Selecting an estate agency to sell your property can be a minefield. Here in Manchester, the streets seem to be lined with Estate agents, and so it’s hard to know where to place your trust. We’ve put together a few hints and tips to help you make some decisions on a company that will suit you and your needs, helping to save you money and time in the process!
When looking for an estate agent, it’s essential to search for recommendations. You’ll want to find a company that’s trustworthy, easy to deal with and has proven results.
Easier said than done, you’re thinking. But there are loads of ways to access company reviews nowadays. The internet is full of sites dedicated to reviews, and although you definitely have to be careful which ones you believe, well-regulated ones like AllAgents, Trustpilot and Google are a good place to start. Also take a look at reviews posted on company pages on social media sites like Facebook, although do remember that not all reviews are completely fair and some comments have to be taken with a pinch of salt!
While searching online is all well and good, remember not to underestimate the power of your real-life social network. Perhaps the best source of information is your friends and family – talk to people you know who have moved recently about their experiences. Don’t have any local friends who have moved lately? Ask colleagues or neighbours – even a short chat can give you a hunch about local firms.
Once you’ve started making a short list, contact some agencies to have a quick chat and see what their customer service is like. Are they friendly, professional and helpful? An agency that’s worth pursuing should know the value of a great first impression and give you a positive vibe. If they don’t cut it first time, this can be enough for you to strike them off the list.
One thing is for certain: it’s absolutely essential that an estate agency knows the area it’s dealing with – location is key to a property search!
Again, you can get a sense of this when you first contact the company. When you mention the property address, does the agent sound knowledgeable about that part of town? Can s/he tell you about similar properties that have sold recently? Does s/he seem to have a realistic idea of how long these sorts of places normally stay on the market?
If the answer to the questions above is ‘no’, this can be another red flag that the firm is not for you. Ideally, your agent should be able to market the area around the property just as effectively as the building itself – s/he ought to know about local amenities, transport links and schools, for example, because these are all major selling points. If questions about these sorts of things return a blank look, it might not mean that the agency has a bad reputation overall but, on the other hand, it might be time to look for a company with more specific knowledge about your area and property type.
The question of whether to choose your agent based on quality or price is a funny one because if you ask most people what they’d prefer, they’ll tell you they would pay more for higher quality. In practice, though, lots of customers are swayed by a low price point. Money talks. But the fact is that going cheap in the short term could cost you more in the long run, in terms of both money AND time.
Why are low-cost agents cheap? Typically, they are going to keep the price low by having fewer overheads. That might be because they offer fewer services. So, it may mean that you will have to look elsewhere for help with certain parts of your sale – like financial advice or property maintenance, for example. Another reason might be an inexperienced workforce that will accept lower rates of pay, and may not be as likely to gain you a sale as more experienced staff. It should also be remembered that agencies with low fees will have to make more sales for the same level of profit, so while they might attract a lot of customers, this may be at the expense of giving their existing clients the best experience.
All these are reasons why researching your agency carefully can pay off. The more time your agent is willing to spend on you and the more expertise s/he can bring to the table, the more chance there is of them finding you a committed buyer in a strong position to sell without anything going wrong in the process. Don’t forget, there’s no use in a sale seeming to progress quickly, only for it to fall through so you to have to start all over again.
One of the most important things to remember is that your estate agent works for you. S/he should have your best interests at heart and should be there to support you. Don’t agree with the proposed sale price? Not happy with the property photos? Then say so. Although you shouldn’t dismiss agents’ suggestions completely out of hand, you are very welcome to challenge them. After all, you’re the one who is going to pay the bill in the end! And it’s worth bearing in mind that a high-quality agent will have facts and figures available to justify his/her choices, helping to reassure you that s/he has your best interests at heart.
Further down the line, if you’re not happy with the way the sale is progressing, again, you should feel able to say so. If things feel like they are moving slowly, a good agency should be able to help chase things up, speaking to solicitors, finding out how far along the paper trail is, and advising you on realistic exchange and completion dates.
On the other hand, you wouldn’t think much of an agent who didn’t offer you any advice, would you? Your agent should be able to share their expertise with you – after all, you might sell a property once every few years, while it’s an agent’s job to do this day in, day, out. You’re hiring an agent because the agent is an expert, so take advantage of that to gain insider knowledge. Then, you can work together towards achieving what you both want: to secure that sale!
At Julie Twist Properties, our clients are assigned a dedicated agent to ensure smooth communication from day one. Why not contact us today to see how we can help.
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