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Helpful Hints For Finding The Right Estate Agent

May 22, 2008
Most of us when we decide to sell our home will utilise the services of an estate agent. Your choice is of ultimate importance as the wrong agent can result in your house sitting on the market for a long period of time, or even losing thousands in the eventual selling price. But what are the factors to remember when hiring an estate agent? Here are some helpful hints to aid your choice.

The first thing to remember is that the valuation given by an estate agent is not completely valid. An agent is not qualified to give valuations; a surveyor is needed, especially when applying for mortgages or insurance. Your estate agent will however arrive at a figure factoring in the area you are situated, the quality of your home and the current market situation. It is usually worth getting more than one valuation as they can vary immensely. It is usually worth questioning an estate agent's valuation, ultimately the agent wants to make a profit so the valuation may be either low or high depending upon their preferred technique of selling properties.

Typically the agent will charge a commission between 1.5 and 4 percent of the eventual sale price. Rates will vary from agent to agent but it is worth remembering that a cheap price does not always mean a great deal. Services bear a direct relation to price so it may be worth paying extra to receive a better service. Often forgotten is the fact that VAT will also be added on to the commission, this will be 17.5 percent of the commission and can be a considerable amount of money depending on the sale price of your home. Remember that commission, like most things in life, is negotiable, if you are not happy with the price; negotiate.

Your estate agency should undertake a number of responsibilities when you are in the process of selling your property. They should take the photos of your home for the selling literature; this is important and if you do not feel it shows off your property's selling points, further consultation is advisable. Your agency should also perform the advertising of your property utilising their shop window, the internet and the local press. It is also their responsibility to organise the appointments for prospective buyers to view your home.

It is normally worth hiring an estate agent after a personal recommendation. Ask friends if they have used a particular agent's services and whether they would use them again, this can be a vital resource. Finding the right agent is like recruiting so interview a few and get an idea of their relative understanding of the local area and property market. As part of this process you should also be able to judge whether you trust the estate agent, if you cannot trust them or do not feel comfortable with them, how do you think your prospective buyers will feel? Also, enquire if they are a member of a national body, those who have certification are often unlikely to hoodwink you, this is the best way to avoid unscrupulous operators.

It is important never to assume anything with your estate agent, find out and understand every step in the process to ensure you remain in control. As part of this it is usually worth receiving any relevant information in writing at all stages, this aids transparency to operations and helps you to understand the current situation. Remember to pay your fees on time.

While this is only a brief advisory article in hiring estate agents, it should provide you with the knowledge to find the agent that is perfect for you. Remember that if you are unhappy with your agency at any time, you can change and find a better one. Communicate and consult with your agent regularly to ensure that the process is kept as transparent as possible.
About the Author
Real estate expert Thomas Pretty advises sellers on how to find the best estate agent to sell their property.
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