How to choose your estate agent - Sales & Letting?
With so many estate agents here on the Isle of Wight its understandable why people struggle to choose what agent is right for them! It's most probably the most common question I get asked, therefore in this blog I will try to cover all the most common questions I get for both selling and letting.....this is important as there is a different decision to be made between the two!
Where do I start? - My advice would be to invite 3 or 4 agents out to give you a valuation on your home (no more than 4!!!). The reasoning for this is as you will find out every agent works in their own unique way and will have varying opinions on your home and the methods in which to sell. No doubt after the 3/4 valuations you will have various different valuations that hopefully are in the same ball park, have an understanding on how the best method to market your home is and what the market is like at that time.
Do I go with the highest valuation? - ABSOLUTELY NOT! This is a common trick of the trade from agents, overvalue to get you on the market fixing you into a higher sales fee then three weeks into your contract phoning you to lower the price. My advice would be to ask each agent that values your home to give you justification of their realistic selling price valuation, if the agent has correctly valued your home they should be able to explain in detail what your home is worth and why. This information should be based on your direct area, not 1 mile radius, your direct post code area. From there you should be able to gauge what agents have taken serious time into market research of your home and will be able to make an informed decision on who you feel most comfortable with.
What websites are important to advertise on? - Essentially the more websites you are on the better for coverage, however the most important to you are in the following order;
Rightmove - The leading property portal, allowing thousands of people all round the world to view your home. This portal puts your home GLOBALLY not just within the UK.
Zoopla - The second largest search portal. Although popular not all agents on the Isle of Wight use Zoopla, therefore choosing an agent that DOES NOT use Zoopla is giving you a substantial downturn in visibility meaning you may well be missing out on your potential buyer!
OnTheMarket - A British property portal which launched in 2015. Even though this is a relatively new site, its booming in popularity with the amount of promoting they are doing. Its a great platform for people to access your property details throughout the UK. As per Zoopla not all agents advertised on OnTheMarket therefore you are not getting the market reach you should.
All in all, my advice would be the ensure the agent you choose advertises on ALL portals, ensuring no stone is left unturned in the marketing of your home.
Is local advertising important? - In other parts of the UK local advertising is not necessarily incredibly important, however on this Isle of Wight it's definitely a must! On countless occasions we have found positive results with marketing locally. Whether it be via the County Press, IOW radio or local premises we have found local marketing important for our business. I go back to previously mentioned 'leaving no stone unturned', essentially the more places your agent markets the better!
Does a London office make a difference? - NO! Again this is a commonly used trick of the trade by agents to entice you into using their company. Red Squirrel are actually one of very few/if any that have direct REAL links to central and north London with real physical offices. However we never promote a London office as there has never been a time when an individual goes into a London office and asks to buy a house on the Isle of Wight, this is completely false advertising. What agents indeed have when they say a London office is purely just a paid subscription to a telephone line. What London individuals do when looking for a home anywhere out of the city, is to log on to the Rightmove/Zoopla/OnTheMarket and search for exactly what they want and up to what price all over the UK.
Do I go with the cheapest fee? - I will keep this one simple for you, you get what you pay for. If an agent is in your home and negotiates on their own fee in the short time you have spent with them already, what do you think they will do with the negotiation on the sale price of your home? To achieve the BEST POSSIBLE PRICE for your home do not fall foul for just going for the cheapest option. It has been proven time & time again that actually the cheapest agents do not achieve anywhere near the same average asking prices on your home as they have the same negotiation tactics as they did the first time you met them when lowering their fees in half an hour to you. The best way to choose is to simply follow the instructions above, do not focus so much on the fee (unless excessive), focus more on what you are getting from that agent. Focus on elements such as where are they advertising, how qualified are their team, do they actually have the relevant experience in selling/letting homes and do they know how to look after your property. Here at Red Squirrel we keep it nice and simple for our sellers, just 1.25% of sale price and that includes absolutely everything in selling your home, no hidden add on' costs!
All of above and QUIZ! - Most of the above still applies, however do not be afraid to quiz the agents you have out. You want to be confident the agent you choose is actually competent at letting/managing a property, do not just fall for the best sales pitch! It is far more important that the agent you choose has a clear understanding of the legalities involved with letting (and is able to explain these in full), practicality and explain in detail how the letting process will work. Also a little note, ensure there are no hidden add on costs, you want to know exactly in total how much it will cost to let your home including every legality.
Written by Charlie Panayi