When it comes to selling your home, understanding how to find the best high street estate agents will be a crucial factor.
Here, we will offer the advice you need to find a traditional estate agent to sell your home and move on to your next dream property.
There are a number of steps you will need to take and it’s important that you do your homework first – and this might mean searching online with the term, ‘Best estate agents UK’.
While word-of-mouth from friends and family will be of huge help to find an agent, it’s always worth checking for other online recommendations and also visiting an online portal, such as Zoopla, to find out what your property is worth and which agents sell homes in your area.
This last point is really important because some estate agents are better at selling some types of properties than others.
It’s always worthwhile looking at the property types they have for sale and asking them what types of properties they have sold recently – and whether they went for the asking price.
Which estate agent has sold the most properties?
Do not be shy about asking an agent about how many properties they have sold – you are entering a business transaction and paying them to do a job so it makes sense to use the question, ‘Which estate agent has sold the most properties?’ as criteria to find the best agent.
You can use our tool below to answer 4 quick questions and discover which are the best-performing agents in your area:
You should also notice the ‘For Sale’ boards of the estate agents who are selling homes in your neighbourhood and it’s potentially worth the time posing as a buyer to see how a potential estate agent will deal with you as a prospective buyer – this is a great way to compare estate agents and their customer service levels.
The next step is to put together a shortlist of estate agents and don’t forget that you should be looking at both established high street agents plus online estate agencies.
You also need to speak with the agents that you believe will deal with your type of property and the price bracket you are hoping for.
Basically, it’s pointless speaking with a high-end estate agent if you’ve got a terraced house for sale, and you’ll need to have a shortlist of at least three agents.
How do I choose a good estate agent?
When visiting a high street agent to see whether you should sign up with them, you’ll need to appreciate:
- Is their office clean?
- Is there enough staff working there?
- Are the staff enthusiastic and friendly?
- More importantly, how will they market your property?
It’s this issue of marketing that is increasingly important because you’ll want a professional firm of estate agents with a lot of experience and who know how to market your property to potential buyers.
They’ll need to advertise your home on leading property portals, including Rightmove and Zoopla, and it will help if they already have a mailing list of potential buyers as well.
Also, it’s worth asking if they are a member of a professional estate agency body, for example, the National Association of Estate Agents as these will have a redress scheme should you have a complaint.
During any conversation with a high street estate agency, you’ll need to gauge whether they know your area well and have experience previously in selling properties just like yours – it would be great if there were official estate agent performance tables to make this easier but this information isn’t available (though some sites do monitor the situation).
‘Best estate agents near me’
Essentially, you’re looking for an estate agent to be honest when they are dealing with you and also when dealing with potential buyers though you may simply be looking for the ‘best estate agents near me’ to find a firm who will sell your home quickly.
If you are reassured that they are trustworthy, then you need to find out how long they are open in the evenings and when they are available to show buyers around your property – and will these viewings be accompanied?
You can also gauge how good your agent is when they come round to value your property and this is an opportunity to ask more questions.
If you have not received clear answers previously, then you can ask for more details about their track record on achieving the asking price and how they have come to their valuation of your home.
Also, will they be sharing your property’s details with colleagues, so there is more than one person who can talk with knowledge about it.
We should also highlight that you should never be fooled by an estate agent who decides that your home is worth much more than you thought – as agents will acknowledge, the valuation is one of the reasons why a client will sign up with them.
Valuation is unreasonably high
If the valuation is unreasonably high then this may be a situation where you sign up, believing you will achieve this asking price but then find that when a buyer begins negotiations, this price will not be realised.
Since selling a home can be a traumatic experience, it’s important that the estate agency you choose is a good match for your needs.
Don’t be taken in by their slick advertising or promises and you may need to rely on gut instinct and a favourable selling record to make your decision.
Ultimately, you need to appreciate that the estate agent, whether they are an online only offering or have a fancy office on the high street, is working for you.
The agent on the high street is working for a commission so you are, as a property seller, in a strong position when dealing with a potential agency and if they don’t sell your home, then they will not get paid.
This also means that when a buyer makes an offer that you shouldn’t be pressured by the agent to accept it because this is a decision that only you can make. If you feel the offer is too low, then say so and ask them to ask for more or find another buyer.
Who is the cheapest estate agent?
Finally, you may simply be searching for ‘Who is the cheapest estate agent?’ and will be happy to find one that offers a great, cheap deal.
It’s important to remember the estate agent will be paid a percentage of the selling price, which can range from 0.75% to 3% plus VAT – don’t forget to add the VAT element when working out how much the agent will really cost to help give you a true sense of what their service is really costing you.
And if your home is, for example, worth more than £500,000, you may find the estate agent is willing to accept a lower commission than they advertise.
It’s also worth appreciating that agents will be working hard for their commission so if you opt for the cheapest estate agent and don’t find a buyer – you’ll need to find an agent with the experience and knowledge who will be able to sell your home and pay the price for this expertise.
High street estate agents vs online estate agents
It’s at this point that we should really take a closer look at the potential of using online estate agents which are growing in popularity.
While they are much cheaper than their high street estate agent rivals, you will usually pay a fixed fee upfront and the package prices will vary hugely.
There are online agents offering a service for as little as £300 which is paid upfront and others will offer payment on completion, which usually cost more.
While their packages vary, for example, you may need to pay extra to have accompanied viewings, you should also look at the reviews and how long they will take to sell a property.
Essentially, when you put together a shortlist of estate agents, you should include online agents and get them to value your home which will then provide you with a better idea of what the asking price really should be.
Read the estate agent’s contract very carefully
And you should also read the estate agent’s contract very carefully – if there’s anything in the paperwork you do not understand then it’s important that you ask for clarification. If you are unhappy with the contract, then do not sign it.
The best high street estate agents are being paid to do a job – and they need to sell your home to make a living – so it’s worth the effort to check after signing up to see what they are doing for you and whether you will achieve the asking price within a reasonable timescale.
Enjoyed this article? You may also enjoy our article on the best questions to ask an estate agent when selling.