What Estate Agent Should I Use?

By Ben Spowart
What Estate Agent Should I Use?

What Estate Agent Should I Use?

Choosing the right estate agent to sell your home is one of the most important decisions you’ll make during the home-selling process. With over 20,000 estate agents in the UK, how do you know which one is the best estate agent for you? This article will provide tips on how to choose an estate agent and walk you through the key factors to consider when selecting the right agent to sell your house. We’ll guide you through comparing local estate agents to find the best one to meet your needs and help get the highest price when selling your home.

Whether you want to find the best high-street estate agent or are considering using an online estate agent, this article will help you identify the right estate agent for your needs. Here at Property Webmasters, we’ll cover how to evaluate estate agents based on their experience, track record of selling similar properties, service levels, marketing capabilities, fees, and contracts.

We understand the true importance of Estate Agents making a positive first impression, this being said, we offer estate agents access to low-cost, professionally designed real estate websites and marketing solutions.

With the help of this guide to choosing the best estate agent, you’ll be able to find the right agent to sell your home quickly and for top dollar. 

Compare Local Estate Agents’ Experience and Track Records

Choosing the right estate agent starts with researching the experience and track record of agents in your local area. You want to find an agent who is a true expert in your neighbourhood and has a proven history of getting top dollar for homes like yours.

  • Look at listings and sold prices for similar properties. Search sites like Rightmove and Zoopla to see which local agents have listed and sold homes comparable to yours recently. Do they have a lot of current listings similar to your property? What final sold prices did they achieve compared to the original asking prices? An agent routinely selling comparable homes for close to or above asking indicates good pricing experience.
  • Check the average time properties are on the market. Look at how long it takes each agent to sell homes like yours in your area. Some may move quicker than others. Faster average sale times suggest an agent who’s effective at marketing to the right buyers. Make sure to compare days on the market for similar property types and prices.
  • Ensure they have extensive local area knowledge. The best estate agents are true experts in the local market. They should know values and demand throughout all neighbourhoods and submarkets. Quiz them on changes, trends, and demographics in your area. Look for a deep understanding of what buyers want locally. This expertise translates into accurate pricing and sales.
  • See what percentage of their business comes from your area. While some agents cover a wide territory, you want one who truly specializes in your specific market. Look for at least 50% of completed sales coming from your neighbourhood and surrounding area. This focus indicates a true local expert.
  • Check reviews from recent clients selling similar homes. Reviews can provide insight into an agent’s pricing, marketing, communication skills and more. Look for feedback from other sellers like you in your area. This is the best indicator of how well an agent will handle your specific listing.

Taking the time to thoroughly compare estate agents based on local experience and sales track record will ensure you find the best fit to market and sell your home quickly and for top dollar. The right agent match can make a huge difference in how smooth the sales process is and what kind of final price you ultimately achieve.

Evaluate Online Marketing and Advertising Strength

In today’s digital age, an estate agent’s online presence and digital marketing expertise are crucial to selling your home quickly and for top dollar. As you compare local estate agents, look closely at the following factors related to their online capabilities:

  • Property portals – At a minimum, the estate agent should list your home on the major UK property portals like Rightmove, Zoopla, and OnTheMarket. Also, check if they utilize niche property portals that are relevant to your specific property type, as portals focused on luxury homes or farms/land.
  • Quality of listings – An agent’s online listings should showcase your home in the best light with high-quality, professional photos, detailed floorplans, virtual video tours, and descriptions that emphasize your property’s unique assets and selling points. Compare the quality of their current listings for other properties to see if they meet your standards.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) – A skilled agent will optimize online listings for keywords and local search so your property ranks highly when local homebuyers search for properties in your area. Ask about their SEO strategies to improve your listing’s visibility and search engine performance.
  • Online reviews – Positive online reviews build trust and credibility, so the agent should proactively collect and manage reviews on platforms like Google, Facebook, and reputable third-party review sites. Look for an agent with many 5-star Google reviews.
  • Social Media Marketing for Estate Agents – Your listing should be shared and promoted across the agent’s active social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Look for an estate agent with an engaged social media following and content strategy.
  • Real Estate Paid Social ads – Many top agents will invest in paid search ads, Facebook ads, retargeting campaigns and other digital ads to get your listing in front of interested homebuyers online. Ask about their paid online advertising capabilities and budget allocation.
  • Estate Agent Email Marketing – A strong agent will have a database of subscribed homebuyers and send regular listing emails showcasing new properties like yours. Ensure they segment and target their email lists for optimal open rates and engagement.
  • Analytics – A data-driven agent will use Google Analytics and other tools to track online activity and leads generated for your listing. Ask to see sample reports and data they collect to refine your property’s digital marketing.

Estate Agent Fees and Contract Terms

When researching estate agents, you need to look closely at their fee structures and contract terms. Paying attention to the details here can have a big impact on your net proceeds from the sale.

  • Sole vs. multi-agency agreements: With a sole agency, you contract with one agent exclusively for a set period. Multi-agency means you can work with multiple agents. Sole agency averages 1-2% fees while multi-agency runs 2-3%.
  • Typical commission percentages: Expect to pay 1-3% of the final sale price in commission fees. The average is 1.5-2%. For higher-value homes, you may negotiate under 1%. Make sure VAT is included in quotes.
  • Length of contract tie-in period: The average is 8-12 weeks for the sole agency. This is the exclusive period you are tied to that agent. Shorter tie-ins allow you to change agents if needed.
  • Any extra fees for marketing or services: Watch for admin fees, charges for photos or floorplans, etc. Basic marketing should be included in the commission fee. Ask what is covered.
  • No sale, no fee basis: Most reputable agents only charge the commission fee on completion. Ensure this is the case in your contract.
  • Read the fine print: Don’t skim the contract terms. Read carefully to catch any hidden fees or clauses. Ask questions if anything is unclear.

Doing your due diligence on estate agent fees and contracts prevents any surprises down the line. You can then make an informed decision on the best value agent for your needs. A little extra commission for the right agent can be worth it in the long run.

Evaluate Service Levels

When researching estate agents, look closely at what is included in their standard service packages to make sure they provide the level of service, support, and marketing you need.

  • What’s included in the standard package: At a minimum, you want professional photography, listing on major property portals, a For Sale sign, and accompanying all viewings. Compare what each agent includes as their baseline service.
  • Will they handle viewings and offer feedback: The agent should coordinate all viewings at your convenience and accompany every single one. After each viewing, you should get detailed feedback on the buyer’s reaction that you can use to fine-tune the marketing.
  • Regular communication: A good agent will touch base often to update you on viewings completed, feedback received, interest levels, and any other metrics. Expect proactive contact, not just when you inquire.
  • Negotiation expertise: When you receive an offer, the agent should actively negotiate on your behalf and leverage their sales skills and market knowledge to maximize the agreed sale price and favourable terms.
  • Sales progression: After accepting an offer, the agent should actively manage the sales progression process through to completion. This smooths the path to a successful sale.

Scrutinizing what is covered under an estate agent’s standard service package prevents surprises down the line. It also helps ensure they will provide the level of proactive support you need to efficiently sell your home.

What should I ask an estate agent when selling a house?

Here are some of the key questions you should ask a potential estate agent when selling a house:

How will you market and advertise my home?

Get details on their plans for online listings, print ads, social media, email campaigns, yard signs, open houses, etc. Make sure the strategy aligns with how buyers search for homes like yours.

How will you price my home?

Ask about their valuation methodology and data sources. A good agent will demonstrate how they analyze recent comparable sales. Be wary of inflated prices to win your business.

What is your average time on the market?

Ask for data on how quickly they sell homes like yours in the local area. Fast time on the market indicates strong buyer networks and effective marketing.

What are your commission rate and contract terms?

Get free quotes, contract length, sole vs multi-agency options, fine print details, and any extra charges. Read contracts closely to avoid surprises.

What steps do you take to screen buyers?

Vetting buyer qualifications like financing helps avoid wasted time with unqualified prospects. Ask how they work to ensure serious, ready buyers.

How will you support me and the buyers through the sale process?

From listing to close, you need an agent who will actively engage throughout the transaction. Probe on their level of involvement at each stage.

What happens if we have multiple offers?

Experienced agents have proven strategies for negotiating between multiple buyers to maximize the sale price. Ask how they’ll handle competing bids.

How will you keep me updated on listings and buyers?

Look for an agent committed to proactive, regular communication through your preferred channels like phone, text, email, portal updates, etc.

Do you have satisfied repeat and referral clients I can contact?

Speaking to past clients gives insight into service quality and customer care. The best agents thrive on referrals from happy clients.

Choosing Real Estate Agents Abroad

When considering your options to move outside of the UK, look for Property for Sale in Costa Rica etc. using property portals local to the area.

Why Choose Property Webmasters?

In conclusion, Property Webmasters‘ extensive experience in creating websites for leading estate agent franchises has provided valuable insights into common mistakes made by estate agents in their online presence. Rather than focusing on generic issues, Property Webmasters has identified specific points that significantly impact an estate agent’s success in the competitive real estate market.

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