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Don’t choose your estate agent based on who offers the lowest fee

It’s vital you choose a good estate agent, so the cliché ‘you get what you pay for’ is so important when picking one. I always advise friends and family not to pick theirs based on who offers the lowest fee, as the cheaper option ends up costing the seller more. Any agent can sell a house, but a skilled one will be able to sell for a higher price.

 

Instead, property owners must focus on a variety of factors, which a higher commission should reflect. These include: 

 

Negotiation skills

Make sure your agent has the necessary skills to negotiate the best price for clients.

 

Marketing

Ask and understand an agent’s selling strategy, as they need to be doing more than advertising locally and on portals to attract interest. Buyers in Bath come from far and wide, including overseas. To ensure widespread exposure of our apartments for example, we also secure PR editorial in publications such as the Daily Telegraph and offer 360-degree virtual tours. Sophisticated presentation is also vital as it’s all about that good first impression. Have a look at their brochures, photographs, window displays and their website listings to check they are of a high standard. Ideally, they should be using a professional photographer to ensure their properties are looking the best they can.

 

Brand strength

Ensure your chosen agent has a good reputation, as it will be those firms which have established a high level of trust.

 

Pool of registered buyers

Ask about their database as you need to make sure they have access to a pool of ‘serious’ registered buyers for your type of property. For example, 100% of our buyers are looking for apartments, so this means that for anybody that sells their apartment through us, they automatically have access to buyers looking for such a property. We can often sell an apartment before it reaches the open market as a result. In fact 30% of our sales so far this year have been sold this way. 

 

Pricing

Don’t choose somebody because they are offering you the highest price. Instead, make sure they know how to value homes correctly. Ask them about how the micro markets within your local market are performing, to ensure they will implement an appropriate pricing strategy. This will give you an idea of their local expertise… Not all postcode districts within an area perform the same in terms of house price growth, so it’s really important that your property is not valued as one in a seller’s market, when actually you’re in a buyer’s market. You’ll only end up reducing the price more and more in order to sell.

 

Track Record

Do some research and make sure the agent can prove they are good at selling your type of property. Some are great at country houses or apartments, whilst others will be better at sub £500,000 level.

 

Local Expertise

A good agent will know their local market conditions, so will price and market your property correctly if they do.

 

Memberships

Ask agents if they are a part of a professional body such as the Guild of Professional Estate Agents or the National Association of Estate Agents. Members of each organisation voluntarily sign up to a code of practice and are generally trusted more than those who aren’t.