How to find an estate agent to sell your home

Selling a home can be a very daunting experience without the proper support and a flimsy marketing strategy but it doesn’t need to be “gloom and doom”. Read our article containing some valuable tips to help you find an estate agent to sell your home.

There’s so much competition in the market and many ways to sell your home – high street, online & hybrid estate agencies and DIY sales to name a few.

Home owners often ask us: When is the right time to sell, what impact will Brexit have on the market value of my property, what is my house really worth, how much will it cost to sell my home…?

You are in control

Selling a house should not be taken lightly. After all, a house is in most cases the most expensive purchase a person makes in their lifetime!

Never feel pressured from an agent to accept their offer. You should establish a good rapport with the agent whom you entrust the sale of your home, understand fully their fees for the service provided and the Terms & Conditions of their appointment. Some agents lock their clients into contract terms and in some circumstances, you could be liable for paying them commission should you sell your house via another source at some stage in the future.

Create a shortlist

Study the following 5 tips to create a shortlist of 2-3 estate agents. To help you choose a selection of estate agents:

  1. Ask for personal recommendations from family, friends, neighbours or trusted work colleagues.
  2. Check the estate agent’s website. See what properties they list for sale, is the site interactive and engaging? See that they are selling properties similar to yours. Click here to see our website.
  3. Is the agent advertising properties on key national websites such as Rightmove Zoopla? Do their photographs stand out from other adverts? You only have 2.6 seconds to attract the attention of online lookers. A good estate agent should make your property pop out from the rest.
  4. What are their office hours and will they accompany potential buyers at house viewings?
  5. What are their Terms & Conditions, fees and contract terms?

Some key questions you need to ask

It’s a good idea to ask the following questions to help find the right estate agent for you:

  • What is their experience on selling houses in the area? How quickly do they sell homes and do they achieve the asking price?
  • How did they arrive at the value of your property? Don’t be tricked by optimistic valuations just to win your business. All good agents should offer reliable evidence to support their valuation.
  • What network does the agent use to market your property? Franchised estate agents can leverage a wider network around the country giving your property even greater exposure. Click here to see ours.
  • What are their hours of operation? Agents who operate outside standard business hours and throughout weekends are easily reached by potential buyers.
  • Are they members of an accredited independent ombudsman service? Eg. The Property Ombudsman


Should you select a sole or multiple agent?

Generally, the more agents working for you, the more potential buyers they are likely to reach leading to potentially higher offers. This option may mean you will pay higher fees.

The best approach depends on what type of property you have, and the state of the market:

  • If there are many properties on the market with few buyers, it may make more sense to have multiple agents
  • If there are few properties on the market, but many keen buyers, a sole agent may be the best option

How much does it cost to sell a house?

Many estate agents charge a percentage of the sale price as their fee. This is typically anywhere between 0.75% and 3.0% +VAT

It is not uncommon to negotiate with the estate agent on the fee for a sole agency contract. For higher value properties, agents may be prepared to accept even lower fees.

Check fees carefully as these often exclude VAT. The current rate of VAT in the UK is 20% and you should always take this into consideration to fully understand the cost of selling your home. Also search for a reliable and trusted solicitor / law firm or conveyancing service to represent you during the sale process and find out what their fees are. Click here to get useful information on how to find a conveyancor.

Understand the agent’s contract before you sign

Your estate agent will ask you to sign a Terms of Sale contract. Like all contracts, you should check to see that the terms fully reflect your requirements and that you understand everything that is set out in that document. Here are a few common things to look out for:

  • Make sure all fees ae clearly set out in the contract EG. Some agents may charge extra for marketing your property such as “For Sale” boards. It’s best to negotiate on an all-encompassing fee that covers these expenses.
  • Check that you are only paying commission when the sale completes. Some agents have been known to charge for simply finding a purchaser but you still end up paying should the sale fall through.
  • Some agreements have a time limit. This allows you to change agent if you are not happy. Typically, these periods can be up to 12 weeks. Try and negotiate this term down to give you greater flexibility.

Should I use an online estate agent to save money?

Online estate agents may offer cheaper fees than conventional high street estate agents. Like most things in life, a little due diligence today can save you hassle and distress later on.

 Some factors you should consider are:

  • You will often have to pay fees up front before the property is listed for sale. A good agent should only charge when a sale completes IE. No Sale – No Fee.
  • Online headline fees often cover the very basic service. You could be charged extra for photographs, “For Sale” boards and accompanied visits.
  • Extra fees can be charged to make your property compliant for sale EG. Obtaining an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  • Some online estate agents insist that you agree to other services for their bargain prices EG. Using their conveyancing firm.
  • High penalties may apply for contract termination.
  • In some cases, there may not be a dedicated individual to advertise, respond to purchaser enquiries, viewings and facilitate the sales process.

If you want an estate agent to do things like conduct viewings, respond to enquiries outside business hours / during weekends and facilitate the sales process between your and the purchaser’s solicitor, you are likely to pay a little extra for total peace of mind.

Selling your home yourself

Some people choose to sell their home themselves after all – it is possible to do all the leg work yourself. It is worth noting that you may not necessarily have direct access to major property websites such as Rightmove or Zoopla to maximise exposure of your home as they are not open to private listings. This could consequently result in costly mistakes by achieving a lower sales price.

Good estate agents qualify potential purchasers before visiting your property and this is important for your security and to ensure that any purchase offers are genuine and are more likely to result in a successful completion.

You might not diagnose your own symptoms without seeing a doctor nor would you prepare a complex legal contract if you are not a qualified solicitor so why take risky chances when selling your most valuable asset? Selecting a professional estate agent will help you maximise exposure of your home to possible buyers and achieve the right sales price for you.

Nicholas Humphreys (Sheffield – Broomhill & Crookes) is your trusted estate agent in Sheffield.

Contact us on 0114 470 4715 and ask for a free no obligation appraisal of your home. We offer a No Sale – No Fee promise to all our customers. We are happy to work alongside any other estate agency and we have no hidden fees or fixed term contracts.

We take professional photographs to make your property stand out from the rest and advertise on UK’s largest and most respected property sales websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla. Your property will also feature maximum exposure through the UK-wide Nicholas Humphreys franchise website which receives over 40,000 hits each month.

Contact us. Our office is open 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm.