Whether you are buying or selling a house, highly likely you will have to deal with an estate agent. Their reputation generally is not great, but here are some tips to try to improve the experience.
TIPS IF YOU ARE BUYING
1) Register with an estate agent
If you want to make house hunting less stressful and less time consuming it’s worth to register with as many estate agents as possible, as you don’t need to pay anything, and you increase the chances to find the right property quicker. Obviously, you could hire the services of a buying agent, but that is something different, but worth considering, but comes with a price tag.
2) Keep your eyes open
The traditional agents are salesman, and that means that exaggeration might be part of the game. So, take that into consideration and do not trust them blindly. Although an estate agent works for the seller, they cannot mislead you, this is a legal obligation. So, make sure you check out yourself any claims the estate agent makes.
3) Research the mortgage broker
Generally, when you register with an estate agent, they will try to help you find a mortgage broker. There are two reasons for that. First, they want to make sure you can afford the houses you are interested in, so they do not completely waste their time, and second, very likely they will get a commission. There is nothing terribly wrong in accepting the estate agent suggestion, but make sure the mortgage broker is independent, who has access to all the deals on the market that better suits your situation.
4) Consider the agents legal or surveyor recommendations
The estate agents’ recommendations are likely to be good, as generally, they have agreements with reputable professionals, and you might be better off in terms of price, rather than searching yourself for one. Obviously, you must still ensure that the solicitor belongs to the relevant Law Society, and the surveyors belong to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. A good tactic is to check their prices against others you might find yourself.
5) Have a good relationship with your estate agent
You do not need to go for coffee or for dinner with the estate agent, but you need to get the estate agent on your side to receive the best suggestions possible. Because the property market can be a competitive environment, you want the estate agent to have you on his mind once there is a suitable property. Getting the first call and being the first to see the property could be crucial to find your ideal home. So, the best way to get the estate agent on your side is to make sure your finances are well organized and you have a fast response viewing the properties. Being serious about buying is essential to get the best out of your estate agent.
TIPS IF YOU ARE SELLING
Selling a property on your own its always an option, but there are many benefits in using a good estate agent. Choose your estate agent carefully and read the small print on the contract before signing.
1) The price should be just right
Higher prices mean higher commissions, but if the price is too high according to the market conditions, means fewer viewings and less interest, and possibly no sale. In general, if there is no sale after 3 to 4 months, the price will need to be lowered, and in the meantime, you lost time. And the problem with some of the big names in the market is, they are so busy and if your house does not sell quickly, they will lose interest in your property. It is crucial to choose the right agent, the one who will be relentless at selling your home.
2) Shop around for an agent
The best way to choose tradesman and professionals is by personal recommendation. The same applies to estate agents. If you do not have a recommendation, the best way to do this is to shop around and do some research. Do not be impressed by the fancy offices and the glossy adverts on magazines. Generally, they are not the best ones. Choose two or three agents, invite them to see your home, and the one you pick has to be the one you prefer personally. If you are based in Kensington and Chelsea, possibly the best agent around is me, but in the end, you have to choose the one you see yourself working with.
3) Don’t lose your patience too fast
If your home is not selling as fast as you would like, it is easy to blame the agent, but you really need to consider the current market conditions, the price and the condition of the property, including the decoration. Although in many cases the agents are not too motivated, but if he is a good one, you have to give him a chance and have an honest conversation about what is the best way forward. When it comes to selling, your agent is the expert. A good estate agent should be able to advise on what needs to be done to make sure your house gets sold, setting the right price and for example staging the property.
4) Let your agent do the viewings
The perfect agent will be able to sell the property as if it was his own and know everything about the house and the area. And if it is a local resident without a doubt, you should let him do the viewings.
5) Drop him if you find him useless
If the agent seems not to be able to sell the house, and you think there is no reason for that, you should drop him, as it means he is useless. Make sure your agent is passionate about his job, has a strong work ethic and can offer you total access to him and his team. He needs to be able to give maximum exposure to your house and be able to use creative ways of selling, like social media. Right now, he should be able to deal with the whole process of the sale remotely, like remote valuations and virtual viewings. The present situation is not ideal, but hopefully, things will change in the near future, in the meantime, we need to cope with what is available and possible.