6 key questions for your Estate Agent

Posted on Thursday, October 31, 2019

1. What's the fee?

Estate agents usually charge a percentage of the final agreed selling price. The exact percentage will depend on the type of contract you choose. Clearly, you’ll want a low fee - but bear in mind that what counts is value. What’s the point of paying an outrageously low percentage if the service you get is no good?

2. Are there any add-on costs?

Ask if there are any other charges. Does the fee include a For Sale Board? Additional fees for 360-degree photos? Floorplans? All these marketing costs should be included in the % fee.

At this stage, a good agent swill mention the EPC. Legally, you have to at least applied to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) conducted before putting your house on the market. They last for 10 years, so it could be that your old one is still valid. If not, ask the Estate Agent how much they can provide one for.  It's often cheaper to arrange one for yourself.

3. How will you market my property? 

This is where high street agents really earn their corn. It’s where their local knowledge and experience comes to the fore.  Compare the performance of local estate agents in your area by using the handy online estateagent4me tool. This compares the performance of different agents in your area – their success rate, how long they take to sell properties like yours and their likelihood of achieving the asking price.

These days, you’d expect, at a bare minimum, that they’d advertise with Rightmove and Zoopla.

Recently, new property portals have appeared, such as OnTheMarket. So, you’ll need to ask

Which portal will my home be advertised on and when?

Agents advertising your home with OnTheMarket will probably put it on the site – which receives 23.5 million visitors – for a minimum of 24 hours first before putting it onto Rightmove or Zoopla.  So be aware you will be missing out on the larger market of people searching on Rightmove (140 million visitors a month) and Zoopla (58 million a month).

4. What type of contract will I have to sign? 

There are different types of contract - each with its benefits and drawbacks. Make sure you know what they are and choose carefully

- Sole selling rights – If your contract gives the agent “sole selling rights” then think carefully before signing. The estate agent in the contract is the only one allowed to sell your home during the period stipulated. You’ll be obliged to pay that estate agent, even if you find your own buyer.

- Ready, willing and able purchaser – Do not accept this! It means you have to pay the agent for finding a buyer, even if you decide not to sell.

- Multi-agency – You can use as many agents as you like and only pay commission to the one who sells your property. The more agents you get working for you, the more potential buyers you’ll reach, and potentially the higher the offers you will get – but you’ll pay much higher fees.

- Sole agency – This is the same as sole selling but if you find your own buyer, you won’t have to pay anything to the estate agent. If the contract is open-ended, the agent might be able to claim commission, even years after the contract is over (see below).

5. Does your contract include a tie-in period?

Lots of estate agents, even the well-known high street brands, include a tie-in period. But if you end up not getting on with them or become unhappy with their service, you’ll want to terminate the contract.  Make sure your contract gives you the flexibility to terminate without a penalty (the term you are looking for is “no withdrawal fee”). If you’re unhappy with your agent, then, of course, look elsewhere.   If there’s a tie-in period, make sure it’s not for longer than 4-6 weeks (including your notice period).

What happens if we have a disagreement?

We sometimes hear of sellers being bullied by their agents to accept a sale price or buyer they’re uncomfortable with. So make sure your wishes are respected from the very start.

If things do go wrong and you find you need to resolve a dispute with your estate agent, you should contact either The Property Ombudsman or the Property Redress Scheme.

So - there you have it. Six questions to ask any Estate Agent who wants to be chosen to sell your home. Needless to say, we take our customers and their properties seriously. We base our business on trust and integrity. We’re confident that we can answer all six questions to your satisfaction.

Why not get in touch and find out for yourself?

Call us - 0121 7054040

Or send us an email - privilege@simonburthomes.co.uk

Or call in. The kettle’s always on -
Malvern House
New Road
West Midlands
B91 3DL