The process of moving house is notoriously one of the most stressful life events a homeowner is ever likely to face.
That’s why it is vitally important to get the right estate agent for the job. It can sometimes feel like a glorified speed-dating experience, vetting each and every agent that steps foot through your door.
But it’s worth taking the time to get to know who you could be dealing with. After all, you’re putting your trust in somebody else’s hands for quite a significant episode in your life.
If cracks in their personality and/or professionalism start to show then, yes, absolutely, you can make a change, though in many instances sellers will be subject to a minimum tie-in period. If you’re obligated by an exclusivity clause, there’s not a lot a homeowner can do straight away.
If you’re in any doubt, we strongly advise that you carefully read up on the terms and conditions of an estate agent’s contract before making plans to switch because, in some cases, fixed-fee agreements apply.
What should an estate agent be doing for me?
It might only look like bricks and mortar to many from the outside but, to a homeowner, a property is generally much, much more than that.
A selection of estate agents will struggle to see past a valuation — tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds — though any agent worth their salt will treat your ‘house’ as a ‘home’ during the sales process.
Ideally, a seller requires a representative that takes a keen and active role in the procedure, somebody that has the personality to engage with viewers, an ability to paint the perfect picture of their home while having the expertise to land the best possible price for it.
An estate agent is a ‘Jack of all trades’. They’re responsible for everything from the valuation, marketing, negotiating and selling, so if you can find one that excels at all four facets then you’re on to a winner.
Firstly, having built an initial impression of the agent on the grand, guided tour, you’ll then have the opportunity to gauge their knowledge of the local property market as they provide you with a valuation of your home. Ensure that you ask them to elaborate on their estimation.
Their initial numbers are key to getting the ball rolling and generating interest. Setting an asking price too low would be doing the seller a disservice while anything too high would put prospective buyers off. It’s a very delicate balance.
It’s then down to them to portray your property in its best light; accentuating its best features, picking out appealing quirks, and capturing what makes your home so special via the art of professional photography and descriptive writing.
If each and every room looks bright, airy and welcoming on images in brochures, websites and in shop windows — and the word-play adds to its allure — then viewers will be drawn in by the aesthetics and enticed into taking a look.
A strong online presence, particularly in a generation of tech-savvy social media users, is crucial, as is advertisement across major property portals. All this separates the ‘good’ estate agents from the ‘bad’.
Once interest is lodged, your estate agent will take on the responsibility of organising viewings, showing potential buyers around your home, addressing any queries, collecting feedback, act as a go-between for negotiations between buyers and sellers, take care of necessary documentation and liaise with solicitors and other realtors involved in the process.
And finally, fingers crossed, they’ll wrap up the deal!
Am I within my rights to immediately switch estate agents?
It sounds simple, doesn’t it? If you’re not satisfied with a particular service or product then cutting ties with the offending party seems like a logical solution. But there always tends to be something in the small print that can complicate matters.
When an estate agent initially spoke with you, it’s understandable that you may have overlooked key clauses in the terms and conditions section of the contract.
The strike rate of many estate agents isn’t actually that impressive, which is why some will try to keep clients ‘tied in’ to a partnership for prolonged periods of time.
Lock-in periods can stretch up to 12 weeks, more in extreme cases, with a four-week notice period, though others will offer a little more flexibility in relation to the timeframe for when contracts can be terminated.
Sellers should be sure, however, that they haven’t entered into any open-ended agreements with agents, who might exercise their right to claim for commission if you sell to a buyer who they originally introduced to the property.
Are there alternatives to using an estate agent?
Property cash buying companies, like Hull Cash Buyers, are becoming more and more popular with sellers wanting a quick and unproblematic sale for their home.
Our simplified sales process cuts out the middleman to ensure that the process is quick, easy and stress-free. We’ll take the load off your back while often putting more money in your pocket, thanks to the omission of selling fees and commissions.
As there are no third-parties, home buying companies will drive the sales process from start to finish, making the transaction a hassle-free experience.
We guarantee to make a cash offer on any home, regardless of its appearance on the outside or condition on the inside, meaning that there isn’t a need to pull out the polish, duster and the hoover every time a visit is scheduled.
Hull Cash Buyers will even cover your legal fees if you use their chosen solicitor. It might sound too good to be true, but we can assure you a five-star service, from local people, every time.
Get in touch to find out more; it would be our pleasure to talk you through the benefits of selling with local cash buying companies.
How to find the best estate agent
How do you source an estate agent that is right for you and your home? Some homeowners will form an initial impression when formalities are made upon introductions.
But, beyond that, there are certain traits that sellers need to look out for when dealing with agents. Firstly, over or undervaluing a property, especially if one estimation stands out from others like a sore thumb, is an instant red flag.
Ignoring phone calls or a reluctance to return them is another, as is a failure to get provisional buyers through your door on a regular basis. Watch out for unexpected fees, unfamiliar clauses in contracts, or pressure to use their own mortgage brokers.
You should also be wary if they lack knowledge of the local property market, if they insist on sole selling (exclusivity) rights, lack social skills, appear uninterested or unreceptive, if they become time-wasters, or if they have been given bad references in the past.
Covering all bases can save homeowners a major headache further down the line.
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