How to select an Estate Agent

1st December 2020

How to select an Estate Agent

So, you have made the big decision to sell your house.  Whether you are downsizing, upsizing, emigrating or off-loading an investment, a key ingredient to a successful house sale is ‘partnering up’ with the right estate agent.  We are all different, and we all have different needs, and so there is no one agent that is perfect for everyone.  However, most sellers need someone who they feel they can trust to do the job for them.  Someone who brings the expertise, relevant tools, and integrity to get you the best result possible. 

I regularly ask sellers why they choose the agent they have working for them and the answer is often different; “they have the most sale boards in the area”, “they are the only ones who rang back”, “my sister sold with them”, or “they gave the cheapest quote”.  If you don’t know who to instruct here is a step-by-step guide to selecting the best one for you.  

Step 1 – Online research

Check out all the local agents’ websites.  Stick to locally based agents only as they tend to know the local market best.  See how they present the properties they currently have on the market.  Are the photos of good quality, or did the agent just snap them with a smart phone?  Check to see are the properties listed on other property websites, particularly myhome.ie and daft.ie.  These tend to be the main two portals that buyers go to first.  Do they have a good share of the properties on the local market?  If not, maybe they focus on lettings or other aspects of the property business, in which case maybe best to give them a wide berth.    

Step 2 – Be sneaky.  Optional step!

Next, why not test the agencies?  Contact the estate agents’ offices and enquire about a particular property they have listed.  See how professional they are.  Are they enthusiastic or do you just feel like you are disturbing their coffee break?  It is amazing how sometimes you may find that the agent who has the snazziest website is the very one who doesn’t even call you back! 

Step 3 – Arrange a call out

Call 2 or 3 of the agencies that have impressed you most so far and tell them you are thinking of selling.  Most agencies offer to call out to the property and make a sales proposal without any commitment.  The agents should be more than happy to do this ‘free’ valuation as it is an opportunity for them to do their sales pitch and win the business.  At this meeting ask the agent the following;

what he or she thinks the house will achieve on the marketthe steps they would use to promote the property – listen out for professional photography, virtual / video tours, upgraded adverts on the property websiteswho will be doing the viewings, negotiations and updating you on progress throughout the sales campaign? On many occasions the experienced agent sitting opposite you disappears as soon as the ink is dry on the service agreement document to be replaced by a barely qualified junior who is more interested in their Instagram feed than selling your houseany changes to the house that they would recommend. The agent should look at your home from a buyer’s perspective and may see small details that you have overlooked that may be considered a negative aspect by a potential buyer.  This could be a small ceiling stain that was never painted over after the en-suite leaked 2 years ago, or a broken doorknob leading into the kitchen.

 

By now you should have a strong gut feeling as to who the best Estate Agent is for you.  You should always choose the one that you feel you can trust most, has the best experience and will work with you to get the best deal possible.  One that is authoritative, yet approachable if you have any suggestions, after all you know the house better than they ever will.  Of course the fee they propose charging is important, however, it is far more critical, in my opinion, to go with the one who will get you the best price, and guide you through the process from start to finish.  An extra quarter of a percent on the fee is normally insignificant if you get an extra €10,000 in the sale price.   

Step 4 – Strike a deal

Finally, call the agent and tell them you are considering appointing them, but before you do, see if they would reduce their fee slightly.  If you got a smaller fee proposal from one of the other agents, you could ask your top pick to match it.  A small reduction in the percentage rate can ultimately lead to hundreds of euro saving, and on the other hand, if they refuse to budge on the fee, you will see they are strong negotiators which is exactly what you will want when the buyers come calling!    

Best of luck!

 

In 2021, REA McDonald will be celebrating 50 years in business resulting in more property sales in the Lucan area than any other Estate Agents.

If you are thinking of selling in the New Year,  request a free Pre-Sale Market Appraisal through our website.