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How do I select an estate agent to sell house?

(15 Posts)
HauntedLittleLunatic Wed 31-Aug-11 11:01:30

This will be the first time I have sold.

How do I select the "best" estate agent to sell my house?
What questions do I ask?
What do I look for?

I can obviously see which estate agents have boards up in my area? Is this a good thing? Do I only look for sold and not "for sale".

archfiend Wed 31-Aug-11 11:14:42

The way we have always approached it is to get 2 or 3 round to value the house at first. You need to ask what % commission they will take-it varies a lot and what (if any) lock in periods they have.
The national chain agents tend to try and lock you in for up to 12 weeks which is a long time if you aren't happy with them.
Ask if they will do the viewings for you, when they do viewings ie not evenings if you have young dc.
Whenever we have sold a house we have used a smaller local agency as they have more room to negotiate on commission etc and tend to know the area well. Ask if they are on Rightmove etc.

Also, check you like the person who you will be dealing with! You may end up spending a lot of time talking to them. Check they get feedback from all viewings to pass on to you.
Hope that helps and good luck with the sale!

mamalocco Wed 31-Aug-11 11:22:26

I would get at least 3 in to give you a valuation. Some will undervalue so they are more likely to get a quick sale, others overvalue to get you to sign up only to suggest a reduction a couple of weeks after you've signed up and the offers haven't flooded in. As archfiend says, be careful of get tied to one agent for any length of time. If you are in a strong position there maybe some wiggle room in the commission rate - I've had an agent drop their quoted rate by 0.5% in the past.

Check on for sold prices on houses in your area and check for agents.

Lastly go with the agent you feel comfortable with.

nocake Wed 31-Aug-11 14:13:35

The person who comes round to value your house will be one of the people trying to sell it so definately go with someone you feel comfortable with. You don't want your potential buyers to be put off by a shiny suited spiv who trots out a line rather than answering questions honestly.

thestringcheeseincident Wed 31-Aug-11 14:24:22

Yes to the above advice. We also asked our local friends, who they used, who they liked etc etc.

HauntedLittleLunatic Wed 31-Aug-11 14:28:59


Was going to go with 3 valuations. Don't really know anyone that has sold recently or that would be an obvious starting point...

Thanks for all the advice.

breatheslowly Wed 31-Aug-11 14:55:52

I'd also look at the quality of their weblistings - this is likely to be the first thing a potential buyer sees. Insist on having the right to proof read the listing. You see some complete shockers on the internet - things like floorplans which can't be read, typos, information missing and very odd styling.

Lilymaid Wed 31-Aug-11 15:27:19

Pretty much everyone will be looking at what the agent has put on RightMove, so compare your agents by looking at the details given there - e.g. quality of photos and blurb. Check that you will be consulted all the way about this.
Don't get tied into a long contract with an agent - you need to give them a few weeks and then be able to change if you don't get many viewings. Check also what you'd have to pay them for their work marketing the house if you changed agent.
See how pro-active they are - yes, the property may be shown on RightMove, but e-mailing/phoning through details to possible buyers helps market your house to the most likely purchasers.
Don't assume that the EA that gives you the highest valuation is the one to go for - you might waste weeks with your house over-priced for the market.

DameEdnaBeverage Wed 31-Aug-11 20:02:00

Agree with Lilymaid - don't just go for highest valuation. We had 3 agents round - one priced it 5k less than we expected, one priced it 10k higher than we thought (a right wide-boy) and the other one priced it the same as we had expected (had done our homework on similar properties in the area). We went with the agents who had priced it realistically and sold within 2 weeks for full asking price. We did have 2 buyers that wanted it though so that helped smile Our agents were a small independent firm and we found them a lot nicer to deal with than the big chains.

OneOfTheBoys Wed 31-Aug-11 20:09:05

Always negotiate their commission downwards
Always negotiate the length of contract with them, you can always stick with them if you are happy

Scout round the area to see has the most 'for sale' but also 'sold' boards up.
Have a firm idea how much you would sell your house for - look at comparable ones on rightmove/primelocation, and look at sites like nethouseprice or mouseprice to see what similar have sold for in the last year - so you can spot the ones who overvalue the house to get the busy and the others who undervalue just to get the quick sale

breatheslowly Wed 31-Aug-11 20:13:25

Our agents showed us the statistics for the area that they get from rightmove - this shows how long their properties stay on the market compared to other agents in the area and how many properties they have in the area. The agents we chose were the only ones to offer to show us the stats - probably because they came out well from it. Obviously there are lots of things that might influence the stats (sales mix type things) but our agents were as good as their word and sold our house for £9k more than the other agents wanted us to list for.

notcitrus Wed 31-Aug-11 20:46:18

I'd also go for one that sells similar houses to yours - they'll know what they're talking about a lot more. As one put it when we sold our maisonette, "Flats like yours are our bread and butter - if it's not under offer in a week something's wrong"

Lilymaid Thu 01-Sep-11 09:47:30

Also be a little wary of how many houses your agent is currently selling in your area. I'm selling a house at present and was surprised to see a nearby house still appearing as "stc" on RightMove whereas it was sold and new purchasers moved in several months ago! I suppose some agents retain the details of houses on RightMove for months so that prospective vendors think that the EA is currently selling a lot of property in the area.

JumpJockey Thu 01-Sep-11 10:48:59

Definitely look for one that specialises in your type of house and likely price - eg we sold in under 2 weeks because we went with the agent who everyone registers with if they want 2/3 bed victorian terraces, not the 'modern houses' agency or the 'millionnaire house porn' one.

JumpJockey Thu 01-Sep-11 10:50:45

Also we priced low as suggested to get interest, as agent suggested, actually sold for 10k above what we went on at. One other agent had suggested pricing relatively high, but we figured that might put people off.

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