Thinking of selling your property but not sure where to begin?

A good place to start is to shortlist two or three Estate Agents and ask them to visit to provide a marketing opinion of your home. But how do you choose which agents to call?

Higley Homes Hint: Choosing the biggest agent on the High Street may not be the best fit for you. Ask your friends,neighbours or work colleagues whether they have had any dealings with local Estate Agents. Having an agency recommended through other's experiences will offer you an independent view of the capabilities of that agency and will help you to decide which of them have a good reputation and which are not so good.

You could also visit www.allagents.co.uk, this is an Estate Agency review site similar to  Trip Advisor. Allagents website shows feedback and uses a clear star rating system based on those who have used their services and rated them accordingly

You are now ready to orgainse appointments for agencies to visit. When arranging your appointment you may wish to check that the visit and valuation are offered free of charge.

Higley Homes Hint: When making initial contact with the agency remember that this is their chance to make a good first impression. Should you feel uneasy with their approach  at this early stage then perhaps you need to find a different agent. It is worth remembering that you are likely to deal with this agency for the next 8-12 weeks, or possibly longer, so feeling at ease and confident with their approach is key,

At The Visit

A productive and informative valuation appointment should last between 45-60 minutes. You should expect for the agent to measure the rooms and perhaps sketch a floor plan. You may wish to accompany the agent throughout their inspection in order to point out any special features that they may otherwise overlook. Once the inspection is complete you will spend some time with the agent discussing the valuation and marketing of your property.

Higley Homes Hint: In order to get a true reflection as to the current value of your property we would suggest that you don't offer any view on value until the agent has presented you with their opinion. Some agents will simpy agree with your view in order to win your business, whether the price is correct or not.

It is essential for the agent to arrive at a price that can be supported by the selling prices of similar properties  recently sold in your area. This offers various advantages including that your home is priced correctly and  will compete with similar properties on the market. Futhermore, this ensures that once you have agreed a sale there is enough evidence of properties selling at similar prices for the buyer's mortgage surveyor to support the agreed sale price.

Higley Homes Hint: Some agents will offer ambitious market prices in order to secure your business. It is worth remembering that in most cases a sale will be dependent upon your buyer obtaining a mortgage. Often the buyer can only pay what they can borrow from the bank and this amount is subject to the bank's opinion on price. These figures are often based upon similar properties having sold within the area. If you feel that your agent is being overly ambitious,  ask for evidence on how they have arrived at their valution. A quick look online prior to their visit will give an approximate price for your property.

Instructing An Agent

Having seen your shortlisted Agencies you may now be ready to instruct one to act for you. An instruction will usually be "sole" or "multiple" agency. Mutiple agency is when you use more than one agency to market your property. You would commonly only pay the agent who has agreed the sale. Multiple agency fees are more expensive as the agent has less chance of selling with more agents involved. A sole agency instruction is when you agree for one agent to market your property. It is often  conditional that you sign an exclusive agreement with a minimum tie-in period. Tie-in periods can range from 6-20 weeks, this means that you will not be able to instruct another agent within this exclusive period.

Higley Homes Hint: We often hear of Estate Agents 'having lots of buyers who will buy your property tonight!' If this is the case why, so often, does the agent go on to say 'can you sign my 20 week agreement'? You may wish to challenge this lengthy contract period, if they have an abundance of buyers who will buy straight away.  In addition to the minimum term and often hidden in the small print, when reaching the end of your contract you may still have to serve between 7-14 days notice to cancel the agreement. Ask the agent what their cancellation policy is.

Similar to a sole agency agreement is the less common sole selling rights agreement, with sole selling rights the main difference is that you loose the opportunity to sell the property yourself without attracting a fee from the agency. Check with your agent what type of contract they use.

We recommend you check what the agent's personal involvement will be throughout the process.

Higley Homes Hint: Many Estate Agencies will specifically employ staff to win business and secure marketing instructions. Once you sign the contract the staff member that you felt comfortable and confident with may have very little involvement for the remainder of the process. Ask your agent what their role will be throughout the process and whether you will be able to speak with them once the sale has been agreed.