Choosing an Estate Agent or Lettings Agent
Managing the sale or rental of your own property can be a complex and stressful process, which is why most of us still choose to use an estate agent. An estate agent will typically make your house sale or letting a far smoother process, but you're still faced with the task of choosing which agent to trust with your transaction. Choosing the right agent is a crucial step on the road to a trouble-free sale or letting.
Your estate agent needs to fully understand what you want and expect from them during the sale process. As part of this the agent will need to come to a valuation of your property that you are happy with, but which also holds water in the marketplace as a whole. Sometimes this is a delicate balancing act as many homeowners start the process with an inflated view of their property's value.
It is highly desirable that your estate agent has excellent and well-developed negotiation skills and that these are combined with an open and sympathetic personality with a sprinkling of charisma. If your agent has a good mix of personality and professionalism it could pay dividends in the form of a quicker sale and/or a higher price. Ask yourself: "would I buy a house from this person?". If there is any doubt about your answer to that question then you are probably courting the wrong agents.
Advertising is a ubiquitous part of our everyday lives and plays an essential part in selling all kinds of products and services. The same principle applies to the sale of your house. As well as great inter-personal skills your agent needs to have a professional and comprehensive grip on the world of advertising. Make sure they can offer multiple advertising opportunities across multiple advertising channels. Advertising your house sale is the core of the agent's business, so make sure they are doing it properly. Check that they have a coherent advertising plan and ask them to explain it fully. Don't just examine the advertising channels that they've chosen to use, ask them about the channels they're not using and get the reasons why they've rejected them.
Whichever estate agent you finally decide to employ, there will be a fee involved in the transaction. Evaluate the fees of different agents carefully as a higher fee does not necessarily mean a better service. Take some time to check the reviews of customers that have already used the agent's service as this will put their published fees into a proper perspective.
It's worth trying to negotiate the fee, especially if the housing market is a bit slow. Fee negotiation is always easier with local independent agents rather than national chains. But don't be too hard in your negotiations, remember you still need the agent to be enthusiastic and thorough in chasing your sale to a completion.
Look at the business history of the agents on your short-list and highlight any that have seen growth in the last few years. It's been quite a hard time financially for everyone, so if they have expanded their business during this time they are clearly doing things really well.
Article by Melvyn Fickling
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