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7 Questions To Ask Property Consultants

Feb 15, 2008
f you're thinking of putting your home up for sale in the next few months, you should take your time to find the right estate agent.

Because the right agents - or property consultants as they are sometimes known - will not only ensure you get the right price for your house, but will make the process as hassle free and painless for you as possible.

You're looking for an agent with experience both in the local market and with countrywide property. They need to understand what makes a house sell in your area and why. And because anyone can set themselves up as an estate agent, it's vital they have a good reputation with past clients, and ideally some kind of accreditation.

Find a number of property consultants you like the look of. Here are seven questions to ask to help you draw up your own shortlist.

1. What schemes do you belong to?

There's no compulsory regulatory scheme for agents in the UK at the moment. If you and some friends wanted to set yourself up as property consultants tomorrow, there'd be nothing to stop you (apart from the costs of setting up and marketing a new business). So look for membership of schemes that require agents to work to certain standards and have clear measures to deal with complaints. The National Association of Estate Agents is one scheme, and the Ombudsman of Estate Agents is another. Don't take an agent's word that they belong - check directly with the association itself.

2. How much experience do you have in this market?

This is a roundabout way of asking how many houses they have sold in the last year, and how many of them were properties like yours. The way to test this knowledge is to ask how much similar properties went for, and especially why. Good property consultants won't have to scratch around for an answer; they will have studied their market and understand the broad factors that affect sale prices.

3. How much is my house worth and why?

Again, the why is the most critical part here. When property consultants value a home they are making an estimate, based on similar sales, the details of the house on offer, its location and condition. So challenge that estimate and ensure you are comfortable with the answers you are receiving.

4. How will you get a sale for my home?

Here you should be getting information on the marketing and viewing of your house. What marketing materials will they be preparing, and how will they be advertising the property? To ensure it reaches as many people as possible they should be advertising it in the local newspapers and putting it on as many property portals as they can. As for viewings, if you want to do them yourself, then insist on it. The best property consultants understand that passion for a property can help to sell it.

5. What kind of access will I have to you?

It's not only important to have a good relationship with your agent, you need to be able to speak to them regularly as well. If you are dealing with the owner of the firm, will you always be fobbed off with junior staff? Does your agent mind a call on their mobile at weekends if it's urgent? Establish these ground rules before you sign.

6. How much will you cost me?

Property consultants' fees vary from one per cent to 3% of the price. It might seem an unmoveable fixed fee, but many agents are open to haggling - after all they want to earn something rather than nothing. A slowing property market gives you the seller more power over agents. Get any fee agreements in writing before you sign up.

7. Tell me why I should pick you over your competitors

This is a cheeky question to ask, but will reveal the confident agents who really want to work with you.
About the Author
For more about property consultants try the following property website http://www.propertytoday.co.uk
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