8 mins read
Selling your house can be a daunting task, especially if you have never done it before. There are lots of things to consider such as when you want to have it sold by, where you are going to be moving to, what price you are going to get and how the conveyancing process works.
On top of that you also need to find an estate agent that you trust and can get you the best price. This post will show you what questions to ask estate agents in order to filter out the bad and instruct a good one.
In general, using an estate agent to help with the selling process can give you a very useful sounding board as to how to present the house for photos and viewings, value the property accurately as well as guiding you through the conveyancing process once they have also found a buyer for your property.
However, instructing an estate agent can be a difficult process in itself. There are over 17,000 estate agents actively listing properties in the UK alone and for your particular area there may be anything from 10 active local estate agents up to a couple of hundred if you are living in a relatively urban area. Picking the right estate agent to sell your property will determine how quickly your property sells and most importantly at what price.
As with all things, it’s often easier to avoid bad experiences by narrowing down the list of potential estate agents you take into consideration. Using past property sales data we can show you which estate agents have performed the best in your local area.
The data will show you up to six estate agents, their market share, selling time, percentage of the asking price achieved and the fees they charge. You can also book in a free valuation with them at the click of a button.
Questions to Ask Estate Agents
That being said, when the estate agents come out to value your property there are a few must-ask questions. We have compiled a list of things that are useful to ask estate agents:
Can you show me comparable properties you have sold in my area?
This question may seem obvious but it’s surprising how many homeowners don’t check to see when estate agents last sold properties in their area. Having a good local market share will result in more buyers enquiring with the estate agent and also lead to a quicker sale. You can check the list of agents with the highest market share by punching in your postcode here.
What asking price do you achieve on a sale on average?
This is one of the most important questions to ask estate agents. In order to evaluate how good an estate agent is at valuing your home, ask them what percentage of the asking price they achieve on average. If they get close to 100% it means that they are on average valuing accurately.
Overvaluing your home can lead to a lengthy selling process as potential buyers will not even see your home when they put in their price ranges on the property portals. So don’t fall for the agent that promises you a very high price only to find that you will have to reduce the asking price after a few weeks or months because there is little buying interest.
If you want to verify what the estate agent tells you, check out our free comparison service. We compare all estate agents’ listings to the official selling prices on the land registry.
How long does it take to sell properties with you?
Great estate agents will tell you how quickly they sell property. Having the marketing materials and professional photos ready can really get buyers interested in your house. However, beware of the double edged sword of quick selling estate agents.If they sell much *quicker than the average in the area, it could mean that they are actually just getting homeowners to accept the first offer that comes through. In some cases it’s worth holding out a little longer to see if someone else is willing to put in a higher bid.
Does the estate agent hold open houses?
Open houses can be a great way to attract buyers and get them bidding for your property. There’s nothing like a bit of competition between potential buyers and having them all view the property on the same day can drive a bit of ‘fear of missing out’ and spark a bidding war. Whilst this viewing method works best in urban areas, it can also work elsewhere and it is definitely worth asking the estate agent if that is something that they offer.
Who will conduct the viewings?
If the estate agent doesn’t hold open houses, it’s important to see who will conduct the viewings.There is nothing worse than having an *inexperienced negotiator who has never set foot in your home try and sell it to a prospective buyer. Make sure that they know specifics about your property such as EPC ratings, council tax bands and the local amenities. The viewing experience needs to be top notch, whilst any stumbling blocks will give the potential buyer a reason not to put an offer in.
What are your estate agency fees and charges?
It’s important to know upfront what the estate agent will expect for helping you through the selling process. Make sure you get them to commit to a fee and remember that often estate agents will not quote the fee including VAT. So you may have to add 20% on top. Moreover, don’t forget to ask them whether the estate agent charges for extras such as EPCs, Floorplans, professional photos etc.
That being said a good estate agent is worth the money as they may be able to get you a higher price by getting buyers bidding for your property and therefore leave you with more money in your pocket even after their fee has been paid.
Getting an upfront sales fee quote from any of your local estate agents is relatively easy and can be done at the click of a button, check out our free estate agent fee checker.
How often will you communicate and update me?
There is nothing more frustrating than having a prospective buyer view your home and then not receiving timely feedback from the estate agent. Make sure you ask them upfront how often they will provide updates. Also don’t hesitate to let them know that regular communication and feedback is important to you. If a prospective buyer is put off by something that is within your control, how are you going to know if the estate agent does not communicate that to you?
Can I see a copy of your contract in advance?
This is probably the second most important of questions to ask estate agents. When the estate agent does a valuation of your property, do ask if they can also bring a sample copy of the contract that you would sign on instruction. That way you can read through the terms beforehand and flag up anything you aren’t happy with before instruction. Often agents will try and sneak in something that may not work in your best interest.
Look out for whether the estate agent wants a tie-in period and check to see whether other local agents have a length to avoid being tied to one estate agent for too long. This is especially important if the estate agent turns out to be underperforming. Tie-in periods vary depending on your local area. Some estate agents offer no tie-in whilst in some areas the tie-in can be up to 6 months.
Mostly tie-in periods are linked to the average selling time in your local area (our free comparison service will show you average fees and selling times and market share of your local estate agents). But that doesn’t mean that you can’t negotiate the tie-in period away.
Checking contracts before you’ve made a decision on which estate agent to instruct will save you time and effort down the line.
Final points after you’ve asked these questions to estate agents
Whilst you can have as many questions to ask estate agents as you like ahead of instructing them, there can still be problems that creep up afterwards. In those cases your best bet will be to get in touch with the estate agent and voice your concerns with the Sales Manager or Branch Manager directly in a polite manner. If things don’t get resolved, you can lodge a formal complaint (in writing preferably) as the next step. It may also be worth checking out The Property Ombudsman which all estate agents are required to be a part of.
All in all, asking as many of these questions ahead will possibly save you a lot of time and hassle when selling your house. The right estate agent will make your property sale a breeze.
Bonus Tip: Ask the Estate Agent questions without giving your name
Here at GetAgent we try to make everything as transparent as possible when it comes to selling your home. That’s why we offer an anonymising call forwarding number if you prefer to speak to the estate agents on the phone before your valuation. You can sound them out over the phone and you don’t need to leave them any of your personal details. Best of all, it’s completely free and you get the call details instantly!
Compare Local Estate Agents
See which agents will do the best job of selling your home.
Purplebricks review: We delve deeper into the online estate agent4 May 2019
“Traditional estate agents have charged too much, for too little, for too long,” Purplebricks says on its website. It’s a sentiment *shared by many modern homeowners and sellers,* who are increasingly turning to online estate agents to cut out the middle man and save on the sale of their property. And when it comes to Purplebricks, **the figures are pretty impressive** - the company claims it sells three times more homes than any other estate agent in the UK, but [our research found that they just sell around 50% of the properties they list](https://www.getagent.co.uk/labs/online-agents?utm_source=blog&utm_content=pbreview) on their website. At GetAgent, we think *homeowners should be armed with all of the necessary information before choosing an estate agent,* which is why we’re taking a closer look at Purplebricks, and advising on whether it’s the best online estate agent for your family’s circumstances… ## **How does Purplebricks work?** Like other leading *online estate...
Estate agents fees, what are you paying for3 May 2019
Once you’ve decided that you want to sell your property, the next step is to think about the right estate agent. Understandably, *many homeowners pick the cheapest estate agent on the market* to save them a pretty penny, whilst others take the sale of their property into their own hands and list with an online estate agent, with some promising to help sell your home for less than £1,000. Understanding agent fees before you make a decision is important. The truth is, **estate agent fees can vary enormously from city to city,** and there can be huge discrepancies between high street estate agents operating in the same region. Therefore, it’s important to understand **exactly what your agent fees cover**, to ensure you’re getting *good value for money* and sell your home without having to hand over a fortune to your agent. To help you understand **estate agent fees**, we’ve put...
When is the best time to sell your house in the UK?2 May 2019
If you’re thinking about **selling your house**, then the chances are that you’ve asked whether it’s the right time of year to put it on the market. There are tonnes of myths about the best time of year to sell, but the truth is that each region and property is different, and there is *no one-size-fits-all solution* or date that will help you to sell your home in break-neck speed. Having said that, though, savvy homeowners should take note of quiet times for the market and decide when to list their property *based on demand.* If your home goes on the market too soon, you could get lost in the crowd when the market recovers, making it harder to sell. Below, we attempt to answer “when is the best time to sell a house in the UK?”... ## **Spring comes out on top** The rumours are true. Statistically, **spring** is...
Yopa Review: We review the online estate agent so you don’t have to1 May 2019
Online estate agent Yopa has exploded in popularity in recent years as homeowners choose to move away from high street agents and manage the sale of their property online, in an attempt to save money. According to Savills, [Yopa is now the UK’s sixth biggest estate agent](https://www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2019/3/savills-reports-to-shareholders-after-yopa-and-acquisition-speculation), growing their *market share* in challenging conditions as the housing market stagnates. At GetAgent, we’re passionate about helping homeowners find the **best estate agent for their property** to help them sell fast and get the asking price they deserve, so we decided to take a *closer look at Yopa*, and advise whether it’s the right option for your circumstances… ## **How does Yopa work?** Although some **online estate agents** allow you to list your property online immediately, Yopa works a little bit differently, requiring you to book a free valuation of your property. A member of the Yopa team will *visit your property,*...
How do I change/switch estate agent?1 May 2019
If your property has **been on the market for months with little to no interest,** then the chances are you’ll be considering whether your estate agent is *doing their job properly.* You may even come to a point when you decide to **stop working with them and look for another provider,** either because you’re dissatisfied with their performance or they’re not responsive enough. Unfortunately, though, *switching or changing your estate agent isn’t as always as simple as it may seem*, with many homeowners tied into contracts with a particular agent for a **minimum period** - or worse still, tied into **fixed-fee agreements** that mean they’ll have to pay the agent, whatever happens. Below, we share more information on *how to switch successfully…* ## **Considerations before switching** Before you switch, you should **take a good look through your agreement** with your estate agent to understand your position and rights. Most agents...
How to use data to sell your house faster30 Apr 2019
Nowadays, data is everything. From trying to game the algorithm on Instagram to get more likes, to calculating every step and movement we make on our Apple Watch - we’re all pretty obsessed with numbers, helping us to quantify our lives and understand the world around us. The same is true in the property world. Your **asking price is not the only number that will help** you sell your house faster. There are lots of ways to increase the appeal of your home and get more potential buyers through the door and increase the likelihood of a quick completion. Below, we’ve rounded up just some of the ways to use data to sell your home faster… ## **Compare estate agents** If you’re not sure which estate agent to choose, or you’re considering listing your property for sale online, **it can be tough to make your final decision.** We’re witnessing a...
How to save money moving home20 Apr 2019
Moving home is inevitably going to cost money, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reduce the amount you would have been charged. With some effective preparation and planning, you can **avoid costly estate agent fees**, make some money off unwanted items and find the best deals possible to save money moving house. ## **Declutter** Decluttering before a move is just one of many [moving house tips](https://www.comparemymove.com/blog/residential/moving-house-tips/) you should follow. Give yourself **enough time before the move to declutter**, especially if you are downsizing. Go through each room *one at a time* and get rid of anything you haven’t used or needed recently. This will significantly lighten your load, saving you time when it comes to packing and money when it comes to your removal company calculating the volume and resulting cost of your move. When you declutter, try avoid simply throwing your items away unless they are broken or significantly...
How to sell your London home quickly19 Apr 2019
A large number of factors dictate **the time it takes to sell a flat or house** within the M25 and beyond. These include the *current state of the market, the type of property, whether it is leasehold or freehold home, how long is remaining on the lease, whether the sale is to a cash buyer and even the time of year* the property is launched on the market. As a very rough guide, it takes between **11 and 15 weeks to complete a property sale in London** after it has been listed with an estate agent, according to London property sales specialist Plaza Estates. This includes the average of between **three and four weeks the property spends on the market.** But this time can fall to 4-6 weeks if it is a cash deal for a freehold property. In a sellers’ market – when demand for property outstrips the number...
House prices: the brexit effect7 Apr 2019
We’re now six years in to what can be termed the ‘Brexit period’ – the time between David Cameron’s fateful announcement of his clear intention to hold an EU referendum in February 2013 and now. ## **Brexit, markets and house prices** **Markets hate uncertainty** and even more so, political unrest. Entering into the abyss of a political, economic and social dynamic that is new and uncertain would be bad enough however add to that a multi-factional disagreement within our political class and with increasing *anxiety, protests, u-turns and fibs* – coupled with attempts to overthrow the Prime Minister herself, and what you have is a cocktail of Kryptonite, nitro-glycerine and gunpowder fuelled, of course by the oxygen of a relentless, **headline grabbing media.** Logic and history tell us that. as a consequence of the foregoing, the UK should be on its knees with begging bowl in hand asking the IMF...
Five tips for first time home-sellers20 Mar 2019
Move over first time buyers, you’ve had the lime light for far too long… now its the “First Time Sellers” turn! With ample tips and tricks for first time buyers, even seminars and free (yes, thats not a typo… FREE) advice workshops available, first time sellers do not have the same prelividges as first time buyers, but are still trying to navigate the property mine field & this time with even more to lose… £1000’s of THEIR investment! I spoke with a 71yr old lady recently **who is earning her “First Time Seller” Brownie Badge** this year, having never moved house & *still living in the home she was born in,* married in and lost her husband in… and she’s not alone. As an ex-first time buyer and a soon to be first time seller, Its occurred to me that the help available for newbies is somewhat limited. So, as...
True costs of moving home5 Mar 2019
Selling your home to buy a small cottage by the sea may seem like a dream, but with the **costs of moving rising,** it is no surprise that the little cottage may just stay a dream for a lot longer than you’d have liked. **Moving home can be expensive!** From *estate agent fees, EPC costs, additional deposit for the new property, survey costs, stamp duty, legal fees, removal costs, gas safety checks, domestic disconnections (and reconnections!)* and even a change of locks – All of these aspects **do not come cheaply!** ## **Estate Agent Fees** Unlike when you purchased your first home – you now have an additional cost: Estate Agent fees! For the UK, the **average agency fee is 1.3%** of the sale value but can range *up to 3.5%.* Additionally, these fees do not include VAT so ensure you add this on. [Comparing fees](https://www.getagent.co.uk/i/compare-agents/?utm_source=blog&utm_content=truecostmovinghome) early on will allow...
What to ask to estate agents5 Mar 2019
Selling your house can be a daunting task, especially if you have never done it before. There are lots of things to consider such as when you want to have it sold by, where you are going to be moving to, what price you are going to get and how the conveyancing process works. On top of that you also need to find an estate agent that you trust and can get you the best price. This post will show you what questions to ask estate agents in order to filter out the bad and instruct a good one. In general, using an estate agent to help with the selling process can give you a very useful sounding board as to how to present the house for photos and viewings, value the property accurately as well as guiding you through the conveyancing process once they have also found a buyer...