Here are 11 questions to ask estate agents to help you choose the best professional for you. In these challenging and uncertain times, a quality agent will make all the difference in terms of selling price, time, customer service and peace of mind.
We all want good value for money but choosing your estate agent based on price only needs to be carefully considered. It’s not all about fees, it’s about the service too. Interview at least 2 or 3 estate agents. Ask them what you get for that price, compare and choose which works best for you. Estate agents can offer different services for the same price.
Do not get fooled by the number of properties an agency currently has in its books. It’s easy to list properties, it’s another thing to sell them… Here are 11 essential questions to ask when interviewing estate agents. They won’t expect it and you will be able to see which one you can trust best.
1. DO YOU OFFER AN EASY EXIT CONTRACT WITHOUT CANCELLATION FEES IF I AM NOT ENTIRELY SATISFIED WITH YOUR SERVICE?
The average length of a contract is 16 weeks – 4 months – and the majority of estate agencies today do not offer any exit without cancellation fees. This means that if they don’t deliver on their promise, you are stuck with them while your local market values may continue to decline. They are not accountable to you in any way and they may be too busy selling other properties rather than focus on yours. Negotiate an easy exit clause to leverage your satisfaction. They’ll take your happiness much more seriously.
2. WHEN ARE YOU AVAILABLE AND WHAT IS YOUR COMMUNICATION GUARANTEE?
How frustrating it is to call your agent and get no response or have no idea of what they’re doing for you? Communication and proactivity are paramount. How quickly do they return buyers or tenants enquiries? How easy are they to reach? Do they work on weekends to show properties?
3. WILL YOU CALL WEEKLY TO DISCUSS MARKETING STRATEGIES AND VIEWINGS FEEDBACK?
After listing properties, many agents will “disappear”, giving you no clue about what they actually do for you every day or every week. How much time will they dedicate to your property every day? Will they give you feedback after every viewing? How often will they update you on their progress?
4. WILL YOU DEAL WITH MY PROPERTY PERSONALLY OR WILL I BE DEALING WITH ASSISTANTS?
It is easier to deal with only one experienced agent from A to Z for better communication flow and to avoid loss of information.
5. WILL MY PROPERTY BE LISTED ON ALL RELEVANT PORTALS?
6. WHAT IS YOUR INTERNET / SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING STRATEGY?
Do you know that very few estate agencies do use social media to its full potential? Facebook alone represents an audience of millions of people of all ages, and not just young people. The portals expose your property to “active” buyers, those who are currently actively searching regularly on the portals. Social media allows you to reach “passive” buyers, those who do not go on the portals but who would buy if they came across the “right” property. The more people view your advert, the more chances you have to attract the right buyers. And social media has also the advantage of targeting specific audiences based on keywords… which is not possible on the portals.
7. DO YOU USE PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS AND FLOOR PLANNERS?
A professional photographer costs in average £80. Is your agent willing to invest at least that to present your home in its best light? If he cuts corners there, you can expect he will cut corners elsewhere. Make sure a floor plan is also prepared, buyers want to see as much as relevant information as possible before making any enquiry. Pictures are the first thing to catch buyers attention and it is well know that a picture is worth a 1000 words. Make sure your home is cleaned, decluttered and looks its best before the photographer comes!
8. DO YOU CHARGE ANY ADDITIONAL FEES?
Always best to ask in advance. Some cheap commissions can hide lots of hidden extra fees…
9. DO YOU HAVE A MARKETING PLAN THAT EXPOSES MY HOME TO OTHER AGENTS BUYERS?
As a property finder, I am always amazed when I approach a fellow estate agent, ask him if he would consider sharing his fee with me if I brought him a solid buyer and he turns me down. Ask your estate agent what they would do in that case. A good estate agent would understand that it is in YOUR best interest and it would help you selling maybe earlier than expected for a higher price. By sharing fees, estate agents should motivate other local agents to help out and send additional buyers. This maximises your chance of success. In this current market, this works wonders.
10. ARE YOU SKILLED AT NEGOTIATIONS?
Unfortunately there are certain estate agents who just want to sell your property at any price –they just want to make a deal, get paid and move on. It’s all a mindset. A good estate agent who knows the value of your property should work hard to get you that little extra in terms of sellingbe surprised how many times selling agents have told me for how much cheaper I could buy the property I was interested in… without me asking!
11. DO YOU PROVIDE A TRANSACTION MANAGEMENT COORDINATION SERVICE TO PROTECT MY TRANSACTION AND ASSIST IN COMPLETING THE SALE?
You have received an offer, fantastic, now what? It’s not plain sailing after that unfortunately and one third of transactions in the UK fall through, costing millions of Pounds wasted in legal fees. Your agent should still be by your side and ease the communication between you and your buyer, it’s a lengthy process and communication via solicitors can be fairly limited. His job should only be over after completion.
“Remember, what matters is the individual serving you. Not so much the name of the estate agency. You can read HERE here how my personal service helps you.”