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How to choose a reliable estate agent

Are you planning to up sticks and sell your property? The housing market has been hectic in 2021, with prices rising by 2.1% in August, even as the government’s stamp duty holiday winds down. But despite this high demand, selling your home for the right price can still be extremely stressful.

Considering you’re likely to be busy property hunting and looking carefully at your finances, it may be wise tohire an estate agent to handle much of the administrative work. As in any service industry, however, not all estate agents will provide the same standards and features.

So how do you go about choosing the right one?

Read online reviews

Reviews are everything in the 21st century, especially when it comes to a professional partner who you’ll work with closely for several months.

Ideally, you’ll be able to speak to neighbours about their experiences of local estate agents. Back up this word-of-mouth feedback by comparing independent online reviews on Google and TrustPilot.

Find out about their experience

From areas to property types, it helps to choose an estate agent that has experience in selling properties similar to yours. Local knowledge goes a long way in the housing market as buying trends shift and evolve.

Search for properties like yours and see who they’re being marketed through. These estate agents could also have a pool of prospective buyers that they’re in contact with.

Check their achieved asking prices

Comparing different valuations of your property is one way to approach finding an estate agent – but achieved asking prices are a more reliable indication of their capabilities.

If an estate agent regularly achieves their set asking prices, this suggests they don’t over-value properties. High prices can put buyers off and make a sale take months longer than it should.

For reference, a record number of houses sold for the asking price or above in January of this year.

Review their fees

Estate agents usually charge a percentage of the final sale price as a fee for their role in the process. This fee might vary based on where you live, your property type and various other factors.

Some estate agents charge fixed-price fees upfront – but don’t be afraid to haggle. Choosing a premium estate agent who’s open to negotiation will often work out better than justgoing with the cheapest option.

Learn about their processes

Estate agents sometimes get a bad name for a lack ofproactivity. In an ideal world, you’ll be able to rely on your chosen agent to market your property well and handle theadministrative side of things quickly and smoothly.

Ask questions and try to get a feel for their ways of working and resources. Will you have a dedicated contact? Do they have enough time to devote to selling your property?

The right estate agent can make a huge difference in terms of money, time and ease. Research the five factors above to settle on the right seller for your property and situation.

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