When it comes to selling your home, one of the most vital, if not the most vital, steps is choosing the right agent. While you are likely to be met with many agents promising you the world and sounding great on paper, this needs to be backed up with real-world performance.
In other words, agents need to walk the walk as well as they talk the talk. It is unfortunately the case that many agents overpromise and under-deliver, which will in turn have a detrimental effect on your sale.
Here, using our experience of operating in the busy South East London sales market, we outline what you need to look out for and ask when it comes to choosing an agent.
Ask lots of questions
Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions to the agent – you will, after all, be relying on them to sell most probably your biggest asset, so you need to be sure you can trust and depend on them.
It can help you to avoid choosing the wrong agent if you know the right questions to ask – from how much of a fee they’re charging to their sales to instruction ratio, the amount of stock they have for sale and how many transactions they have completed for asking price or above.
If an agent comes at you with statistics that seem particularly impressive or hard to believe, you may want to take them with a pinch of salt.
The dangers of overvaluing
While every seller wants to get the best possible price for their property, overvaluing a property can really harm the chances of a successful sale taking place.
When an agent overvalues a home, this can put potential buyers off and lead to no or few viewings, which makes the initial marketing period rather redundant. Soon enough, the price of the home has to be dropped to make it competitive, and this inevitably results in lower offers and sometimes properties taking longer to sell.
But you can ask certain questions to avoid this scenario. For example, check with the agent how many properties they have had to reduce in price. Equally, what are the reasons for valuing property at £X when two other agents valued it at £Y?
According to Rightmove’s report of our local area, on average agents in South East London reduce 40% of their stock on an annual basis, leading to many frustrated and disappointed sellers.
Understanding estate agent fees
Low fees might be appealing, but cheaper is not always better – and this is especially the case when it comes to estate agency.
Gut instinct might not sound very scientific, but it can be a good barometer for how well an agency will perform. If it feels like it could be a good partnership, and you get on well from the off, this shouldn’t be ignored.
A good agent will justify their fee – which by European and global standards is very low, in general, in the UK.
At the same time, gut instinct can also help you spot a bad agent. Often, as the saying goes, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Getting to grips with instruction to sold ratios
It’s a good idea to question your agent on how many properties they have instructed and, crucially, how many they have then sold.
To find out the instruction to sales ratio, you can divide the number of sales by the number of instructions and multiply by 100. It is amazing how easily figures can be manipulated to sound more impressive than they actually are – for example, if Agent Y has taken on 30 instructions last month but has had to reduce in price 50% of these, and only sold 30%, it suddenly doesn’t look so impressive.
How do Expose do things differently?
Here at Expose, we aim for a new way of selling your home in London and the South East, with a ground-breaking and fair fee structure, immersive marketing materials, and honest and transparent communication throughout, to ensure you’re getting the best possible service.
You can find out more about our pricing structure, our marketing strategies and how we go about selling your home, by clicking here.
When choosing an estate agent, local reputation, good communication and USPs to stand out from the crowd are all vitally important – and here at Expose we can provide all of those.
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