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What to look for in an estate agent before putting your home on the market.

If you're considering putting your home on the market in the next few months, you'll likely have begun to take a little more notice of estate agents and the property market in general. Read this article to find out what you should look for in your estate agent before signing the dotted line.
What to look for in an estate agent before putting your home on the market.
Coming to the decision to sell your home is enormous, and it can take us years before we feel ready to finally take the leap. But what are you supposed to do once you have decided to sell up? The first of many decisions you must make is which estate agent is best for selling your home.

This can be a minefield, and as soon as you begin researching, you end up inundated with letters, emails and ads from the agents in your area vying for your attention. Each will promote their services as they encourage you to sell your home with them. So the first question is, how do you decipher these many messages to establish precisely what you need from an estate agent to sell your home and which agent is right for you?

Which agent should I choose? - Even if you agree on a sale of your home very quickly, there is a period before the marketing launch and when your property goes live. You'll have photoshoots, videography, viewing appointments and negotiation, and all these things take time. Then, you have the legal process, which is a notoriously lengthy process. All in all, even the speediest sales will take you at least 6 months, so selecting an agent you like is a good idea. Someone who understands you, your property and your needs, and importantly, someone that you get along with. After all, inviting them into your home is a rather intimate process; you wouldn't usually ask a stranger to look around all of your bedrooms, would you? So, first things first, narrow down your choices to those who you actually like and could see yourself working well with for the next year.

What do I need from the estate agent? - The obvious answer is that you need them to sell your house. But there are many other factors involved with selling a property the right way for you and not just getting it sold at any cost. Taking your shortlist of agents you would like to work with, you can narrow it down by considering if the agents work in a way that works for you. For example, some agents will not accompany the viewing appointments - is this OK for you? Perhaps you're flexible with time, and who knows your property better than you, right? But, if you're busy and think a sale is better conducted by a professional salesperson rather than muddying the waters with your emotional connection to the property, you might need to check that the agents will accompany the viewings. Think about how you want the process to go, and cut out those agents that don't work in a way that works for you.

Promotion and marketing. - The key factor when marketing a property for sale is coverage. Will the ideal buyer for your property actually see that your property is on the market? There is a perfect buyer for every home, and they are the people who will fall so head-over-heels in love with your property that they would pay almost any price because they simply have to have it. Of course, there are other buyers, but they will be slightly less perfect, and these compromises will manifest themselves in the offer that you receive. So, can the agents pinpoint this ideal buyer to sell your home for the highest price? Because, if we are being completely honest here, the price you sell for is important. You may be a very charitable person, but you still wouldn't want to sell your home for any less than it is worth, so the highest price is undoubtedly the price you're looking for.

It's all about that database. - It is vital that you match your property to the agent, meaning that your selected agent should be experienced in handling premium properties at the top end of the market. Suppose your choice of agent predominantly sells small flats to investors or starter homes. In that case, they're already at a disadvantage when selling your property because they don't have the right database. Buyers of premium properties will not register their interest with an agent who doesn't market the type of properties they're looking for. So, the database within their agency can't help you to sell. This doesn't mean they won't be able to sell your property; of course, they could, but they'll have to appeal to a new pool of buyers not currently registered. Conversely, if you matched the prestige of your property to the same level agent, they are already talking to buyers in this market. They will have a database chock full of property searchers with the budget to consider making a solid offer on your home.

Don't be swayed by a cheap fee. - The old adage that cheap isn't good and good isn't cheap does ring true here. In the long run, the agent's fees are largely irrelevant. Often, you only pay if the property sells, which is the outcome you're looking for anyway. The total fee percentage is a tiny proportion of your actual sale price, but if you compromise on the agency because you're trying to save on fees, you'll likely sell your property for a much lower price. The cost of reductions and negotiations is often around 10%, whereas an agent's fee is not likely to be much more than 2 or 3%. Therefore, if you choose a cheaper fee to save a few thousand, but they're not as skilled at negotiation or simply don't have the contacts to achieve the highest price for your property, you'll have lost much more money in the long run.

Ultimately, selecting the wrong agent can have dire consequences for your moving experience and the amount of equity you release from selling your property. The biggest company or the one with the loudest marketing message is not necessarily the right one for you.

If you want to know how By Design sells homes in the premium market, with exclusive technology and a connected database of high-net-worth buyers to secure you the very best price for your home, contact our team today.