There are estate agents everywhere. Loads of them. In every city, town, and village in the nation, they’re there. So when it comes to deciding which agent to entrust with the sale of your home, how do you choose which one you’re going to work with?
From For Sale to Sold
If you’re thinking of selling your home, it’s good to keep your eyes open for any FOR SALE boards popping up in your local area. Take note of which agents are named on the boards, and then keep an eye on how quickly the FOR SALE board is replaced by a SOLD board.
If you notice that one particular agency is changing their FOR SALE boards to SOLD boards quickly and frequently, this is as good of a hint you’re going to get that they are successfully performing their job. It means they’re responsible for the rapid successful sale of home after home in your area and, therefore, should be well placed to do the same for you.
It’s always worth jumping online and searching for estate agent reviews, but you should take everything you read with a pinch of salt.
There are many online estate agent review websites to look at, and while they can serve as a useful research tool, customer reviews like this aren’t always entirely reliable.
First, people are far more likely to review agents if they’re unhappy with the service than they are if they’re happy, it’s just human nature in the digital age. So, if you see an agent with five negative reviews and no positive ones, all you really know for sure is that five people have been unhappy – you don’t know how many have been happy and you don’t if those negative reviews are from reasonable people.
Second, while most sites do their best to make sure that the customer reviews being left are genuine, agents have been known to use fake 5-star reviews to try and bolster their overall rating. While we’re not saying this is a common practice, it definitely exists and you should be aware of it.
Friends and Family
Far more reliable than online customer reviews are direct recommendations from friends and family. If someone you know and trust has had a great experience with an agent, you can put far more weight on this recommendation than that of an online stranger.
Choosing a good agent can often feel like a complicated process, but sometimes it really is as simple as taking the advice of friends.
Trust Your Gut
When putting you home on the market, you’re going to want to get a number of valuations from various different agents. This usually requires them coming over to your home. This is the perfect opportunity for you to meet them and get an idea of the sort of person they are.
What’s your gut feeling about them? Do you like them? Do they come across as genuine? Are you comfortable with the idea of this person having a key to your home and giving viewings while you aren’t in? Are they the sort of person you want to have representing you and your home? In other words, do you get a good vibe from them?
This gut feeling is important and you should listen to it.
Check Their Listings
When you’re close to choosing your agent, be sure to jump onto the property portals and examine the homes that the agent is already marketing.
Have they done a good job of presenting the property? Are the photos of a high quality? Has the brief description of the home been written with enthusiasm and passion? Have they provided comprehensive details or have lots of areas been left blank?
All of this stuff lets you know how much care and attention the agent is going to give your home, how much effort they’re going to go to in order to make your house attractive.
Finally, you should consider how much each agent is going to charge you. We have left this one to the end because fees aren’t a particularly accurate way of differentiating between a good agent and a bad one. They do, however, give you an opportunity to scrutinise the depth of service you are likely to receive.
First of all, don’t automatically choose the agent who charges the lowest fees. We’ve written a full article on exactly why this is, here.
Second, always be sure to ask what is and is not included in that fee. Some agents, for example, will generate all of the marketing materials (photos, floorplans, etc) as part of the price, but others (usually the cheaper ones) will charge you extra for these basic services.