Selling your home is pretty stressful. Your property is probably one of the most expensive things you own, and often the amount you make on your sale will have an impact on future financial decisions too. You might be selling to move into your dream home, or to release equity to help your children out financially. Ensuring you’ve got the best price can make all the difference.
Estate agent fees are probably the highest cost you’ll encounter when selling, so how can you be sure you’re getting the best value for money? In this article we share our tips on how to find estate agents that’s worth their fee.
Experience is Everything
Many estate agents charge a similar amount for what appears to be essentially the same service. How can you tell which agent is actually the best?
Knowing what experience an estate agent has is the best way to figure out if they’re worth the money or not. The best insight will come from researching the following three areas:
How an estate agent has performed in the past is a pretty strong indicator of how well they’ll perform in the future.
When deciding which agent to work with take a look at their track record. How long does it usually take for them to sell a property? How often do they end up reducing the asking price?
This sort of information can provide accurate insight into an estate agent’s ability to value and market a property. Those with the best track records are the most likely to get you the best price for your property.
Local estate agents will know all the best features of your area, and will be able to use this to sell your property to potential buyers. If a family comes to look round, they’ll be able to talk to them about the best schools. If a professional couple is interested, they will know all the commuting links and best restaurants nearby.
When considering an agent think about where they are based, and look into how many properties they have sold nearby.
Another good reason to look into an estate agent’s experience is that many have a particular specialism. Some are great at selling bungalows, while others focus on selling properties worth over £1 million.
It’s important to work with an agent that usually works with properties like yours. Not only are they more likely to have an accurate idea of how much your home is worth, they’ll know the best marketing techniques to attract the sorts of buyers you’re looking for. This makes them more likely to get you the best price for your sale.
A lot of this information can be found out on the Land Registry, or compiled from the online property portals and estate agent websites. But, if you’re unsure where to start, or want to save yourself time, there are free online tools that will do the work for you.
For example, this tool. It processes data from the Land Registry, the major property portals, and their own databases to figure out which agents in your area: have the most experience with homes like yours, sell the fastest, and achieve the highest percentage of the asking price. This information should provide you with enough data to figure out which estate agent is right for your sale.
Only Pay For Results
The other thing to watch out for when picking an estate agent is the type of fee they request. We’d recommend only paying an estate agent on ‘completion’ – this means you only have to pay the fees once you’ve successfully sold your home, and got the money in your pocket.
Commission fees, or ‘Pay on Completion’ agreements, tend to get the best results. This is because this type of business model rewards estate agents for actually selling properties. In fact, because they don’t get paid until you get the keys, the estate agent has a large stake in ensuring your home sale is successful.
In contrast estate agents asking for upfront fees don’t have this same motivation. Their business model rewards estate agents for getting sellers ‘on the books’, but not for actually selling houses. Research has found that online estate agents (who often charge upfront) only end up getting a successful sale within a year around 50% of the time.
Know What Should be Included
Related to the way you pay your fee, is what’s included. When you ask for quotes, request that they provide a full breakdown of what that amount covers. You should expect it to include at least the following:
- Professional photography
- An agent to host viewings
- Online adverts
- A ‘For Sale’ sign
- Negotiation with buyers
If an agent requires you to pay extra for any of these basic services, you should consider going elsewhere – it’s likely that you’re not getting the best value for money.
This is a collaborative post.