed on? Does the agent have a database of potential buyers who have registered for information on similar properties?
Take a view
What about viewings, do you want to hold an open day? Do you have any requirements that need to be accommodated, such as small children’s nap times? Choose an agent that will work around your needs.
Choose someone you like and trust
Do yourself a favour, listen to your instinct and choose someone you like and trust. You might want to be dispassionate and unemotional about this, but the reality is that you will spend a considerable amount of time dealing with your estate agent over what can be a very stressful time.