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Choosing an Estate Agent

(6 Posts)
starfishmummy Mon 08-Aug-11 15:31:01

Just what it says really! Brother and I inherited a house and are looking to sell but neither of us have ever sold a house before. We know we should get several valuations but what sort of question should we be asking the agencies to help us choose which one?

ElbowFan Mon 08-Aug-11 17:13:42

Do you know the area? If you do you will probably have an idea of which agents are 'active' in your part of the market. If you don't it is well worth a drive around to see how many boards are up and how many show as 'sold'. Some agents are far better at marketing properties than others.
Get an idea of what the sort of price range you should expect by checking in Rightmove or Zoopla for similarly sized/located properties.

When they come to measure up an value you need to think whether they are people you can talk to and get a straight answer from - we can all recall tales of estate agents waffle, but you are paying them and you need to know that you can trust them to get viewers in and give you prompt feedback. (No I'm not in the business but have had dealings with some very professional agents)

Ask where the weak and strong selling points of the property are - is there anything you can do in a cosmetic way to improve its 'saleability'? (Overgrown garden, dirty appearance can put would-be buyers off looking and may give others a lever to drag the price lower than you'd like)
You need to find out where they think they can find your buyer - is it likely a FTB, someone looking for a 'do-it-up project' or because it is in a popular school catchment area? They should be able to tell you and how they will therefore market the property.

If the valuation is not what you expect (given you've done your homework) ask how they reached the figure. They should be able to tell you rather than just saying 'experience'. They should also be able to give you an indication of how many properties they have sold recently and how close the final deal was to the expected price.

Good luck!

starfishmummy Mon 08-Aug-11 17:36:41

Thanks Elbow. Brother has just had a valuer in and we were shock at the low valuation. Especially as my brother (older) needs his half to fund somewhere else; which it wont without probably doubling what is left after fees etc; which he cant do. (And my dreams of a seaside cottage are dashed.......)

Brother arranged a "free valuation" on the spur of the moment, (didnt tell me until afterwards) and it was not an agent I would have picked. Long established agency but I think it is a one or two man band, not necessarily a bad thing but I dont think they are very active in the area concerned. Its our old family home and situated between two towns so we are hoping to find an agent who has branches in both - have told brother (who lives in the house) that he needs to drive around and look for boards.

We know property needs work but is good solid family home nice/popular area, three bedrooms all good double, big downstairs rooms etc. The agent didn't measure, but did say certain jobs wouldn't get back what we'd pay for them which is useful.

I am going to draw up a list of questions so that ny brother can ask the same ones of each agent especially if I am not there.

bagospanners Mon 08-Aug-11 17:45:53

What area are you in? If you are near me I could tell you who to AVOID!!!

starfishmummy Mon 08-Aug-11 19:04:31

There are several we know to avoid already but so many new ones since dh and I bought (and we would avoid that agent but no longer around).

Barbeasty Mon 08-Aug-11 21:37:57

Are they open at weekends/ bank holidays?
Will they do viewings or will your brother (and if it's your brother what happens if someone wants to view when he's at work etc?)

Don't just look for active in your area, do they market properties at a similar "level"? Someone looking for a cheap first home is unlikely to look at a "high end" agency because they are unlikely to have anything suitable and vice versa.

Where do they market- local papers, which websites, what's their website like?

Do you like them? If they seem untrustworthy they may put people off!

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