PROPERTY CLINIC: How do I find the best real estate agent to sell my house?
- The prices and services offered by different brokers vary considerably
- Home vendors must choose one that is suitable for their personal circumstances
This Is Money Reporter
I am about to bring my property to the market and wonder how I can choose the best broker.
There seem to be so many options when it comes to choosing a broker – how do I choose one?
I want the best possible price, but I also want to sell my property.
The prices and services offered by different brokers vary considerably
These are money answers: Your house is probably your biggest asset, so if you sell, you want to get a good price for it. Choosing the right broker to deal with sales is therefore crucial.
There may be many reasons why you choose one broker over another, varying from how they present and market your home, to how much they charge.
With the new breed of online and hybrid agents, you should consider whether they will view and negotiate the sales price, or simply mention your property online.
A traditional high street broker will usually charge a percentage. Research carried out by the MyHomeMove transfer agency in 2015 showed that this was on average 1.3 percent plus VAT, which resulted in a total cost of 1.56 percent.
On a house of £ 250,000 that would generate an invoice of £ 3,120, while £ 600,000 would be £ 9,360 for a house of £ 600,000.
However, do not forget that the brokerage fees are not carved in stone. It is always worth trying to negotiate fees, and agents will often agree a certain percentage if a certain price level has been agreed and a higher percentage if they receive you more.
You may be willing to pay more if they provide a detailed plan on how they will do their best to ensure a sale, or to perform special marketing of your property. Or try instead to try to negotiate the percentage, you could suggest a ceiling for the costs.
An agent can be stimulated more to sell your house for less if they also sell the house you want to buy. This is because if they sell both houses, they double.
Challenging traditional agents on the streets are a new kind of online and hybrid brokers, many of whom charge a fixed fee for a sale, but they can also ask more questions for conducting viewings and other extras. The big names here are Purple Bricks (who sell a house for £ 849) and Yopa (who will sell a house for £ 839) and you can compare online brokers with our guide.
Which agent you choose, it is important to choose the one that best suits your personal circumstances and how you want to sell your house.
Ben Ainsworth, regional director of permanent broker Yopa in London, says: Start by looking at who has sold similar properties to yours in your region. It does not necessarily have to be in the same street, but in a small radius.
Some local experiences are essential when it comes to selling houses.
You may want to consider costs: how much do you want to spend? It is always wise to ask three agents for what price they sell your house before making a choice. Maybe you want to mix it up a bit – maybe you'll get an agent in the store and a hybrid.
Many sellers fall into the trap of going with the agent who thinks their home will sell for the highest amount, so ask agents what they actually sold, not what they currently offer.
Dig deeper to get a truer picture – ask what they have called a sold property and the strategy behind offering for that price.
Home sellers must select a broker who works for their personal circumstances
There is no point in going with an optimistic agent, but you want a clear strategy. They can say that they are going for a high price because they go for gold and if a buyer does not get the price within a few weeks, they will visit the price again.
Sellers should not be afraid to lower the price as long as they have had an honest conversation with the agent at the beginning of the process. Watch out for agents who guarantee a prize, because that's a pitch to win business instead of a strategy to sell your house.
The next step is to think about the person who will sell your house. Call the agent and speak to the person who will lead people around and negotiate on your behalf. How well do you make contact with them?
You entrust that person to your greatest asset, so it must be someone you believe in.
It is also worth thinking about the hours your agent is working. Buyers increasingly want to talk to people at every hour, so that those agents who are bound by the nine to five opportunities miss out.
Tech is making progress, so you want a diary system that buyers can log in and book, so they can see your home whenever they want. If there are too many barriers, potential buyers will simply continue and move on – you do not want to do too much with your house.