The property market can be overwhelming, filled with jargon and complicated processes guaranteed to befuddle first-time sellers and seasoned veterans alike. Our detailed Property Selling Guide aims to demystify the industry to give you the tools to confidently sell your home (and for the price you want, too).
If you’re looking to sell your home, the next step, after having it professionally valued (see our property valuation guide for more details), is to appoint an estate agent to sell it and fetch you the best price. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about finding the right estate agent for you, including what the role entails, what you’ll pay for the service and how to find the right firm for you.
What Does an Estate Agent Do in the Property Selling Process?
The Estate Agent plays a key role when it comes to selling your home. Here’s what you can expect them to take care of:
- Conduct a property valuation – estate agent solicitors can provide professional valuations using their expert knowledge of the property market. To do this, they’ll consider the condition of your home (conducted via an in-person assessment of your property) as well as how much local properties like yours have previously sold for. With this info, they can give you an accurate estimate of how much your home is likely to get on the market.
- Start marketing your home – your estate agent, once appointed, will get to work marketing your property. They’ll arrange for your home to be professionally photographed, create an accurate floor plan and write an attractive description to entice would-be buyers online and in brochures, shop windows and property portals like Rightmove and Zoopla.
- Arrange and oversee viewings – your estate agent will arrange and oversee any property viewings, showing potential buyers around and answering their questions. Many established firms may also have a list of potential buyers who have already shown an interest in properties like yours, meaning you may have keen parties right out of the gate.
- Manage buyer negotiations – once people begin to show an interest in your home, your estate agent will handle the negotiations and act as a liaison between you and the potential buyers. They’ll inform you of all notes of interest and submitted offers, offering advice where needed to help you get the most out of the transaction.
What’s the Difference Between Conveyancing and Estate Agency?
Estate agency is the process of marketing and negotiating the sale of your property. Estate agents can also be solicitors (like MOV8 Real Estate) or non-solicitor estate agents.
Conveyancing, on the other hand, is the legal process of transferring ownership of the property from one person to the other. This must be carried out by a professional solicitor. If you’re selling your home and buying another one, there will be two separate conveyancing fees as they are two distinct transactions which don’t necessarily happen simultaneously.
How to Find the Right Estate Agent for You
With so many firms available it can be challenging to know who to trust with selling your home. Here are our tips for choosing the right estate agent for you.
- Look for firms that have sold properties similar to yours. Estate agents with a good track record of marketing and selling detached four-bedroom homes in residential areas like yours, for example, are more likely to generate interest than those who specialise in city centre flats.
- Search for ‘For Sale’ boards in your area and notice how long it takes for the properties to sell. This should also give you a good idea of which estate agents have experience with homes like yours.
- Seek multiple valuations from different estate agents. Valuation assessments can vary between individuals, but it’s not necessarily a good idea to go with the highest figure. An over-assessed property can sit on the market for months and price reductions (which can be seen in online searches) may be off-putting for buyers. Seek multiple opinions and weigh all the information carefully before committing to one.
- Ask your friends and family. Word-of-mouth recommendations can be a great way to find an estate agency firm you can trust based on personal experience.
How Much Are You Likely to Pay?
The estate agent you choose will provide a written breakdown of the cost of selling your home, using the details you give them to create an accurate quote – particularly when it comes to the conveyancing process (if you appoint a solicitor estate agent).
Fees can vary significantly between solicitor estate agents and non-solicitor estate agents. Traditionally, estate agents charge an estate agency commission based on a percentage of your property’s selling price. Other agents, like MOV8, charge no commission and instead charge a fixed estate agency fee. The commission that agents charge is typically between 0.7% and 1.5% plus VAT.
If you appoint a solicitor estate agent to undertake the conveyancing process, too, note that these fees can also vary wildly but most firms charge a flat fee rather than charging by the hour.
The quote from a solicitor/estate agent should contain a breakdown of the following:
- The estate agency fee
- The legal/conveyancing fee (if applicable)
- The cost of marketing the property (e.g. Solicitors’ Property Centre costs, ‘For Sale’ Boards and property brochures if needed)
- Governmental/third-party charges relating to the legal/conveyancing work (e.g. Land and Buildings Transaction Tax)
The quote should be an accurate portrayal of what you’ll end up paying for the service. However, sometimes exceptional circumstances mean extra charges or fees are required. When you are marketing your property, for example, you may want additional advertising, or to order extra brochures/schedules which will incur a cost. However, these charges will be made clear by your estate agent in advance.
So, You’ve Appointed an Estate Agent. What’s Next?
If you’ve chosen the right estate agent for you, the next step in your selling journey is to get an up-to-date Home Report. Check out the next page in our Detailed Property Selling Guide for everything you need to know about this essential process.