Michael Hardy Blog, News & Updates

How To Choose An Estate Agent

5 January, 2017 by

When it comes to selling your home, deciding which estate agent you choose is no easy task. With such a wide selection of agents available, how do you know which one is best suited to sell your home? 

It’s not as simple as going with the cheapest option, or the one who claims they can sell your property for the highest price - it’s the whole experience that truly matters. After all, the process is notoriously long and, at times, stressful, so you need an agent who’s going to handle every problem and remove all that worry from your shoulders.

We’ve collated a list of things to look out for when choosing an estate agent. Tick these boxes and you can’t go wrong!

An up to date and easy to use website

When selling a home, you must look through the eyes of your potential buyers. If you were them, what would you think of the seller’s website? Is it easy to navigate? Could your property be found by the right people quickly?

Most estate agent websites should have a decent property search function, which can be used to filter properties by price, location, type, number of bedrooms, etc. At Michael Hardy, we have additional filter options, including ‘travel time search’ and ‘draw your search’.

‘Travel time search’ allows you to find properties within (what you consider to be) a reasonable distance from your workplace. Some buyers also use it search for homes near their family, childcare, local train station, etc. Alternatively, ‘draw your search’ enables you to plot a property search boundary on a map so you’ll only be shown properties within that area.

Additionally, the new School Admission Areas function that we have introduced to our website allows buyers not only to check what schools are nearby, but whether they’re over or under subscribed, what their Ofsted rating is and vitally if a property fell within the last admission zone for that school. In Wokingham, local schools are a huge selling point for families and soon-to-be parents, so this feature has proved very valuable and popular with our clients looking to move to the area.

Professional photos and floorplans

 

Left: Professional outsourced photography as used by Michael Hardy for every property. Right: A photo of the same property taken in-house by an estate agent.

The photographs your estate agent takes are going to be the first that grabs potential buyers’ attention. If your property looks small, dark, or the photos simply aren’t very clear, no one is going to be asking for a viewing any time soon.

An accurate floorplan is just as important, as it allows your buyers to imagine what your home is like before they book a viewing. To check the quality of an estate agent’s floorplans and photos, head to their website and look at the property listings.

The photos should show all the main areas of the home, internal and external, and make the property look as attractive and spacious as possible. Meanwhile, the floorplan should be an accurate representation of the home – if it’s misleading, buyers will be put off as soon as they go for a viewing.

Technological innovation

Estate agents must appeal to the modern buyer, and what better way to appeal to this market than using technology? Of course, that’s not the only benefit, the right technology can speed up the process and make it far easier – for both buyers and sellers.

More and more estate agents are using all sorts of tech to sell homes quicker and encourage second viewings, such as virtual reality, augmented reality and 360? virtual tours. At Michael Hardy, we’re proud to offer VR tours, which help close sales 32 per cent faster and allow buyers to visit the homes they are interested in without stepping outside the estate agent’s office.

Investment in digital marketing

Once someone has decided to buy a new home, the first place they are mostly likely to head is the internet – they want to quickly see what is available in their area. To ensure your property appears in their search, your estate agent needs to be investing in digital marketing, specifically search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

Not only will both boost the visibility of your property to relevant buyers, it shows your estate agent is modern and understands the current market.

Your chosen estate agent should also be active on social media, as it’s a great way to advertise new homes on the market. Michael Hardy, for example, has its own Facebook and Twitter pages, which are regularly updated with new properties for sale, providing another form of advertising for sellers.

Accurate valuations

It’s easy to choose an estate agent based on how much they say they can sell your house for, but the highest estimate isn’t always the best. Always ask what their valuation is based on: your agent should be looking at comparable properties, market trends and buyer/seller conditions.

Go for the highest valuation without questioning it, and you could have a tough time selling your home.

High street presence

While a lot of buyers may browse for properties to view online, nothing beats being able to pop in-store and speak to the experts in person. Buyers or sellers can come in whenever they like to ask questions or book viewings – convenient for those who don’t like using the internet.

The estate agent you choose should also have a strong brand, which is known throughout the area it serves. They may advertise on billboards, buses or in local newspapers, or they might just play a big role in the local community. Either way, they should be attractive to local buyers looking for advice.

Transparency

It takes a lot of preparation to sell a home – the last thing you need is to be hit with a financial cost you weren’t expecting during the process. That’s why it’s vital to choose an estate agent which is completely transparent about the costs and fees involved. Legally, all estate agents must adhere to the guidelines as members of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and the Property Ombudsman, too.

Michael Hardy proudly ticks all the above boxes, so if you’re considering selling your home soon, please get in touch with us today.