How to get the best from estate agents when selling a property
So, you have made the decision to sell your property and you want to achieve the highest price for your home as fast as possible.
It pays to know how to get the best out of your estate agent to maximise your chances of a quick and effective sale, whether you're selling a house, flat, bungalow, cottage or studio apartment.
You will probably have a number of estate agents in your locality. Ask at least three estate agents to come and give you a valuation. The values might be very different and although it is tempting to go with the agent offering the highest valuation, it's worth double checking that their figures are realistic.
Read about how to value your home for more information on how estate agents arrive at their figures. You may want to view sold property prices in the area to get an understanding of what prices similar homes have been achieving in your area. There is no point having a property for sale at a price which deters buyers. Our dedicated how to sell a house guide will give you all the information you need to help you when selling a property. You can also search for estate agents on PrimeLocation.
Check your property details and photos
Once you've chosen your estate agent and agreed terms, whether they have the sole right to market the property, or are jointly instructed with another agency, they will draw up property particulars and have photographs taken. They should ask you to check the details and provide a signature to say that they are accurate. Ask to see the photos to check their quality and agree which ones should be used before the agent includes them in the property details.
Be ready for viewings
Most estate agents will already have potential buyers up their sleeves, so expect viewings pretty quickly. It saves all parties a lot of hassle if you can let the estate agent have a set of keys so that they can access the property easily, particularly if you're away from the property most days. It should go without saying that you must leave the house tidy and clean to maximise the chances of a quick and successful sale.
Stay in touch with your agent
Once an offer is made, keep in close contact with your estate agent and make sure that the process is being well managed. Some buyers will ask that the property is taken off the market on acceptance of the offer. Ask the estate agent for advice on this and check that the purchasers are serious before committing. In a seller's market, buyers have been known to put in multiple offers in order to 'buy' themselves time, so be careful.
Keep track of progress
If things seem to be taking a long time (a survey should be able to happen within a fortnight), make sure the estate agent is chasing everyone. Your estate agent should be the lynchpin who, in partnership with you, coordinates the bank valuations, surveyors, solicitors and so on. If there are any problems, the estate agent should liaise with both sides and seek a satisfactory conclusion.
Hopefully, the relationship with your estate agent will be pleasant, professional and friendly. Don't forget, the estate agent is working for you. You are the client and it's up to them to fulfil your instructions and help you sell your property.
Very occasionally, things can go wrong. If you have a complaint about the conduct of an estate agent you can contact the Ombudsman for Estate Agents (the OEA). It provides an independent service for dealing with disputes between estate agents who are members of the Ombudsman Scheme, and consumers who are actual or potential buyers or sellers of residential property in Britain.
The OEA will advise on alternative routes to take if the estate agent you wish to complain about is not a member.
- how to sell a house
- choosing an estate agent to sell your house
- how to value your home
Some information contained herein may have changed since it was first published. PrimeLocation strongly advises you to seek current legal and/or financial advise from a qualified professional.