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Picking an estate agent to handle a quick sale..our top six tips..

There are lots of things to watch out for when picking an estate agent. You may think you already know best. For you that might mean leaving all the detail to your estate agent. But since you’re here….

Here are our top tips to avoid shooting yourself in the foot …

One - pay for the level of service you need

In any market, when it comes to services, you get what you pay for…. Yes fees are an important part of picking an estate agent. And yes, estate agents’ fees are negotiable. But you should be looking for value for money.

You must consider the level of fees in relation to the effort and care required to sell you house quickly, at a realistic price. Pay careful attention to the marketing tactics the agent is going to use to get the word around that your house is on the market.

Two - stay in control by reading the small print

Pay attention to the details in the agent's draft contract. Critically, don’t get into a contract specifying your agent has ‘sole selling rights’. Limit the time period of the initial contract to six weeks or less (depending on how quickly you want to sell).

Three - three heads may not be better than one

Opting for the multi-agency route may not bring you more buyers and can result in chaos. Your agents may be less motivated to help. And whatever you do, don’t use more than three agents. It signals desperation to the market place, and just think of all the co-ordination....Which brings me nicely to ….

In a market with strong demand and relatively short supply going the multi agency route may not be worth while. Joint agency can work well if the agents get on. You’d be surprised…

One branch manager of a national chain recently said to me “we don’t speak to other agents” – a comment hardly likely to inspire confidence. On the other hand one of the agents we like working with, goes out of their way to suggest other agents they work well with…. Perhaps not quite make or break but why create problems?

Owners can be squeamish about making sufficient sets of keys available. Who needs cancelled or rearranged viewings while agents play cat and mouse trying to track them down..

Four - don’t pick style over substance

While the agent’s ‘big guns’ may be responsible for carrying out valuations they may not play much of a day to day role in the sale of your house. To some extent it depends on the size and structure of the agency..

On a personal note (and this is where our own prejudices kick in..) we tend to stick with ‘old school’ style agents…and side-step the young, flashy brigade (who may never have bought a house!). Who needs a dose of ‘buyer remorse’?

Five - communication, communication, communication

Want a quick sale? Then agree how and how often your estate agent is going to stay in touch with you. Ask for honest feedback at every stage: From quizzing the estate agent over their first impressions of your home to getting prompt input after viewings and sound advice on the quality of offers and prospective buyers.

Six - don’t be swayed by the numbers (too much)

Separate the estate agents’ valuations from your individual impressions of the agents themselves. You’d be unwise to exceed any of the valuation figures, true...If your preferred agent comes up with one of the lower valuations then speak to them about the merits of testing the market with a higher asking price. If, as we advise, you also do your own valuation, then your comments should be on firm ground. But do listen to the agent’s wise counsel.

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