Sounds simple, right? Well, it’s true. Doesn’t matter if you’re choosing a restaurant, a new lawnmower, or the people who are going to sell your house for you, you really can’t beat a good testimonial. Ask your friends, ask your colleagues, read online reviews and just do some research. In the new age of transparency, it's very hard for a business to hide a shady reputation, but even so, it’s worth doing your due diligence.
Online vs high street
Like almost every other area of life in 2019, the world of estate agency has been disrupted by the internet and online upstarts. The convenience, fixed prices and hands-off approach of the online agents is obviously appealing to many. The idea of taking some pictures, listing them on the site, then sitting back and waiting for the viewings - then offers - to come flooding in is highly appealing, but the reality can sometimes be different. The Advisory, which offers independent expert advice to house sellers carried out a recent study comparing online and high street. The findings showed that local knowledge and literal human touch often still has the edge over online counterparts. The study found that using the right high street estate agent can increase viewing numbers by 48%, increase offer numbers by 64%, generate a more secure buyer (or buyer willing to pay a better price) 73% of the time and secure a 5% higher sale price (compared to using a Rightmove listing service).
Right person, right price
Once you’ve asked around, found a shortlist of agents, checked their credentials (Guild of Professional Estate Agents (GPEA), National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) are trade bodies and good things for an agent to be part of) it’s time to start engaging them. Make sure you get valuations from at least three agents but don’t just plump for the biggest number. Ideally, the valuations should come around the same level, if one is significantly higher than the others, they’re probably trying to woo you with tempting numbers.
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