What's most important to you when choosing an estate agent to sell your home?
Value for money?
Amazing marketing, online and offline?
A proactive, passionate approach to your property's future?
In truth, you should be looking for all of that and much more.
So, how can you be sure your estate agent will do everything you need and get you moving?
Smart questions to ask your estate agent when selling your property
We fully understand that selling your home is an emotional time, as much as it might be a necessity for you to take the next step on your property journey.
And when emotion comes into play, it's easy to forget or neglect to find out a key piece of information about an estate agent's service, or their methods.
A little bit of planning ahead can help and we've drawn up a list of the most important questions to ask your estate agent when selling your home to get you started...
1. What do you charge?
Estate agency has changed a lot thanks to the influx of digital.
And that has meant many agents having to be a little more flexible in the commission they charge.
In most cases, though, you find the answer to this question is a percentage of the sale price your home achieves.
Make sure your agent is clear on whether their fees are inclusive of VAT or not - if they sell your property for £400,000 on a 1% commission that would be £4,000 owed in fees.
With VAT on top, however, it will be £4,800.
2. Are there any other costs?
Your agent should always be up front about any other potential costs.
The first thing to establish is the commission is based on a no sale, no fee contract - which means if your agent doesn't sell your home, you don't have to pay.
Some agents will offer lower commission rates, but on a fixed fee basis so you still have to pay even if your property remains unsold.
Check, also, whether there are additional costs for a 'For Sale' board, or professional marketing photographs and a floorplan.
3. What kind of contract will I be on?
The types of contract on offer from estate agents do vary, so make sure you're signing the right one for you.
A sole selling rights contract means your property can only be marketed by one agent for a fixed period of time and, even if you sell your home yourself, you would still have to pay that agent's commission.
A sole agency contract is similar to a sole selling rights contract in that your property can only be marketed by one agent for a fixed time.
Finally, a multiple agency contract means you can engage more than one agent to sell your home and the one who does gets paid. However, while you might gain more exposure for your home, you will also almost certainly pay more in commission with this kind of contract.
4. How long am I tied in for?
With a sole agency or sole selling rights agreement, you will be contracted to one agent for a certain period of time.
Usually, this period is 12 weeks with a two-week notice period, but it can vary.
What this tie-in period means is, if you are unhappy with your agent and ask another to sell your property, doing so would mean you paying two sets of commission.
5. How do you plan to market my home?
Twenty years ago, estate agent marketing was all about newspaper ads and window displays.
Now it's about three things: Zoopla, Rightmove and OnTheMarket.
A massive percentage of buyers start their search for a new home online, so make sure your agent is marketing your property on the three main portals.
They should offer a professional photographic service, too, because how your house looks online will determine how many people come to view it.
But the older marketing techniques still have a place, too.
So, ask your agent what other plans they have to attract buyers to your door.
6. How long do homes like mine take to sell?
Of course, this is a difficult question for anyone to answer.
But a good agent should be able to reel off a history of similar properties they've sold in the area.
This information will prove they know the local market and have experience of selling properties like your, so it's key information for you as a seller.
7. What are your opening hours?
This might seem less important in an age where online property searches can be done 24/7.
But if your agent isn't open when most people like to view homes, namely on weekends and in the early evening post-work, you'll be struggling for viewings from day one.
8. How would you recommend I stage my home?
Your estate agent isn't simply in place to market and (hopefully) sell your home.
They should be able to provide advice and guidance on things like staging based on their experience of selling similar homes.
They should also be honest - even if you might not like the answer.
9. Which redress scheme do you belong to?
Estate agents have to be registered with a complaints body to be legally compliant.
The two agency redress schemes are:
* The Property Ombudsman
* The Property Redress Scheme
Ask your agent which one they are with and find out details of how you can contact them should there be a problem.
10. Can you recommend solicitors, removals firms or surveyors?
A good agent should have a list of trusted property sale services like conveyancers and surveyors.
Having good recommendations from your agent will save you time searching and trawling through review websites, so do ask who they would suggest you use to get you moving quickly.
Are you selling your home? CJ Hole has branches all over the South West and South Wales. Contact your local branch and one of our sales experts will be happy to help.