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7 tips on finding the best estate agent

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Matt Bradfield

Website Editor
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first time buyer house key

At a glance

  • Get valuations from at least three estate agents, but don't be tempted to immediately go with the highest price tag
  • Ask around about estate agents and get recommendations from friends or family
  • Decide whether sole or multi-agency is the best option for you
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions

Choosing an estate agent is an important part of selling your home. While you want to get the best possible price for your property, you also need to be sure that the estate agent you choose has your best interests at heart. Here are some of the things you should consider before making your decision.

1. Ask for recommendations

If you know someone who’s recently moved, ask them which estate agent they used and what they thought of them. You should also look at the For Sale and Sold signs near where you live, they’ll give a good indication of the estate agents that work well in your area. Don't forget to check the online listings for your area too.

2. Check industry credentials

Any estate agent you approach should be a member of the Property Ombudsman or the Property Redress Scheme, which means complaints against them can be independently investigated. Additionally, many estate agents will be members of trade bodies which can indicate a higher level of professionalism and diligence.

Trade bodies to look out for include the Guild of Property Professionals, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

3. Go undercover

To get an idea of how an estate agent would handle the sale of your home, it’s worth visiting them and posing as a buyer of a property similar to your own. Make a note of how they behave and ask yourself two questions. Would you be happy if the property being described was yours? And, would you buy a property from them?

4. Invite at least three agents to value your property

While it’s worth engaging at least three agents to give you a valuation, don’t immediately go with the one who gives you the highest figure. The overvaluation could be a ploy to win your business, and it could also mean your home takes much longer to sell. You also run the risk of seeing your asking price reduced over time if your home fails to sell at the high valuation level.

As well as the price tag, you should consider these factors before making your choice:

  • Will the estate agent conduct all viewings or will you be expected to show prospective buyers around your home?
  • How will your property be advertised? For example, will it appear in print and digital editions of your local newspaper and on property websites like Rightmove and Zoopla?
  • Will the estate agent prepare marketing materials like floorplans and online tours? Are the photographs they use professional and high quality?
  • How many potential buyers for your home do they have on their books?

Featured estate agents

  • Yopa
    • Local agents up and down the country
    • Pay a fixed fee upfront with no commission
    • Or, only pay when your home is sold
  • Sold.co.uk
    • We can sell your home in 25 days
    • We advertise online and have 20,000 pre-qualified buyers ready to go
    • Free to the seller - we take our fees from the buyers
    • 30-day agreement only
Note

Links to third parties on this page are paid for by the third party. You can find out more about the individual products by visiting their site. Moneyfactscompare.co.uk will receive a small payment either if you click the links or if you use their services after you click through to their site. All information is subject is subject to change without notice. Please check all terms before making any decisions.

Disclaimer

The list of estate agents on this page is a selection of services available and gives you an idea of the kind of options available. You can find out more about the individual products by visiting any of the providers listed. All information is subject to change without notice. Please check all terms before making any decisions. This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfactscompare.co.uk will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfactscompare.co.uk recommends you obtain independent financial advice.

5. Decide between sole and multi-agency, then haggle

Sole agency is where one agent has the exclusive right to sell your property for a set period. If your property is sold by another agent in this time you’ll still have to pay the sole agent their fee, as well as the agent who actually sold it. As a rule, fees for sole agency can range between 1% and 2.5% of the sale price, with a tie-in period of up to eight weeks.

A multi-agency arrangement means several agents will have your property on their books, with the successful agency being granted the fee, which is usually in the region of 2.5% and 3.5% of the sale price. Sole agency is cheaper, but the net isn't cast as wide and there may be less chance of a quick sale. Multi-agency costs more, but means that your property will get more exposure, which increases the prospect of a quick sale.

Whichever you choose, now is the time to haggle. If one agent is more expensive than the others, see if you can get their price down.

6. Should you consider online estate agents?

An online estate agent can be a cheaper option, although they vary in terms of fees charged and services offered. Fees are usually paid up front, rather than when your property is sold, and they may charge to arrange and attend viewings.

7. Read the terms and conditions of the agreement

Make sure you're happy with all the small print before signing anything, and don't be afraid to ask questions. Check if there’s a time limit on the agreement, which would allow you to exit or make changes if you’re not happy. You should also look out for any hidden costs for things like photographs and putting up For Sale signs.

8. Review your agent's performance

After a few weeks for multi-agency, or towards the end of the tie-in period for sole agency, you should review your estate agent's performance. How many viewings have you had? Who from? How did they go? Has the agent been marketing the property and working as hard as you expect? If you've not had any viewings, or have had viewings but no offers, ask your estate agent for feedback. It could be that your property is priced too high, or that there’s a part of your home that needs sprucing up to encourage a sale.

Moneyfacts tip

Moneyfacts tip Image of Leanne Macardle

Don’t leave the mortgage search until the last minute. You’ll ideally want to know what your options are well in advance of actually finding your ideal home, as that way, you’ll know if you’ve got the finances to back up the purchase. Alongside finding the right estate agent, make sure to compare mortgages thoroughly, as the right deal could help keep your repayments as low as possible. Use our mortgage calculator to find out how much your repayments might be. 

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Disclaimer: This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts recommends you obtain independent financial advice.

first time buyer house key

At a glance

  • Get valuations from at least three estate agents, but don't be tempted to immediately go with the highest price tag
  • Ask around about estate agents and get recommendations from friends or family
  • Decide whether sole or multi-agency is the best option for you
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions

Moneyfactscompare.co.uk will never contact you by phone to sell you any financial product. Any calls like this are not from Moneyfacts. Emails sent by Moneyfactscompare.co.uk will always be from news@moneyfacts-news.co.uk. Be ScamSmart.

Moneyfactscompare.co.uk will never contact you by phone to sell you any financial product. Any calls like this are not from Moneyfacts. Emails sent by Moneyfactscompare.co.uk will always be from news@moneyfacts-news.co.uk. Be ScamSmart.