Five Questions to Make Sure You Ask when You’re Choosing an Estate Agent
Five Questions you Should ask when Choosing an Estate Agent
For most of us, our home is our biggest financial asset and choosing the right estate agent to entrust the sale of your home to is crucial if you want to get the best possible price for your property.
If you’re thinking of selling a property in Edinburgh or the Lothians, here are some top questions to ask potential agents to help you avoid making a costly mistake.
What makes you different or better?
The service that solicitor estate agents offer varies wildly so you should make sure to ask what makes each agent better than their competition. For example, some agents are not able to advertise through ESPC – by far our biggest source of buyer enquiries – whilst others don’t advertise through Rightmove and Zoopla.
You’ll want to check if each agent is available at weekends so they can quickly respond to viewing enquiries, whether they offer virtual tours to allow you to target buyers living further afield, and what they can do to promote your home through additional channels like social media.
If you’re also looking to buy, find out if each agent has a dedicated purchase team, and make sure to check that your solicitor estate agent is on the panel of all of the major lenders to avoid additional costs or hassle when it comes to buying your new home.
What will your marketing strategy be for my property?
Some agents will wax lyrical and at great length about the quality of the photographers they use and their sales brochures. Whilst these things are important, taking good pictures then listing your home on a few property websites is not a well thought through or comprehensive marketing strategy that will help you achieve the best price for your property.
A good marketing strategy involves knowing who the target market is going to be for your property and what measures can be used to best to reach and appeal to them. For example, if your home is likely to be of interest to investors then a 360 Virtual Tour is essential, while if you’re looking to market to younger families then a well-timed social media campaign could gain invaluable additional exposure.
Is the agent able to offer staging to tips to help ensure that your property is looking its best, both for photography and for when viewers come calling, to allow you to make a great first impression? Some small decorative changes can make a big difference to the price that your home achieves. If the property is unfurnished, would the agent recommend dressing the property or using ‘virtual staging’, and are these services that they can offer.
A good agent should also be able to give you an indication of the level of competition that you are likely to face from similar properties in your area. If competition is high, an enhanced listing on the major property portals can be a great way of helping your home to stand out from the crowd.
Is there anything else that I’ll need that you haven’t quoted me for?
You might find that some agents leave certain services or outlays out of their initial quote then add on ‘hidden extras’ once you have agreed to use them. Things like a Home Report, photography and conveyancing fees may not always be in the first quote that you see but they are an integral part of selling a property. If you are also buying, make sure that they provide you a figure for the Land & Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) that you will have to pay, even if this is just based on an initial estimate of your likely purchase price.
Make sure that you know exactly what is and is not included in each quote so that you are comparing apples to apples when you look at the quotes from different agents.
What is your track record in this area?
As important as it is to know exactly what service you will be receiving, and what you will have to pay them, ultimately the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
When you’re speaking to agents, ask them if they have sold similar properties in your area and what the result of those sales was. When were the sales, how long did the properties they sold spend on the market, did they manage to get to a closing date, what was the final price achieved and how did this compare to the Home Report valuation?
Ideally you should look to get details of multiple sales to make sure that they aren’t just cherry-picking one especially successful result that they have had.
What have you based the valuation of my property on?
If the valuation that an agent puts on your property appears too good to be true, then it often is. There are agents that will look to offer an inflated valuation of your property to help secure your business. Once your home is on the market they will try to talk you into lowering the price if buyer interest is low which, if the property is overvalued, it inevitably will be.
Don’t be afraid to ask the potential agents to show the evidence they used in terms of recent sales to arrive at their valuation, especially if that valuation seems out of line with either your expectations or what other agents are quoting.
If you’re thinking of selling and you’ve got any questions, feel free to contact Warners today on 0131 662 4747, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our team will be delighted to help.