Selling property, especially as a first-time seller, can be a daunting experience. You expect your estate agent to navigate you through the process and help you out at each step, but you need to be able to trust their expert advice and be assured that you have the right people at your side. To do that, you need to first have the confidence to ask the right questions before anything is signed.
1) What fees are there?
Every estate agent will charge different fees, so you shouldn’t assume that they are all within a similar price bracket. Online estate agents will typically have lower fees due to lower overheads, but you may lose that personal touch that can often make the whole ordeal just a little bit more pleasant. Ensure you are aware of the total amount you can expect to pay for the service as a whole, whenever you approach an estate agent and compare fees against the services that they include.
2) What price can you get?
Arguably, one of the most important questions: how much is your house worth? Before you even ask any estate agents this question, first ask yourself. Do your own independent research, so that you have a realistic figure in mind. Then you can start approaching estate agents, and compare their professional valuations.
3) What similarly priced property do they currently have on the local market?
You can learn a lot about the local housing market by comparing your property to others similarly priced in the area. If you ask your estate agent for a physical tour (or at least a portfolio flip-through) of other houses in your price bracket, you can get a good idea of how many properties you’ll essentially be competing with and how your house compares. It’s also an opportunity to see how long these properties have been on the market, so you can assess how quickly the estate agent can sell houses like yours.
4) What services do they provide?
Every estate agent will offer their own “package” of included services. This includes things from the level of communication, and how much time they have for you, to the websites that they use to market your property online. The majority of buyers will search online using the major property portals to browse houses for sale. You need to make sure that your property will be listed on the major websites so that you don’t miss out on any prospective buyers. Beyond the most popular property search portals, what other strategies do they use to market their properties? It may be that they also have other online advertising methods, using social media for example, or advertise properties in the local paper as well as physically on their window display.
5) What are the details of the contract?
Different types of contracts will afford you different rights, and determine who gets paid what and when.
Types of contracts include:
● Multi agency
● Sole agency
● Sole selling rights
● Ready, willing and able purchaser
You should do your own research into what types of contracts would be best for your particular situation.
Ideally, the contract they use should allow you enough flexibility to terminate the contract without a withdrawal fee if you are unhappy with the service, and that you don’t owe them anything should you find a buyer yourself before they do or later decide not to sell. Watch out for any continuing liabilities.
Remember: contracts can always be negotiated.
This article was written by Southend estate agents based in the United Kingdom.