What should you look for? You need to be confident that an agent will give you the very best advice on pricing and presenting your home for sale; you need to be sure they will market your home effectively to the widest possible group of potential buyers; and you need the peace of mind of knowing that your best interests will be protected.
We believe your best bet is a well-established local independent agent: one where the owner’s livelihood depends on the quality of service on offer; one with a strong online presence, a prominent High Street location, and a good track record in selling properties similar to your own.
One just like “Howes Estates”
Some people including the national press, seem to think the days of the traditional estate agent is over!!
We think that they couldn’t be more wrong! Howes Estates are confident that the future for a good traditional High Street estate agent is a strong as ever – particularly at those times when market conditions are a little more challenging.
One of the main reasons why people are turning to an online agent to try and sell their home is because of the lower fees! But remember - unlike traditional agents like us, who charge on a no sale, no fee basis, online firms generally charge their fees upfront - irrespective of whether they sell your home or not, you are also sometimes contractually tied to using conveyancers and other services – remember to read the small print.
And don’t forget that around a third of all property sales fall through in any case. So, while an upfront fee measured in hundreds of pounds might seem like a bargain, there’s basically a one in three chance that it’ll be hundreds of pounds straight down the drain!
While traditional agents like Howes Estates – who only get paid when a property actually changes hands – will be right back on the case if a sale falls through, the online agent has already had his upfront fee!
The irony of all this, is that the internet has revolutionised the entire property market. We are all “online agents” now – except that some of us also have a convenient high street office staffed with real people, who you can actually talk to face to face!
Because there is a whole lot more to successfully selling your home than simply sticking it on the internet and waiting for the offers to roll in. You need someone who is going to:
The list of things good traditional agents like Howes Estates routinely do for their clients just goes on and on – and all for nothing more than the fee originally agreed.
Having made a shortlist of perhaps three agents, ask them each to do a market appraisal of your home, and ask them to provide evidence to back up their valuations. You can also use their visits to glean more information about their knowledge of the local market, their advertising and marketing strategies, their fee structure and how you feel your relationship with the Agent may be - have a look at their client reviews.
When you make your final choice of agent, do not automatically go for the one who values your home the highest. He may simply be trying to buy your instruction, with every intention of beating you down to a more realistic level once it’s in the bag. Many agents even run internal training courses on “Getting Price Reductions” – although, interestingly, that’s not one of the things they will boast about while they’re trying to win your instruction!
However do not just opt for the one charging the lowest fee. Cut-price agents – even those with a conventional High Street office - generally give a cut-price service. Instead, weigh up the quality of service on offer, and the marketing power at the agent’s disposal. Remember too that estate agency is a people business – trust and confidence are important – so you need to have a good rapport with the agent you choose.