When you want to put your house on the market or are looking to buy or rent a property, we look for the services of an estate or letting agent. With so many to choose from, how do we go about making the right choice for our needs? Here are some handy hints for how to find a reputable estate agent:
- Start by asking family and friends for recommendations. A huge amount of business is a result of word-of-mouth recommendations from family, friends or colleagues who have recently been through the process. They can tell you who they were impressed with or who to avoid at all costs! Have a walk or drive around your neighbourhood or the one you want to move to and take note of the ‘for sale’ and ‘sold’ signs. This will give you a good idea of which agents are successful in the area. For a professional service from a Gloucester Estate Agency, visit http://www.tgres.co.uk
- Check for membership of professional bodies which tells you that they are bound by strict codes of conduct. This provides a good indication that the company are professional, knowledgeable and have high customer service standards. Such professional organisations include:
- Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
- Guild of Professional Estate Agents
- National Association of Estate Agents
Agents must now be members of either the Property Ombudsman or the Surveyors Ombudsman Scheme and you should be able to find all this information on the agency website.
- Once you have narrowed down your list, the next best step is to personally visit the agent’s office. You are placing a lot of trust in the company so it’s good to know who you’re talking to and get a feel for the business. Is the office professional? Do you feel welcome? If you have a bad experience at this appointment, then it’s best to continue looking.
- Contact at least three different agents to come and value your property if you’re selling. Don’t always fall for the highest valuation, it could be done to win your business but then struggle to sell at that price. An honest, fair appraisal is what you’re looking for which is why it’s important to get at least three valuations.
- You’ll need to decide whether to choose a multi-agency or sole agent approach to deal with your property. The more agents you use, the wider your audience but also the higher the fees so it really depends on your individual circumstances and what type of property you own. The market will also affect your decision. A general rule of thumb is if there are more houses than buyers then opt for multiple agents but if there’s more buyers than properties, you need only use one.
- Ensure you always read any small print and check the terms and conditions of any agent agreement before you sign. Make sure you are comfortable with everything and ask questions about anything you don’t understand.