Selling a home isn’t something that most people do on a regular basis. It is a very important transaction, so please make sure that you choose the right estate agent for you. We hope that you find this guide useful when conducting your research.

Before You Decide

1. Will they look after you?

All estate agents talk about their ‘excellent customer service’. To find out if they actually deliver what they promise, ask about their share of the local market. An estate agency’s market share and local reputation is an important measure of its success in selling property.
Find out if they are open seven days a week and how often they will give you viewing feedback and sales updates. Ask them to talk you through the way they will present your home to potential buyers. Successful estate agencies have happy customers and happy staff. If employees remain for a long time, it’s a good sign that they really care about what they do. This will be reflected in the service they provide for you and the interest they have in getting the best price for your property. We are highly recommended, so feel free to speak to our existing clients.

2. Will their marketing get you the best price?

The approach to selling should be appropriate to the home being sold. Before putting a property on the market, good estate agents make sure they know which audiences to reach. They put adverts, listings and particulars in places where interested buyers will see them. For the best results, estate agents use a combination of media. Typically, this includes brochures, newspaper adverts property website portals, window cards and ‘For Sale’ boards. One effective method is to qualify active buyers before tailoring mailings to their needs. Make sure your estate agent has a strong local and regional presence with a London office, National Network and is prepared to spend money on promoting your home. An agent that is experienced in handling new homes, land and lettings as well as sales, will be able to offer the best all round advice to ensure your property gains maximum exposure.

3. How accurate is their valuation?

Your home is worth whatever somebody will pay for it. Agents should base their valuations on market conditions, interest and comparable sales evidence. Many estate agents inflate valuations because they want you to sign their contract, not necessarily because they want to get the best possible price for your home. It’s difficult to switch agents once you have signed up for a minimum period, so don’t be pressurised into signing anything. An over-valuation strategy can prove costly: your property may not sell as quickly as you would like, and there is a strong possibility that it will sell for less than it is worth. Buyers are suspicious of homes that linger on the market without any serious interest. If you’re buying another home at the same time, your seller won’t wait indefinitely. Ask other people about their experiences of selling houses with estate agents in your area. Find estate agents that can demonstrate a fall-through rate that is lower than 30%, the UK average. An agency should have a dedicated sales coordinator to manage the sales process to a successful conclusion, minimising stress.

4. What do they charge?

If an estate agent offers you a low rate, ask yourself why. Are they likely to negotiate the best possible price if they are working for a discounted fee? It could be a tactic to tease you away from their competition – perhaps they have less to spend on marketing your property than other agents, and therefore are likely to achieve a lower selling price.

5. Will they advise you on how to prepare your home for sale?

An estate agent needs to communicate with you at all times. The team at James Gesner will provide a guide on “How to Prepare your Home for Sale” as well as their comprehensive “Moving Home Timeline” booklet to help you.

6. Check their professional accreditation.

Are they associated with the right professional bodies: Ombudsman for Estate Agents (OEA), Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) and the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)?