Selling Your Home: Estate Agents

If you sell your own house, you will save a substantial sum (the typical estate agent’s fee is between 1.5 and 2 per cent, which pays 2,250-3000 pounds on a 150,000 pounds property). The drawback is the time and work that you will have to put in yourself. If you try but fail to sell your house, you won’t save anything, but you still lose the time and the opportunity to move. Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

What does an estate agent do ?

A good estate agent will visit your property and suggest three possible prices (which includes other advice on what to ask them at this stage.) Once you have chosen an agent and the price you want to put it on the market for, agent should:

Send you a contract setting out their terms and conditions. Read this before you sign.

Measure and photograph the property to produce the sales particulars, checking them through with you.

Help you to secure and Energy Performance Certificate. You don’t have to use the agent to provide this service and they should charge around 50 pounds for the certificate.

Put a ‘For sale’ board outside your property (assuming you want one; your estate agent should give you the option).

Advertise your property locally, on the internet and via newspapers. It’s important to negotiate this as it doesn’t always happen automatically.

Advertise it at their premises and via their website as well as directly to a list of potential buyers.

Arrange viewings for legitimate buyers (show people around your house if you aren’t there).

Receive offers, communicating them to you in writing and negotiating on your behalf.

Liaise between your buyer, you and your solicitor.

Arrange the handover of key on completion day.

You could do most of this yourself. However, there are various benefits a good agent brings.

Experience

In any field, experience is valued. Someone who has spent years helping people buy and sell property should be able to forestall problems, keep the process moving efficiently and effectively, and offer informed advice when decisions are required.

Sales and marketing

Selling is a skill. No one is going to persuade an unwilling buyer to purchase your property, but a professional sales person will be able to communicate effectively, pointing out advantages and answering queries that might otherwise have put someone off. In addition, a good agent will have the resources to market your property nationally via their website.

Security

Inviting strangers into your home carries a risk. You don’t know who they are and you can’t vet them, but you could find yourself alone with them in your home. An agent who accompanies viewers means that you won’t be put in a vulnerable position.

Avoiding time-wasters

You can never be sure if a viewer is genuinely interested in your property, and some people seem to make a hobby of looking around houses when they have no intention of buying. A good agent will check if the buyer is serious and ask if they have a Mortgage Agreement in Principle. If they haven’t arranged a loan (which means there’s no guarantee they can afford to buy), the agent can set this in motion.

Accessibility

Any decent agent will have someone available to talk to potential buyers. You might not be able to do this.

Get the best agent

When choosing an agent, read the advice your local property market and only choose agents that you have checked are current members of one of two redress schemes. These are the Property Ombudsman and the Ombudsman Services: Property. This should give you an idea of which agents are not just marketing properties like yours, but selling them. In a high street with six agents, only two or three may be right for you, so always research by asking locals for recommendations. Also look at who is advertising properties like yours in the local paper and possibly on the internet. Estate agents tend to specialise. There is not point asking one who usually sells large houses with land to market a small flat.

A common mistake when choosing an agent is the ‘board count’ method where potential sellers count how many boards (for sale and sold) and choose the agent with the most. However, there are some agents that offer high valuations to increase their market share, so they have the most boards. The only boards you should count should be the ‘sold’ boards as this gives a truer indication of success.

Location location

Just as the location of your house is important, so is the site of your estate agent. Your agent should be based in a town as near as possible to your property, and already be dealing properties in your area. If your property is located between two towns, see which one has more agents who work in your area. If the split is equal, you may be better off using two agents because between them they will market your property more widely.

Check out where the agent’s offices are. An upmarket location near a stylish clothes shop in the high street will attract different buyers to the one at the end of the street next to a scruffy pub of discount shop.

Get a valuation

Any decent estate agent will be willing to visit your house to make a free valuation. Invite three who have passed your initial checks described above to do this, asking them to bring details of any similar properties on the market or which they have sold in the last six months.

Go around the property with them, inviting comments on any factors that will be attractive or not to potential buyers. This may help you see your property with fresh eyes, seeing the good points and spotting flaws, such as damaged doors, cracked plaster or peeing paper.

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