How to Choose an Estate Agent

08th December 2023

So, you may be wondering how to choose an estate agent. If you are embarking on your home-buying journey, simply looking to rent or thinking of selling your home, then it is essential that you choose a reliable Estate Agent to guide you.

Here at JonSimon, we are the go-to estate agents in the North West. Our award-winning team of estate agents have the best local knowledge of North West properties, and we have offices for our estate agents in Burnley, Radcliffe & Ramsbottom.

This article delves into what makes a reliable estate agent and how to choose one.

How to Choose an Estate Agent: First Steps

For your first steps when embarking on your property journey, it is important to set out some clear goals. Firstly, begin by understanding what your needs and requirements are.

Once you have established your basic needs, you will need to deeply consider your location and property type preferences if you are a buyer, seller or renter.

The Groundwork: Do Your Research

Good research into the business background is vital when choosing an estate agent.

Wondering how to choose an estate agent when you haven’t worked with them before? Speak to your friends, family or even colleagues in the area for their advice and recommendations. They will be able to offer some guidance on how their experience with certain estate agents went to help you make a better-informed decision.

On top of this, if you’re seeking estate agents in your local area then keep your eyes peeled for sold or for sale signs nearby, as this can indicate which estate agents are close by.

Another useful method in securing a reliable estate agent is to read online reviews, especially on platforms for customer reviews such as allAgents. This will give you more detailed information from past clients on which estate agent might be best for you.

During your research, you should check that the estate agent holds the right professional associations and certifications. Your estate agent must be a member of the Property Ombudsman or the Property Redress Scheme. This means that any complaints against them can be independently investigated.

In addition, some estate agents will be members of trade bodies that can indicate a higher level of professionalism and diligence, such as the National Association of Estate Agents and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Potential Estate Agents: What to Ask

Once you have created a shortlist of estate agents to screen, you should give them a ring and ask some basic questions to help you make an informed decision. Try to gain a feel for how enthusiastic they sound and if they appear to have a good level of experience buying, selling or renting in your area.

If you are selling it is useful to find an estate agent that has a track record of selling properties that are similar to yours. 

Some useful questions to ask during the call, if you are selling, are:

  • Have they recently sold any other properties in the area?
  • How quickly do you sell properties like mine?
  • How will the property be advertised?
  • Which property portals do they use?
  • What are their fees, and are there any other costs?
  • What type of contracts do they offer?
  • Who will conduct viewings?

Remember when you are interviewing an estate agent it is important to check if they come across as sincere and knowledgeable. Also, you should be suspicious of estate agents who are charging less than 1% because there’s usually a negative reason why they’re so cheap.

Extra Steps: Additional Precautions You Can Take

When selecting a reputable estate agent, you need to verify their licenses and qualifications and asses their previous success rates. As well as this, you should gauge client satisfaction through references.

A reputable estate agent will be able to provide you with substantial references and positive feedback from previous customers.  If they cannot provide you with this then this is a major red flag.

When you’re buying or selling a home, you should have a budget in mind, or target price for selling your property. A huge red flag is when your real estate agent doesn’t respect your budget or financial goals

Final Steps: Engaging Your Chosen Estate Agent

Once you have selected an estate agent, it is important for them to be transparent about fees and commissions. Find out how much they will be charging.

The average estate agent fee in the UK is 1.18% for a sole agency agreement. 

It is useful to understand the typical estate agent fees in the UK. Estate agents tend to charge a percentage fee anywhere between 0.9% and 3.6% of the agreed selling price for your home depending on the type of contract.

Where possible, you should attempt to negotiate the commission rates. The percentage of commission fee you pay will likely depend on whether you are appointing a sole agent.

Opting for a sole agency will mean a lower fee, but you will only have one agent to market your property. If you choose to appoint multiple agents then only the successful one will get the commission. Therefore, they will seek a higher commission due to the risk of their competitor selling the property and getting the fee.

Remember that a good estate agent should move quickly. This means that you should be receiving frequent communication from them.

Reviewing Legal Contracts

On top of asking agents about fees, it’s critical to review your contract terms. Notably, you should pay close attention to the sole agency lock-in period. These terms might stop you from going to another agent if things don’t go to plan.

Another legal factor you also need to keep an eye out for is sole selling rights.

If your contract enables your estate agent sole selling rights, then think carefully before signing. If you sign then the estate agent in the contract is the only agent or person allowed to sell your home during the period agreed. This means that you will have to pay that estate agent even if you find your own buyer.

Choose an Estate Agent You Can Trust. Call JonSimon today.

We hope you now have a better understanding of how to choose an estate agent and understand why we at JonSimon pride ourselves on our excellent reputation with clients in Lancashire. With brilliant testimonials and 5-star reviews, Jon Simon estate agents can guide you through every step of your property buying, selling or renting process, with our end-to-end service.

We have accreditations from the National Association of Estate Agents and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, making us an excellent estate agent of choice.

Get in touch with us today – we would love to assist you.

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