Thu 02 Nov 2017
Lee Whitelock, Director MNAEA
How to choose an estate agent?
Selling a home is probably one of the most significant transactions you’ll ever undertake, and letting your property can be equally stressful, so how do you go about picking an estate agent you can trust?
Historically estate agents haven’t enjoyed the finest of reputations, but in recent years, thanks to codes of practice introduced by industry bodies such as the NAEA and ARLA for their members, along with increased competition and online reviews, agents have been forced to up their game. Visiting the NAEA or ARLA websites and checking out review websites are therefore both good places to start looking for an agent in your area.
Personal recommendations are also invaluable. Ask around locally among people who have sold or rented recently to find out how a particular agent has performed. If you don’t know anyone to ask, once you’ve shortlisted a few agents, approach them for references. A good agent should have a long list of satisfied customers only too happy to vouch for them. Choosing a local agent is crucial as they’re likely to have a list of waiting buyers and tenants, along with in-depth knowledge of the area and the prices that are achievable in the current market. Don’t forget to check out their track record to ensure they have achieved lots of recent sales and rentals.
These days most people start their property searches online, so it’s also vital to choose an agent that utilises all the main property portals and boosts their online presence by taking premium property listings and extra advertising. Also look out for agents that use a professional photographer, which is essential for showing off your property in the best possible light.
Finally, nothing beats meeting an estate agent face-to-face. You will instantly know if you can trust them and, most importantly, don’t fall into the trap of being wooed by the agent offering you the highest valuation. Instead, look for concrete evidence to prove they can achieve their valuation. Remember, an agent without good local area knowledge and concrete comparables is likely to be chancing their arm.