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How do you choose an estate agent?

We're thinking of putting our house on the market and had a couple of estate agents come round to value the property both giving the same valuation. One sales quite a bit in our village and is local and the other not so much but has branches linked so have access to a larger number of people looking at the surrounding areas.
Now we have right move does it even matter as if some one is looking that's their go to? Struggling to decide!


  • GDB2222
    GDB2222 Posts: 24,331
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    edited 26 January at 6:00PM
    I think that Rightmove does 90% of the job. 

    I don't know your area, but as an example we are a couple of miles from a  more expensive area in London. I did toy with appointing an agent from that area in the hope that they would have buyers who would relish getting more space for their £ where we are. An agent from there has sold several properties around here,  so the theory is not zany. 

    In the end, we chose the local agent, who had most experience of selling in our area. They sell around half the properties in our area.

    One point is whether you can get on with these guys. You will have quite a lot of contact with them, so if their voice grates, say,  I'd choose someone else!
    No reliance should be placed on the above! Absolutely none, do you hear?
  • propertyrental
    propertyrental Posts: 2,201
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    edited 26 January at 6:26PM
    Rightmove means that the old days of EAs having lists of potential buyers registered is long gone.
    But there are good and bad EAs. eg read
    Other factors to consider
    * lenght of contract - if they turn out to be useless how long are you tied in for? 6 weeks? 10? 18?
    * length of notice? 2 weeks is OK. 4 weeks not so good if you want out
    * what do they charge? fixed fee or %?
    * where do they advertise? Rightmove is just one place?
    *and how do they advertise? Professional photos or a school-leaver with a mobile phone camera? Hpw many photos? Compare their other adverts. Some will even use drones to get good photos of the location.

    Also worth asking who will conduct viewings. The EA you sign up with may be a manager/ exprienced salesman, who asks all sorts of relevant Qs about your property, but if viewings are carried out by an office junior who can't answer buyers' Q, or worse just talks rubbish!

  • Wes121708
    Wes121708 Posts: 151
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    @GDB2222, that's the choice we have. One has linked branches to more expensive areas just 10miles down the road where you would never get our house with the size of plot we have but then the local one has a lot of knowledge of the area and sales more houses but not high end.
    We have another one coming in Monday and one of their agents actually live in our village so that could be a good selling point maybe?
    @propertyrental I never thought about who would be showing us around. Had two come round to value which we really clicked with but you're right, it probably won't be them doing the viewing!
  • GDB2222
    GDB2222 Posts: 24,331
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    One of the things that makes a difference is the quality of the photos. We had a professional photographer, who took time to arrange the furniture, so the photos were A1. He came back and redid one shot that had not turned out well. 

    This was all arranged and paid for by the agent. 
    No reliance should be placed on the above! Absolutely none, do you hear?
  • gwynlas
    gwynlas Posts: 1,622
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    Whilst rightmove listing starts the process a lot depends on the framing of the photographs and wording of the listing.Some EAs allow photos that show all that is wrong with a property eg lack of storage dated decor scruffy garden  etc whilst a professional will endeavour to clear away daily detritus and show rooms to advantage. Similarly wording can be generic cut and paste or emphasise advantages of position and distance to amenities. Choose who offers the best service as they should be invested in getting you a  good price and achieve their commission.House sales appear slow at the moment so you do not want anyone who chases sales by dropping prices 1% off every £10k is only £100 off their cut.
  • EssexHebridean
    EssexHebridean Posts: 20,872
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    Better a mobile phone camera than a DSLR in the hands of someone who doesn’t know how to use it. The first agent who our flat was listed with was in the second category- the photos taken by the second were far, far better in spite of being with a phone. A lot of photographers will acknowledge that the snobbery around phone cameras is outdated - modern phones have great cameras and can produce really good images without a huge amount of post-processing being needed. More importantly they are almost idiot proof - often a prime consideration when dealing with EAs! 😆 For those at the less premium end of the market a professional property photog isn’t going to be used, realistically. 

    I’ll also place a vote for going without feeling. We instructed the original selling agent because they were also selling the house we thought we were going to buy, feeling it would streamline and simplify things. Ended up switching to the other agent who’d valued who we had a far better feeling about from the start as the first one was essentially useless. 

    One thing to be wary of - firms who have only been operating during the “boom years” in recent times when all you need to do is to stick a house on Rightmove, show folk round and multiple offers will follow. The market is now slower and our experience was that our first agent had no real clue when it came  to actual negotiations. Indeed, the property actually sold when the second agent was approached by someone who had actually already viewed, but got nowhere with negotiation with the original agent. 
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  • Runner_Duck
    Runner_Duck Posts: 22
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    We went with a local agent with branches in other Surrey towns and a connection with a London company.  We had 4 agents come round to give a valuation for Probate. The EA selected to sell was the only one who came with the Sales Manager and the agent who would show people around, they were realistic about the house, dated and in need of renovation.  Also both my brother and I agreed we could work with them. The big national company appeared to be only going through the motions, and one EA ruled themselves out by phoning, emailing weekly when we had said we could not market the house till we'd applied for IHT. 
    Ask to see any brochures / literature they've prepared for other sellers. Expect to review and edit any sales documents they produce.  Photographs are important, rooms look larger if not cluttered; we actually delayed our house going on the market for a couple of weeks so they could photograph the garden at its best.
    Our chosen EA was great, kept us fully informed on all viewings and the outcomes, but best of all got as the asking price, and we completed the sale 4 months after it went on the market, could have been quicker if we had had Probate.  My one small niggle was that quite a large number of the viewers had not even had their own property valued so were in no position to put in an offer.
  • Wes121708
    Wes121708 Posts: 151
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    @Runnerduck Will definitely have to wait until spring when the garden comes to life, that's what made us buy the property in the 1st place.
    The agent we've got coming round on Monday, I only contacted because they had a house in the market I was interested in so thought I'd try and stay on their good side in case it comes back on the market.
    We've got a few things to finish off so it won't be going on for a few months so will probably then get them back in and go for the feels.
  • Postik
    Postik Posts: 403
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    edited 29 January at 8:13PM
    As someone pointed out above you want to look at the length of the contracts, and the terms of the contracts.

    Rightmove does 90% of the work in terms of getting the interest and the viewings.

    However in my case the estate agent came into their own after the sale was agreed, by communicating with buyers, sellers and solicitors and keeping everything on track.  A good agent might also work at getting your asking price or above, whereas a bad one might just opt for an easy life.

    I think the main thing that makes a good estate agent is communication.  Since some agents don't even answer the phone or respond properly to enquiries, that would make them a bad agent.  In my case my agent was contactable by phone 100% of the time (during office hours) and also responded promptly to emails.  They also had a Whatsapp group for the sale of our house which included their valuer, sales negotiator, office manager, myself and my wife amongst others.
  • SuzeQStan
    SuzeQStan Posts: 962
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    edited 29 January at 9:59PM
    as someone said previously internet pretty much does it all.

    EA main job is to push the sale through - and they will lie cheat and sell their granny to get a sale or no commission for them. Try not to take it personally and just ignore them if they get too desperate and pushy. 

    no matter what EA says the average sale
    will take 3 months to go through once you have an accepted offer and no point going crazy to make it happen sooner.  

    Regarding EA percentage - negotiate as there is always room in whatever they quote. Make them fight for your business.  

    Also do serious homework as a lot of EAs will undervalue/get the valuation just plain wrong so check as many sold prices in your area as you can.

    more important in my opinion is your choice of solicitor. Get recommendations - a good solicitor will keep it all on track, allay worries and keep you from feeling inadequate!!

    ps agree wholeheartedly with @EssexHebridean re photos - if you aren’t happy with them demand retakes. 
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