We get asked all the time by people “come on, you’re in the know, how can I choose a decent estate agent or are they all just the same?”
Well, to a point they are.
They all advertise in the local paper and they’ll all be delighted to put a board up outside your house.
But the real differences come into their own when things might not be going quite smoothly.
Perhaps you haven’t had as many viewings as you need, or you encounter a problem either with the buyer that means things are held up and stressful.
That’s when you need the three most important things any agent can give you.
Chances are you are going to get pretty stressed during a typical house sale, chains, waiting for mortgage offers, replying to enquiries, and no end of things that can potentially go wrong. At this point you don’t want to be having to explain to your agent how you feel.
They should already know. This is empathy. They understand how you feel and they can take steps to put things right even before you ask them.
There is a common belief that all estate agents are dishonest and this is, of course, untrue. Most of them do their best sometimes in a difficult circumstances. Afterall, in a bad market an estate agent’s main job is to be the bearer of bad news and this isn’t much fun for anybody. When we say about honesty though what we mean is that your estate agent should simply say things how they are.
In the end, it’s not about being told what you want to hear but it’s about being told about the truth. What is the honest opinion about your buyer, about the circumstances, is your sale going to fall through? They should use their skill and judgement, experience and knowledge to give you straightforward answers.
You can have the greatest estate agent in Britain but if you can’t speak to them, they’re not going to be of much use to you. Before instructing an estate agent we always carry out a couple of tests.
Are they willing to give you a mobile phone number? Are they in the office regularly? Do they reply to your emails promptly, by which we mean within around 3 hours? If not, are they going to be there to help you every step of the way? Probably not.
Put your estate agent to the test and if you doubt they will live up to the big 3, it’s probably time to look for another.