Selling your home and moving house is the beginning of a long and exciting journey, that will inevitably become a rollercoaster of ups and downs. Your decision on which agent to instruct, will shape the nature of your journey and the next few months of your life!
The first step is to arrange some valuations, at which point several estate agents will visit your home to appraise your property and advise you on what they feel your house is worth. Please remember that what they are offering is their opinion, they can not tell you categorically what your property will definitely achieve. What they can tell you is what they feel your marketing price should be in order to generate a high level of interest in your property and stand the best chance of getting the highest price possible. They should base this price on their research and clear evidence of what other comparable properties have sold for in your area. What you are looking for here is honesty, not an unachievable and over-inflated figure. Too often people choose their estate agent based solely on the valuation price, rather than choosing them based on their integrity, transparency and the similar properties they have successfully sold.
You want your property to be marketed well, with professional photography and a floor plan, and featuring on Rightmove, however what you also want is an agent who you trust to do everything they can to sell your home, not to just upload the details and wait for the phone to ring. A good estate agent will have buyers lined up, they will call their database of potential viewers, they will cross sell with other properties they are listing, they will be regularly mailing out, refreshing details and trying new avenues to generate interest. You want proactivity, and you want communication, you need to know what they are doing and when!
You need an estate agent who you are happy to talk to at least weekly, often daily and sometimes hourly, because as your sale progresses, your agent will be guiding you through the journey from marketing, to offer negotiation, through the conveyancing and mortgage process, navigating chains and helping you to plan the eventual move. Best case scenario you would have already been working with your agent for 3 months, more often than not it is longer than this. If you are not comfortable with your estate agent, this will become a painful time.
Inevitably things may crop up that no one could have foreseen, chains collapsing, troublesome enquiries and financial challenges, are just some of the hurdles you may need to jump. An experienced estate agent will have seen it all before, and will know how to jump the hurdles and swerve the obstacles, and will take your hand and guide you through it all. An unmotivated and inexperienced estate agent will see you fall at the first hurdle and put you right back to the start.
Which leads me on to fees. If you want the smoothest journey possible, with the least stress, then remember that you get what you pay for. Cheap fees inevitably mean a cut service, it is not sustainable to cut fees without compromising some aspect of your service. Choosing an estate agent based on fee alone is always dangerous, and more often than not costs you more in the long run through aborted sale fees, time lost and low sale prices.
Your home is a huge investment, make sure you put it in safe hands! Choose your agent carefully and make sure your journey is an enjoyable one!