How To Find The Best High Street Estate Agents

How to find the best high street estate agents
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When it comes to selling your home, understanding how to find the best high street estate agents will be a crucial factor.

Based on our own experience, 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. This means you need to find out which high street estate agents are operating in your area.

While word-of-mouth from friends and family will be of huge help to find an agent, the right agent for them might not be the right one for you. That’s something to keep in mind.

So let’s get to it and learn how to find the best high street estate agents that are right for you. First you need to make a shortlist of potential estate agents to ask for a valuation. Here is what to look out for.

‘Best estate agents near me’

Best estate agents near me

The “best estate agent near me” function on Google is very useful, as it shows you which high street agents are local to your area. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best for you.

But in our experience, it’s a good place to start. It will give you a list of estate agents that have local offices in your area, so will know the local market.

We found this is the best way to start your shortlist of potential estate agents.

Which estate agent has sold the most properties?

The next step in our guide about how to find the best high street estate agents is to ask a simple question: 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 as a criterion to find the best agent.

We found that the best high street estate agents are the ones that got the most sales. That’s because it shows that they know how to promote a property and attract attention.

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 pay attention to the ‘For Sale’ boards of the estate agents who are selling homes in your neighbourhood.

When we sold our first home, we went with a high street estate agent because we noticed that this particular agent had a lot of “for sale” boards up in our area. After some research we found out that they were focused on our part of the city.

This meant they would know our local area very well, which gave them an edge over other agents we asked for a valuation. We asked a lot of questions about the way they advertise properties.

So put the most successful high street agent in your area on your shortlist. But that’s not all you need to look out for.

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Level of service

You also want an estate agent that is good with potential buyers. After all, the estate agent is the one dealing with buyer enquiries and price negotiations.

So 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.

We found that some estate agents can be pushy. With one of our homes we sold, we chose an estate agent that seemed to be a good salesman. However, when it came to dealing with potential buyers, he was very pushy.

One potential buyer was trying to decide whether to buy a big house for the family or two smaller houses. Their plan was to rent out one of the smaller houses to gain an extra income. In the end they decided to pursue their plan of buying two smaller houses.

But our agent said to them, and we know because he told us, to put in an offer anyway. This confused us, because they didn’t want to buy one big house. So any offer they would make would be way below our asking price which we couldn’t accept.

It was clear to us that he was only interested in getting offers and didn’t really look for the right buyer. In his mind, we assume, any buyer will do. Try to avoid estate agents like this, because they will put off potential buyers.

Only put estate agents on your shortlist that will treat potential buyers right.

What do they offer?

The next step in our guide about how to find the best high street estate agents is to look at what they offer as part of their service. From our experience, these are the things you want to have included:

  • A “for sale” board in front of your house
  • Your property listed on online portals, mainly Rightmove and Zoopla
  • Good quality photos of your property
  • Viewings undertaken by the agent – although we would recommend every seller to conduct their own viewings, many prefer these to be done by agents
  • Help with negotiating with potential buyers
  • Support with sales progression

Most of these things tend to be standard, but make sure that any estate agent you are considering will offer these.

You also want to find out how long they are open in the evenings and when they are available to show buyers around your property. Because this will give you an idea of how easy it will be for you and potential buyers to contact the agent.

But it will also show you when you might have to conduct your own viewings. Like in the evening or on Sundays, when most agents are closed.

It might also be worth finding out how big the agency is and how many people will have knowledge about your property. You want to make sure that whenever a potential buyer calls about your home, there will be somewhere there to give the right information.

What are their charges?

Another important factor for the question “how to find the best high street estate agents?” is price. You don’t want to overpay, after all.

Most high street estate agents will charge a percentage of the sales price. This means the higher the value of your home, the more you will have to pay in estate agent fees.

In our experience, this is a good pricing model if you are selling a lower value home. Because the fees won’t be too high, but the agents have an incentive to get you the highest price possible.

However, if you are selling a home with a higher value, then a pricing model where you pay a fixed fee might be the better option. This kind of pricing model is mostly used by online estate agents.

We would recommend that you also look at these, as you might be able to sell your house for less while still getting a similar level of service. We always get quotes from both high street and online estate agents.

Also pay attention to the extras you might be able to get. Some agents will have a standard package and a premium package. The latter tends to be more expensive, but you get services that you might want but don’t get with the standard package.

Only put estate agents on your shortlist that can offer you the right level of service that you require.

Book in a valuation

Now that you have a shortlist of possible estate agents, you need to book in a valuation with them all. In our experience, you should get a valuation from at least three different estate agents, but a few more won’t hurt either.

Why do you need to have so many valuations? Because you want to make sure you use one that will value your property accurately. It will also give you an idea of the value of your home.

If you have three to five valuations, here is the most likely scenario according to our experience: At least one will undervalue your property, because it means they will be able to sell it quickly. At least one will overvalue it, because they think it increases their chances to get the job.

The others will all be somewhere in the middle and probably agree with each other. These are the ones to listen to. The likelihood is they have valued your home accurately.

In our opinion, it’s also a good idea to check on Zoopla what your home is worth. This will give you a better idea of which estate agents know the market best.

Valuation is unreasonably high

If the valuation is unreasonably high then this should set alarm bells ringing in your mind. Why is the agent valuing your home at such a high price?

There are two options: the estate agent is inexperienced and doesn’t know the local market. Or they think by valuing your home higher than others, they are more likely to be hired. Neither option are good ones.

Even if you are tempted, what most likely will happen if you opt for the estate agent that gave you the highest valuation is that a few weeks after your house went on the market you will be reducing the price. So we wouldn’t recommend going with an estate agent that inflates the price of your home.

Ultimately, you want to have an estate agent, whether they are an online only offering or have a fancy office on the high street, that will sell you house quickly and at a price that will allow you to buy your next dream home.

Who is the cheapest estate agent?

cheapest estate agent

Estate agent fees can be quite high, so we understand if some people just want to look for the cheapest estate agent they can get.

But ask yourself: why are they so cheap? It could be because they only offer limited services. It might be that you have to pay extra if you want a “for sales” board or your property added to an online portal, like Rightmove or Zoopla.

We wouldn’t recommend going for an estate agent just because they are the cheapest, as this could mean your home is advertised as well as it could be and as result it takes longer to find a buyer.

The longer a property is on the market, the lower the chances that you get anywhere near the asking price. This means that you might have to settle for a lower price than you wanted.

How do I choose a good estate agent?

Now that you know how to find the best high street estate agents, let’s talk about how to choose the one that’s right for you. Here are the things to consider:

  • Property valuation – Did they value it appropriately without over- or undervaluing it?
  • Package – What can you expect to get from their packages?
  • Price – Is the price appropriate in terms of the services you will get?
  • Knowledge of area – Do they know your local area well?
  • House types they sell – Do they sell the type of home you have?
  • Number of recent sales – How many houses have they sold in your area in the recent months?
  • Marketing expertise – Where you convinced they have the know-how to sell you property

Once you have evaluated all the estate agents on your shortlist against these questions, you should be able to choose the right estate agent for you.

Also, it’s worth checking 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. This will give you peace of mind.

High street estate agents vs online estate agents

At this point we should really take a closer look at the potential of using online estate agents which are growing in popularity.

They are much cheaper than their high street estate agent rivals, and you will usually pay a fixed fee upfront. The package prices tend to vary quite a lot though, depending on the level of service.

You can see which ones we recommend and how they compare in our online estate agent reviews.

High street agents usually work on a percentage basis, this means you pay a certain percentage of the price your home sells for. But you tend to get more services than with online only agents. One typical thing you don’t tend to get with online agents is viewings undertaken by the agent.

However, there are also hybrid agents, such as Yopa, who offer the same level of service as high street agents but at a cheaper price. How is this possible? They don’t have physical offices, which reduces their overhead by a lot.

And these savings they can pass on to their customers in the form of lower prices. In our experience, a hybrid agent gives you the best of both worlds.

Essentially, when you put together a shortlist of estate agents, you should include online and hybrid agents and get them to value your home too.

Read the estate agent’s contract very carefully

Now that you know how to find the best high street estate agents, we have a final tip: 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.

Finding a high street agent is only the first step on the journey of selling your home, but an important one. So it’s worth investing some time to find the right one for you.

Enjoyed this article? You may also enjoy our article on the best questions to ask an estate agent when selling.

Authors

  • Steve Lumley

    Steve Lumley has years of experience writing about property. His output has covered everything from property investment, news for landlords and student tenants to articles on how to run a successful portfolio and starting out as a property investor. He has also written several books on the subject.

    View all posts
  • Paul James

    Paul James, is a marketing expert with a passion for property. As well as being a property investor, Paul has also worked within the marketing departments of some of the UK’s leading estate agents. Paul is the founder of Property Road.

    View all posts
3 Things Your Estate Agent Won't Tell You

3 Things Estate Agents Won't Tell You

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