03 Jun 2018

Choosing The Right Estate Agency

A Quick Guide by Romans Estates

You are ready. You have done all the work - you organised your home, decluttered, cleared away all personal items, hired one of the best home stagers available and your home is looking interiors magazine-worthy, with the right pieces of furniture and accessories, and a consistent colour scheme to die for.

That is not, however, the end of the process - for some, this is just the beginning.

Whether that is your case and you’re ready to sell your home, or you’re a property developer who has finished a new project and is looking to market your property, the next step is one of the most important ones in the sales process.

Choosing the right estate agency to market your property might seem very simple in theory but there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Making sure you’ve got the right team of professionals standing by you is key - not only to make the most of the investment you made to increase your property’s sell-ability, but also to guarantee you get the best guidance throughout the process and the best deal at the end of it.

With so many estate agencies everywhere, and probably at least 10 of them just by your door-step, how does one choose the most suitable one to sell your home?

We spoke to Peter Tappin, Land and New Homes Manager at Romans Guildford to break down the selection process, and to understand more about how you can tackle the choosing of the right estate agency for your property.


Home Staging Association: Does any estate agency work for every type of property/seller?
Peter Tappin: No, in reality the overall market is carved up into segments and different agents will have a reputation for selling certain types of property. A particular agent for example may have either a local or national reputation for selling most properties at the top end of the market and this market my be further divided between a very good independent firm and also the  local office of a large national corporate. In more rural parts of the country more specialist equestrian and  agricultural agents will deal almost exclusively with the larger estates. At the other end of the market there will be agents who specialise in selling smaller apartments and cheaper properties.

HSA: What needs to be taken into account when choosing an estate agency?
PT: Reputation is probably one of the key considerations here, so ask friends and neighbours who own a similar property who they used. What we all need in choosing an agent is making sure both the firm and the individual who will be dealing with the sale are right for the job. Ask yourself if this is this someone you can trust to give the advice that you may need if things go wrong which they can often do? Clearly you need to check that the agent is active and successful in the particular market into which you will be selling, so a review of local SOLD boards will be a simple and effective tool for this.

HSA: What are the key questions I need to ask an estate agent to see if he’s the right one to handle my property?
PT: There are more important considerations here beside the headline fee and its more relevant to check what you are actually getting for the money. Do they have sufficient knowledge of my specific market? Have they sold similar properties recently. Another key point to watch here is how your home will be presented, how good is the photography, do they use video and elevated photographs and do they offer advice on presentation before marketing commences in order to maximise the first impressions on a viewing? Too many agents put properties on the market in poorly presented condition which can completely undermine any marketing campaign. Ask who will be showing the house and will all staff have previewed the home before marketing commences?

Internet coverage is crucial and therefore ask which Portals are used. Zoopla, with Prime location is gathering traction alongside Rightmove now so the use of two portals that might also include OnTheMarket broadens the scope of potential buyers. Fees may vary from 1% to 2%.

HSA: How do I make sure a property is not over or under evaluated?
PT: The subject of price is easier to monitor than in the past with the ability now to check recent sold prices in the road from Land Registry data and sites such as Nethouseprices. Asking the agent for comparable market evidence is also important to understand how they have arrived at the suggested asking price. If several agents are being used to value then each can provide this information.

HSA: Should I choose the same estate agency as my neighbour’s?
PT: The choice of agent should not be based too simply on using one that dealt with or is dealing with the next door neighbours home which may seem like an easy route to take. This might be a good choice  but if the same agent has two houses nearby, there may be the risk of a conflict of interest or loyalties so probably better to create some differentiation and an alternative approach.

HSA: Should I check my agent's performance? How can I do that?
PT: Checking an agents performance can be done in many ways: Look out for their sold boards, ask friends who they used, look on-line for who is selling in your price range and check specifically for properties that are “Sold subject to contract”, check Google reviews, Freefo and other review sites to see what previous clients are saying. Ask the agents for any testimonials that they have. If they are good they will welcome the opportunity to prove this with evidence.

HSA: What should I expect from an agent?
PT:  You should expect to be dealing with people you can really trust to give the right advice and to do what is in your interests. This is key to creating a good mutual working relationship . You should expect communication at all stages and feedback on all viewings, whether it be good or bad. You will want to see energy and enthusiasm alongside a pragmatic view on the market and expect to be advised rather than feeling you need to tell your agent what to do. Overall you should feel that you are being looked after and that your appointed agent genuinely cares about selling your home and not that your sale is not just another entry in the monthly sales book.

HSA: How many estate agents should I choose? Or is it best to go for a sole agent? 
PT: The issue of which and how many agents is in my opinion simple.  You do your homework, meet perhaps three good firms who you like to look and feel of based on the questions above and then select just one to work with. This way you will get better loyalty and what should be a dedicated team who are focused on selling your home to a god buyer rather than competing with other firms to be the first to get a sale agreed at any price.

HSA: What would be your top tips to find the best estate agent?
PT: We have covered above most of the key ingredients essential in choosing your agent and it is a key decision to make. Do your homework as suggested, check reputation and track record and actually make the point of going into agents offices largely as a buyer and get a proper understanding of how they deal with people. Choose an agent that cares about presentation and how your home will look when buyers are on-line. You only have a few milliseconds to attract a buyers interest when they may be scanning  through hundreds of potential homes, so make sure yours stands out and enquiries are dealt with by skilled and effective sales people… simple really!!


Please visit Roman’s website to learn more about their work or if you’re looking for the right estate agency to help you with your property. 

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