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How to Choose a Good Estate Agent

How to Choose a Good Estate Agent

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NEVER choose an agent merely based on cheap fees or a high property valuation.

ALWAYS look at the following key points to decide if the agent you wish to use is the right one for you and your property.

In brief:

Do they have the experience to keep a chain moving? Can they deal on your behalf in firm tones with all parties involved in the transaction? 

Do they understand your areas and the market? To obtain the best possible price for you?

Are they able to demonstrate good marketing skills with their current properties?

Do they have a good customer service record? Good social engagement?

Do check their client reviews.

Only then can you be sure to have made the right choice overall. 

What are their property photos like online?

A picture speaks a thousand words and with the high level of competition on the property portals, images are so important. Most people, when searching through a portal, will base the decision as to whether to look further into a property on the main image. This can take less than a second. Make sure any agent you are considering is skilled at taking images that ‘sell’ properties to those scrolling through. A good format is also for them to take enough, but not too many photos, so that when a potential customer is looking it will tempt them to book a viewing. Time is precious and many buyers won’t bother if they do not see enough information online. They will assume the agent is hiding something, even if they are not. Also look for the detailed catchy descriptions that give a feel for the place, not minimalist and boring measurements and 'just the basics'.

The buyer handling test

Call the agent and register with them over the phone, (or go in in person), as a buyer. See how they handle your query. A good buyer handling process with well trained polite staff, backed up by a good IT system for keeping in touch with you, will help you get your property sold quicker. Some agents may not even take your details.Do they show interest in you? After your call, did they send you anything?An email? a brochure? Certainly a follow up call? A good agent will always keep in touch.

The property details or brochure test

Whatever market your property is in will dictate different criteria here. Online or on the portals, it is always important how your property appears, but within the high end market is a more luxurious property brochure expected? How do these appear both in the brochure section of the portals and in their physical format? Are they modern; striking; detailed and easy to read? Do they sell the properties they are portraying? This will give you an insight in how your property will be marketed.

Their local knowledge

How experienced is their team? Are they mature property professionals? The local market is their trading area, so they should know everything about it and be well connected and active inthe community. What’s happening locally? Where is the best school catchment area?Transport routes; what the local property market is doing.

When you contact them as a potential vendor, ask them about the market locally and how your area is currently doing.How do they sell your area?

Online reviews

What are their online reviews like? Look at their testimonials.These should give you an indication into how they treat their customers and a real insight into what areas are weak. Estate agency is increasingly becoming similar to hotels with reviews being a major part of their outward exposure to the market. How else can they independantly convey that they provide a good service? If they fail here, then you should steer clear. 

Relevant experience

Depending on the type of property you have, what is their experience in that market? The top end property market, for example, has a huge range of different issues than a small terraced investor property would have. Can your agent deal effectively across the whole spectrum? Furthermore if your sale stalls you need your agent to jump in proactively and firmly and get the chain moving FAST. This is where their experience and maturity in the market pays dividends.In essence, will you feel comfortable entrusting them with possibly your biggest asset!

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