27 Oct What questions should you ask an estate agent, before you sign them on?
If you’re a seller, your agent could be the difference between getting a great price for your property – or not selling it at all! If you’re a buyer, the agent could be the difference between getting a great property that suits your needs, or buying something of a dud.
If you’re thinking of moving to a new area, you haven’t necessarily got the knowledge to be able to decide which estate agent to choose. Here’s a round up of the sorts of questions you should be asking in order to make sure you choose the right one:
What’s their reputation?
Try to find out the reputation of the estate agent. If you have family or friends in the area ask them, but if not, you’ll be surprised how much information can be gleaned from everyday conversations in the butcher’s or the post office queue!
Are they local?
It seems an obvious question, but it’s nearly always best to use a local agent that has been around for a long time. An agent who not only works, but also lives, in the local area, will be much more likely to have answers to all your questions about the area and the state of the local property market.
Are they open at weekends?
An estate agent that performs viewings only on a Saturday morning won’t be as effective as one that’s open all weekend, so it’s worth factoring in their working hours in your decision on who to approach.
If you’re a seller:
Have they sold properties like yours before?
You want them to know exactly what they’re doing, so ask them about similar properties to yours to test their knowledge.
What marketing do they do?
Every agent will do a description of your house and take some pictures, but what else will they throw into the mix? For example, do they use local newspapers and magazines? Do they have online links? Sitting back and waiting for house hunters isn’t going to be as useful as someone who goes out and actively markets your property.
Is their paperwork transparent?
There’s no point signing them on because they have excellent marketing, only to find in the smallprint that you are responsible for paying for it all! When it comes to the paperwork it needs to be clear and easy to understand. You need to be clear about your agreement, whether there are any notice periods, and they should be able to easily clarify anything.
What are their fees?
Similarly, they need to be completely upfront about fees. A reputable estate agent will have absolutely nothing to hide.
If in doubt, mystery shop!
You could always visit a handful of agents, or contact the online agents, and pretend to be in the market for a house similar to yours. That way you can find out just how knowledgeable they really are about the local area and its properties. You can also see how professional they are and how efficient they are at handling your queries.
For honest, reliable and hardworking advice, call us if you’re planning a move in Chalfont St Peter, Chalfont St Giles, Gerrards Cross, Rickmansworth and Beaconsfield. Call us on 01494 873663 or visit www.a-place.co.uk.