What should you look for in an estate agent?

When it comes to selling your property, you might wonder; what should you look for in an estate agent?

Professionalism and local knowledge together with punctuality and politeness are all key attributes to seek out but beyond this how can you measure an estate agent’s effectiveness?

You might have seen their for sale boards up locally or noticed them on property portals, or it might be that you’ve viewed a property to buy with them if you’re looking in the same area and that you believe they might be the right company to achieve the greatest results with your sale.

So, what should you look for in an estate agent? How can you find the best estate agent to sell your property? Here we highlight the factors that can help you decide, from accreditation to track record.

What should you look for in an estate agent?

Compliance and accreditation

Compliance and accreditation should be high on your list when choosing an estate agent. Make sure that they’re up to date on all the latest regulations and rules as well as that they are reputable.

What qualifications should an estate agent have?

An estate agent is not legally required to have any specific qualifications or licensing but those who are serious about their role and who seek to instil confidence in clients will have studied to achieve industry qualifications and be part of professional bodies.

You might notice that your estate agent has letters after their name or in their email signature, highlighting their qualifications or accreditations. These are a few you may see:

  • MNAEA – Member of the National Association of Estate Agents Propertymark
  • MRICS – Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
  • MARLA Propertymark– Member of the Association of Residential Lettings Agents Propertymark

Agents will have studied and been tested to achieve these memberships and will have obligations to continue their professional development by remaining up to date with legislation and industry standards.

Do estate agents have to be regulated?

Estate agents must belong to an approved redress scheme such as The Property Ombudsman (TPO). The Property Ombudsman provides free, impartial, and independent advice, resolving disputes between Consumers and Property Agents when needed.

Track record

An estate agent’s local track record is one of the factors that will weigh in on your considerations. That’s not to say you should discount a newer estate agent in an area, as being passionate and determined is perhaps the most important factor of all.

Property portals are a great place to check out an estate agent’s current properties for sale together with those they’ve previously sold.

How do I check their success in the area?

You can check out their website as well as any directories they might be listed on. You can also check out any reviews they might have online.

How important are property portals?

Almost all estate agents will list their properties for sale on online property portals, from Rightmove to Zoopla these websites are well used and often the first place buyers will look for property.

Property marketing

Being present on property portals is important but it is exactly how a property is listed that will determine the first impression buyers receive of your property.

When asking what should you look for in an estate agent marketing should be a top priority for your consideration.

Take a closer look at their listings – is the photography good? Is the description clear? Would you be happy if this was how your property was presented online? All questions to ask yourself when considering an estate agent.

Furthermore, do you like their branding? Will you be happy to have one of their for sale boards outside your home?

What should you look for in an estate agent?

Local Knowledge

An estate agent’s local knowledge is not only of benefit to a seller during the process of finding a buyer but it can also be advantageous during the conveyancing process.

Local knowledge allows an estate agent to address the issues that are most common in their area whether that be planning issues, local search results or the type of building defects that can occur.

An agent’s historic local market knowledge enables them to better predict future markets when informing vendors or reassuring buyers.

Off market sales

In certain market conditions and due to seller preferences, estate agents will not always openly market all their properties for sale online.  

For a variety of reasons, a seller might wish to sell ‘off market’, it might be that they want to sell discreetly for personal reasons or that they want to sell quietly and at their own pace, inviting only a select number of serious buyers.

When you speak or meet with an estate agent, if you are curious about this strategy and method of selling be sure to ask them about selling off market. Previously this method had been limited to only the most exclusive addresses but increasingly properties across all of London and beyond are being sold this way.

What are good questions to ask an estate agent?

There are several good questions to ask an estate agent. Aside from your property’s value and an agent’s fees, our top three less obvious questions would be the following:

1. Is my property ‘sale ready’?

A confident estate agent will be able to offer any valuable tips that they believe would boost the saleability of your property. From simply cleaning the windows to adding a little colour to the garden, don’t be shy to ask their opinion, it might be something that’s easily overlooked when a property is your home.  

2. Who will conduct viewings?

Estate agencies all have different arrangements with who shows buyers around a property. Before you work with an estate agent ensure you understand exactly who will be meeting with buyers and whether you are confident in their ability.

3. Who will manage my sale from offer to completion?

Another part of selling property that is often overlooked is managing the transaction.

Finding a buyer is just the first hurdle, having a competent agent overseeing conveyancing and liaising with all parties can be invaluable and be the difference between a smooth transaction and one that falls through. Communication is key.

If you’d like to see more questions to ask an estate agent, we share our top 10 questions to ask your estate agent when selling in a previous blog that will be of use if you’re currently considering selling your property – read the full article here.

Positive feedback

The very best way to find an estate agent is to be recommended by someone you know and trust who has previously engaged their services. We’re incredibly proud that here at Horton and Garton we receive the largest proportion of clients via recommendation.

However, it’s not always possible to be recommended so another way to see if an estate agent has received good feedback is to look at Google. Sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants will have all inserted their honest reviews via Google so it’s a great place to check when you’re looking for an estate agent to sell your property.

Selling your property with Horton and Garton

If you’re considering selling your property and would like to talk to a member of our team about your plans we’re available for a no obligation discussion on 020 8819 0510.