How to choose an Estate Agent...

Andrew Gilchrist, Frosts

Andrew Gilchrist, Frosts - Credit: Archant

When they all look roughly the same how do you choose an Estate Agent? Most people will make a short list and ask a few to look at their home, as the custom amongst agents is to offer free appraisals, but what then? Here’s a few handy hints from an insider’s viewpoint.

Firstly, try to avoid choosing either on the valuation price offered or the fees on their own; I would encourage sellers to be wary of Estate Agents who appear to tempt customers in with a high valuation as quite often they’ll try to talk that down later. I believe a professional agent should be able to support their valuation by providing examples, a track record of similar properties they have sold.

Secondly, I would encourage homeowners not to rely totally on an Estate Agent to determine the price; there is a wealth of information available on all the property portals especially Zoopla and Rightmove about sold prices, as well as “desk top” valuations and of course what else is currently available which might represent your competition for a buyer. It is important you are well informed and also realistic about the value of your own home, as correct pricing is the key to a successful sale.

As to fees – like everyone else you will want a good deal – but I’m not sure the cheapest is always the best value – how many of us would shop for a car, a holiday or a restaurant on this basis? A professional and skilled agent can influence the price achieved and minimise the inevitably stressful moving process and that’s worth paying a little more for.

I look for first class marketing, it is important to attract the maximum number of people to view your home; professional photography and quality property advertising are essential. Check out the standard you can expect from Frost’s and others on their websites, Rightmove and in the local Herts Advertiser.

Another tip is to look for an established brand, with a good market share; this means they will have access to buyers looking for a property just like yours. And of course, one thing that cannot be underestimated is simply choosing a professional agent you get on with – after all you’ll be spending a lot of time with them! How to test this… pose as a buyer and see how you get treated!

You and your agent should be able to work together as a team with Estate Agent very much in the role as project manager; so having selected an agent, you can collaborate and start to consider the timing of your sale and how to market your property, whether to go for an open day or individual appointments, as well as help getting you legally and financially prepared for the next

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Frost’s can offer you friendly, reliable and professional advice on all of this but whoever you choose I wish you the very best for your next move.