Hiring An Estate Agent
Hiring An Estate Agent
Ed Mead (Estate Agent) gives expert video advice on: How can I make sure I'm getting a good deal out of my estate agents? and more...
How much do estate agents charge?
Well, in England and Wales, estate agents tend to charge anything between 1% and 3%. Right in the center of London, if you choose more than one estate agency, it'll be 3%. If you're living somewhere in Northumberland, where there aren't many estate agents and not many properties to sell, chances are it'll be nearer 1%. It varies anywhere in between.
How can I make sure I'm getting a good deal out of my estate agents?
The only way you can judge whether you are getting a good deal from your estate agent is judging it against the other estate agent quotes that you had initially. But in terms of further down the line, Are you getting enough views on your property? Are you seeing it advertised where they said they'd advertise it? Is it on the websites they said it'd be on? Otherwise you'll know whether it's good value or not by whether you are getting good traffic and whether the offers are coming through at the end of the day. The estate agency adds value, and if you get value you are getting a good deal.
Should I negotiate when asked to pay extra costs by my estate agent?
I'm afraid to say people do try and charge costs, and they will try and charge them up front, but as I say, there's absolutely no point in your doing that. It can be a negotiating tool from your point of view, and I'm afraid it's a particularly English trait to say yes because they don't want to negotiate.
Do estate agents charge a percentage or a fixed rate?
In terms of what estate agents actually charge, it's up to you, you can try and do a deal with your estate agent, there's no fixed method of doing this, you could easily turn around and say "I'm going to give you a fixed rate", but traditionally it's a percentage.
Are there any hidden costs in the contract?
There shouldn't be any hidden costs in the contract with the estate agents, as far as I'm concerned. If I sell your property, you pay me; if I don't, you don't. In a market that's as competitive as this, where housing stock is relatively short, even if the market is quite good - there's no reason at all why you should pay any costs other than the fee to your estate agent.
What are the hidden costs likely to be?
The hidden costs of hiring an estate agent are for things like production of the brochure, photographs, floor plans and advertising. All of those should be included in the estate agent fee, on a no sale, no fee basis.
How long should my contract be with my estate agent?
Traditionally, in England and Wales, the length of time to sell a property is about 6 to 8 weeks, so most estate agents will ask for about 12 weeks, based on the fact they feel it's going to take 3 or 4 weeks to spool up their marketing campaign, a little bit of time to get it agreed, and then to get it exchanged. I think that's too long. I think that ties you in. If you decide after 2 weeks you don't like your estate agent and they're not doing a very good job, you're then tied in for another 10 weeks. It's such a competitive business, you don't need to tie yourself in for that length of time. I would have thought the optimum time for a contract with an estate agents really should be 6 to 8 weeks maximum.
What should I look out for in the contract?
You need to look out, in the contract, for things like sole-selling rights, which confer on the estate agent the only right to sell your property, which means you can't then sell to your mother, aunt, whoever it is. You need to look out for hidden costs in the contract, and you need to look out for time periods, ridiculously long time periods, in the contract. Now, it is possible with contracts, when you're dealing with your estate agent, to get all of these sort of things crossed out. A lot of people don't know that. If you turn around to your estate agent and say, "No, I don't want those costs in there. No, I don't want those contract periods in there," most of them will simply agree to take them out. So if you don't ask, you don't get.
How many viewings of my property should I expect from my estate agent?
I would always think that the first week you should have at least one a day. So you should have at least five, four, three, we would say. Five in the first week, four in the second week, three in the third week. Now that's a minimum, an absolute minimum. And you should be getting more than that.
What are the advantages of using multiple agencies?
Yes, estate agents would much rather have the job themselves as the sole agent. But my experience is that, as the sole agent, sometimes you can sit back a little bit and realize you've got a little bit more time to sort things out, whereas most sellers want to get on once they've made the decision to sell. And my experience of multiple agencies is that that tends to happen.
Should I deal with just one agent, or several?
Personally, I'm a believer in what's called a multiple agency, which is where you have more than one estate agent selling. Traditionally, it will cost you a half or one percent more than having just one agent dealing with it, but I think the competitive element will normally drive the agents on harder.
Is it advisable to use a solicitor recommended by the agent?
I think it's a good idea to use a solicitor that's recommended by your estate agent. They're only going to recommend the solicitor if they're good. And a estate agent wants a deal done quickly and efficiently. The solicitor they recommend is likely to be someone that's going to do that, so that must be a good idea.
Should I consider other solicitors, besides the one recommended by the agent?
I think solicitors are rather like estate agents; you need to set them off against each other. So the chances are, you're going to have one or two recommendations yourself for solicitors and the one recommended by your estate agent. So, check the fees. If the fees are about the same, the chances are, it's a good idea to go for the one with the estate agent.
Is it advisable to use a mortgage provider recommended by the agent?
A mortgage advisor recommended by your estate agent is fine, but with over two and a half thousand sources of finance here in England in Wales, you need to be absolutely sure that, that person is going to be able to provide you with a broad range of options with regard to securing your mortgage. If that tied to one provider alone, I don't think that would be an advisable thing to do.