How to pick the best estate agent?
You are looking to trade up, looking for a new start, or looking to size down? Maybe the value of your property has risen again and you are now out of negative equity, it’s time for you to shop around for a bigger home with room for your growing family. How do you find the best estate agent for you?
First things first, top of your list of “to dos”, you must find an estate agent to help sell your home for the best possible price and with the minimum fuss and delay.
But with quite a few to choose from, how do you know which one do you choose? Here are some tips from Keane Thompson to set you off in the right direction.
Commission for selling your home
Estate agents fees are usually charged as a percentage-based commission – usually between 1% and 2.5%, plus VAT. That may not seem a lot but it increases depending on the price of the property.
For example, a €350,000 house sold at 1.5% commission could cost you €6,352, including VAT.
The amount you pay in commission can also depend on where you live. In rural areas, it used to be 2.5%-3% – to account for travel expenses and the extra cost of selling in a slower market. But the increased competition between agents has led to lower commission rates outside of cities.
Rates that used to be as low as 1% during the property boom, have nearly doubled to 1.5%-1.8% by the end of 2013.
Advertising is an extra fee paid upfront when the property goes on the market, usually ranging from between 300 up to 2000e, depending on the type of advertising required or if there are extras required. – covers all advertising ie. websites, photos, newspapers, brochures etc.
Best estate agent qualities
When choosing, think of a few things when you meet an agent. Ask yourself, should I choose the guy who sweet-talks me with praises of your somewhat cramped two-bed terraced home, but they charge a hefty commission? Or would I be better to go for the more down-to-earth agent with the more down-to-earth price?
At the end of the day, it’s a matter of personal choice, if an agent makes a good impression on you, they can probably do the same with prospective buyers. As a tip, always be wary of the effusive agent who waxes lyrical about a “bijou mews” when he’s really talking about a shoebox-sized home at the bottom of someone’s garden.
Buyers can see through all this nonsense, and in all fairness, most estate agents in Ireland don’t go in for that kind of nonsense. Agents get paid only when there is a sale, so they don’t want to talk up a place and brush things under the carpet only to see the deal fall through when a detailed survey exposes all its faults.
However, there is also the other side, where you don’t want to pick an agent who’s isn’t going to do his best to highlight the positive points of your home, even if this is only a particularly spacious garden shed. The best agent will be one who’s personable and positive, but also very realistic when discussing the merits of your home.
How efficient is the best estate agent?
Is the agency good at answering phones and returning calls and emails?
How they treat you is probably how they will treat prospective buyers.
Do they have enough people-power to man phones and deal with lots of interested parties now sales are picking up again?
Check out the experiences of family and friends as well as interviewing them yourself to get a feel for the quality of their service.
Have a look at their records to see how many ‘sold properties’ they have achieved.
How will they advertise your home
How will the agent advertise your property? Most will use the major websites like Daft.ie and Myhome.ie. But do they also have an engaging and frequently updated website with their listings? Do they use local/national newspapers to advertise? (If so, clarify that this price will be extra and ask how much?). And will the property be highlighted on their premises window? Do they blog about relevant topics? Do they give guides?
Is your home’s valuation realistic and in line with the market price in that area? Sometimes an agent may elevate the asking price in order to draw you in when it’s better to lower it in order to draw in prospective buyers. A low asking price can attract lots of prospective buyers who then push it up dramatically in the bidding process. Remember the market decides the price and you can take it or leave it.
Reputation and experience
How long has the estate agent been in business? And do they specialise in your area? If you are at the lower end or middle of the spectrum you may be better to choose a local agent who knows the area well, is at hand to facilitate regular viewings and has the time, interest and enthusiasm to put into the sale process.
Thinking of moving home?
And if you’d like to talk through your moving options, talk to Keane Thompson today.