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Using estate agents to sell your house quickly


Estate agents are the traditional route for selling houses in the UK, and are ideally suited to those sellers who:

  • would like to sell their house in less than six months or
  • have no fixed time frame to adhere to or
  • want to keep their own involvement down to a minimum or
  • have not yet found a house they’d like to buy or
  • have a property which will command a premium



We talk you through the critical steps of:

√ Getting your home looking good
√ Short listing estate agents
√ Choosing an estate agent
√ Reviewing your estate agent's contract
√ Fast sale tactics your estate agent can use
√ Hiring a solicitor
√ Establish the selling price
√ Marketing your house
√ Managing viewings
√ Choosing the best house buyer
√ Getting the most out of your agent
√ What to do when things go wrong

TipIn a sellers’ market where there is great demand from buyers the condition of your property matters less in terms of speed of sale or final sale price. But in a slower market it is more likely to add ££££s to the final sale price.

Also get your solicitor on board as early as possible. This means getting your house conveyancing off to a flying start. If nothing else ask your solicitor to cast his or her eyes over your estate agent's contract or agreement.

If you're really in a hurry..hit the ground running with our Six Top Tips for picking an estate agent to handle a quick sale.


So get ready to roll up your sleeves and your house can be a house buyer magnet..OK, you can get-someone-in if you must..Need inspiration? Splut is a good place to start.

If your property is one of many similar properties in your area you may have to wait some time for the right buyer to come along. Much depends on the local market. Ex-local authority properties can be problematic too depending on construction and location. In some locations there is strong demand from investors and/or first time buyers.

But the fact is some properties do sell more quickly than others. Your house could be one of them - the good news is that you can influence the time it takes for your house to sell. It is worth taking time to get your house looking good before contacting agents. After all estate agents are human too. Home staging techniques can be helpful.


Finding the best estate agents

All things being equal your property will attract a better class of buyer if you deal with one of the ‘posher’ agencies in your area. And of course have a word with friends and family to see if they can recommend local agents.

Look out for:

  • estate agents that have their own website as well as using a Multi Listing Service such as Rightmove
  • the kind of service you get when posing as a buyer
  • what their office is like and the quality of their written listings
  • their visibility in the local market
  • fee levels and selling strategies

    Need help finding agents in your area? Or want to speed the process up? Estate Angels runs a free service for homebuyers in the UK, allowing buyers to contact all estate agents in their area in one go. It works for sellers too. Just select the Selling/Buying option.

    Many estate agents listings are very generic so any attempt to make listings distinctive should be welcomed. You want to aim to short-list three agents to value your home. Or rather, more accurately, suggest the level of asking price.

    Also remember that estate agents' fees are negotiable - especially when new instructions are in short supply. Fees start at 1% for high street agents but can be three times that level and more. Whatever fee level you're looking at you'll want to know what your agent will do to earn their commission.

    If you're working to a tight budget consider using one of the new breed of online estate agents. Your short-listed estate agents will make an appointment to view your property. Don’t treat these meetings casually. It’s your opportunity to assess the quality of each agent. With your objective of getting a quick sale firmly in mind, it’s essential you're prepared for the meetings. Choosing estate agents with a quick sale in mind, means you have to be armed with some probing questions. Don't let the agent do all the talking!


    This is where we now make a plea. Please don't take your estate agent's valuation as "cast in stone". Do your own research too..It important to understand why house valuations can be on the high-side. There's no harm in trying to arrive at your own house valuation too, if you have the time and inclination.


    Estate agents' contracts - read the small print

    Your estate agent's draft contract should (must) include reference to some key features of your agreement. Estate agents' contracts are full of small print. Make sure all your queries are clarified to your satisfaction.

    If you want a quick sale a key point to consider is how long you want the contract to run for. But do take account of background issues such as the state of the market and how competitvely you have priced your house. A number of things work together to make a quick sale more likely.

    You will also find that your estate agent's contract contains some unfamiliar terms such as 'sole agency'. Some types of contract such as those with sole selling rights clauses are best avoided if you want a fast sale. And a sale that doesn't damage your bank balance.

    Finally, the fees. The system of commission based fees for UK estate agents is generally well understood. But you must know in advance if your estate agent's fees are fully inclusive, and if not, what additional costs are involved and what for.


    Getting the most out of your agent

    Sales negotiators are paid by commission.Within any estate agency branch the sales negotiators working for a manager will be in competition with one another. Incentives are the name of the game!

    You're aiming to have regular contact with your agent – agree at the outset the frequency / form of communication between you. But how do you encourage your agent go that extra mile to get the quick sale you need?

    Over and above the influence a good relationship can give you there are a couple of other tactics property professionals sometimes use which you may want to try. These broadly fall into the category of ‘incentives’ or special marketing strategies aimed at helping you to get a faster house sale. In a slow market or when you need to sell your house quick these can make a difference.

    Tactics to try include asking the branch manger whether it’s acceptable to offer a case of champagne / wine to the negotiator who sells your house. You can also consider offering some form of financial incentive related to the price of your house. If the agency fee is 1% try offering 1.5% if they manage to secure an asking price sale within a certain period of time.

    A word of caution... These tactics can backfire if negotiators become motivated to encourage low offers. So make sure you can decline the offer – just in case the would-be purchaser is unable to move quickly or the offer is unaceptably low.


    Choosing the best house buyer

    Your agent should be well versed about the kind of buyer you are looking for - you'll have talked about this when firming up arrangements for your sale. Your estate agent (and possibly a financial adviser working for them) will qualify your propective buyers. So in theory you have less work to do than if you are selling privately. That's the theory.

    But you'll want to take an active interest if you want a quick sale to make sure your buyer's circumstances match your own. Our 'best buyers' section, written for people selling privately, covers this ground in detail. It's written by insiders who talk to buyers every day. Finding the best house buyers is not straightforward. It may not be the person who offers you the highest price!


    What to do when things go wrong

    Hopefully you'll enjoy a good working relationship with your agent and you'll be able to sell your house quickly. However problem house sales are not uncommon and a quick sale may not happen as expected. The most common issues are that a house 'sticks' on the market, your buyer pulls out or you find yourself on the receiving end of a broken property chain.

    Don't expect your estate agent to fix the problem on their own. Instead help them to come up with a solution to fix your house selling problems.

    But some house sales do seem cursed. We know of one flat locally that had three buyers pull out.

    Selling through estate agents doesn't suit everybody. There are alternatives if you need a fast or more certain sale.


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