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Selling Property: Using Estate Agents

Once you have decided to sell your property, you are inevitably faced with the choice of attempting to sell it yourself or appointing an estate agent. Most of us have little or no experience in selling property and use of an estate agent is highly recommended. The main thing is to choose the right estate agent. The right estate agent will help you get the best price possible for your property and hopefully help you sell your property in a reasonably short period of time.

When selecting an estate agent, approach as many agents as possible in your local area. You will need to ask them the following:

  • What is your property currently worth?
  • What are the agents fees?
  • What will the agent do for his fees?
  • What additional charges are there for brochures and advertising?
  • What is the extent of their coverage? i.e. are they a national estate agent and hence be able to advertise nationally
  • Do they specialize in certain types of property? i.e. do they specialize in premium executive houses

When deciding on your final choice of agent you must be sure that the agent is able to get the best price for you and be able to sell it as soon as is possible. Ideally, the estate agent you choose will be FRICS (Fellow of the Royal Institute of chartered surveyors), meaning that the estate agent is well qualified. The estate agent should know the market well, especially the area where your property is located in. Other things to look out for are size, the ability to market your property well and a team of good reliable staff. Check that the estate agent advertise properties regularly in the local press and these days they should have a good internet presence (this may mean having a good quality web site of their own or they advertise in one of the big national or even international property web sites.) As a general rule, you should choose the best and most reputable estate agent possible; not necessarily the cheapest.

Estate agents generally charge around 1% to 2% of the value of your property + VAT. However, in London a fee of 2½% is quite common.

When buying properties, you may sometimes have noticed some properties have been advertised at several estate agents. This is for the purpose of getting the property sold quickly only and not necessarily for the best price possible. If you want a good price as well as selling quickly, you should not advertise at more than one estate agent at the same time, nor advertise at an estate agent and try to promote the sale of the property yourself. It is feasible though to let one estate agent advertise your property for a fixed time scale say 3 months then trying another estate agent after this period.

In general, estate agents are trying to sell as many properties as quickly as possible and they may not quote you the best price you can get for your property. This is not to say estate agents are being unprofessional in their approach. They are working to the realities of their business and it is better for them to sell as many properties as possible rather than hold out for the best price possible for properties which would reduce their sales turnover. The commission on an extra few thousand pounds is nothing compared to selling more properties for the estate agent. However for you the seller, an extra few thousand can make a world of difference. If you really want the best price, ask several different estate agents for a valuation on your property. Their assessments can vary greatly. If an estate agent is quoting you a value far below your expectations, talk to another estate agent.

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