Why picking the right estate agent can make house sales stress-free

Some estate agents specialise in specific types of properties. Photograph: Getty/iStock
Some estate agents specialise in specific types of properties. Photograph: Getty/iStock
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Selecting an estate agent can be a daunting task, especially when you’re trusting them to market what’s probably your most valuable asset.

Mark Hayward, chief executive, NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) Propertymark, says: “Working with a professional agent who has an in-depth understanding and appreciation for the local and regional marketplace will ensure your property is marketed effectively to the right buyers.

“Contrary to common thinking, not all agents are the same and some will be more effective than others so it’s important that you do your research.

“Picking the right estate agent to market your home can make the whole process run smoother, and also make a difference to the general experience – which should be a very positive one.”

NAEA Propertymark has outlined some factors to potentially consider before choosing an agent:

Make a shortlist

Start by creating a list of possible agents. Ask family, friends and neighbours for any recommendations. Some estate agents specialise in specific types of properties. Consider checking that the estate agent has taken attractive pictures of all the important features of the houses they are selling, perhaps by looking at other homes they are marketing on property websites.

Check industry credentials

Many estate agents are members of trade bodies which apply codes of conduct.

Ask questions and get a valuation

Once you have narrowed down a shortlist, arrange a visit to their office to meet them face-to-face. This is a good time to determine if they are friendly, professional and knowledgeable. Following this, contact a few different agents to provide a valuation and marketing strategy individually for your property and ask them what their advice is for a successful sale. They should be able to provide some local comparisons and reasons to justify the price they have come up with. Ask lots of questions and make a mental note of the agent’s punctuality, politeness, knowledge of the process and management of your expectations.

What are their fees?

Now, it’s time to look carefully at the nitty-gritty of the contract and the agent’s fees. As with any contract, check what you are paying for and what is not included. To avoid unexpected costs, don’t sign anything that you don’t understand and make sure to ask about anything that’s not clear.

See what kind of service is offered

Don’t be afraid of asking lots of questions about the service offered. This includes finding out how easy it will be to get hold of your agent, and how often they will update you on their progress. As a seller, you need to be fully involved and informed.

Find an agent you can trust

Finally, as a home owner, having an estate agent that you believe in is a must. Whether through local word of mouth, testimonial or internet reviews, start off on a good foot with an estate agent you feel confident in, and who you feel understands your needs.