Any property owner considering selling to a first-time buyer is strongly advised to focus on all the unfinished maintenance and refurbishment projects before calling in an estate agent.
One estate agents reports that one property seller said “a buyer wouldn’t mind finishing off” the work he left for them.
When those outstanding jobs are finished to a professional standard, it may be tempting to pick the estate agent with the lowest fees or the one you remember when you bought your first house.
But a better option is to base your choice of agent on the following factors:
- Their website. Does it look professional and contain details of the firm’s membership of professional bodies?
- How attentive the estate agent staff were when you first made contact with the office.
- The quality of the agent’s sales brochures.
- Information on third-party property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla.
If cost is an important in your choice of agent, get the firm to tell you’re their fees over the phone.
Treat your first visit to an estate agent’s office like a job interview and make sure that you ask all the questions you require answers to, such as cost and average time on the market for similar properties.
You will find it easier if you have a list of questions prepared beforehand. That list should include the following:
1 What houses like mine have you sold recently?
2 How do you see the market activity over the next few months?
3 What hours does the office remain open?
4 Will you be doing accompanied viewings?
5 Which websites will my property be advertised on?
6 Will you include a floorplan within the listing?
7 Will I be able to approve the sales brochure before my property goes on the market?
8 Are there any upfront or non-refundable charges with your estate agency?
9 What can I do to improve the saleability of my property?
10 How often will you contact me to discuss the progress of my home sale?
11 How much should I expect to achieve for my house and what asking price would you recommend that we start with?
12 How much will you charge me? If it is a percentage fee, is it based on the final selling price?
Although this list is extensive, the good news is that if you choose the right estate agent then they will answer most of these queries before you will even ask them.
Once your property is on the market, you can sit back and let the estate agent get on with finding viewers and preparing the ground for a sale.
But it is your responsibility to make sure all the hard work in preparation for selling the house is complete. After that, make sure the estate agent continues doing what they promised you.