If you choose an estate agent to sell your home, you need to make sure that you choose one that you trust. Speak to the estate agent that sold you your house in the first place – after all they will have some idea of what kind of audience your house appeals to! It is also advisable to speak to other estate agents in the area, after all they are the experts!
You need to consider the price and how you want your house marketed. It is a good idea to have some ideas in our head about what you would like so that you can discuss every aspect of the process with your estate agent. Once you have selected one – or more! – estate agent to work with, you need to set a timeframe. Get an idea of when you need to move by and what you need to achieve throughout the process.
Before an estate agent will commence trying to sell your house, you will need to sign a contract that sets out terms and conditions of your working relationship. One of the most important areas of this agreement is whether the estate agent operates as the sole agency selling your property, in conjunction with other agencies or in competition with other businesses.
If you sign an estate agent up as a sole agency, you are contractually bound to only work with that agency – this means that you are liable for their commission once the property has sold. Should you also use another agency whilst you are under that agreement, and the other agency sells your property then you will have to pay commission to the first agency on top of the commission to second.
The advantages to signing a sole agency agreement are that it should guarantee that your agents works hard for a sale as they know they will receive the full commission. You may also be offered a reduced commission. Additionally buyers may be more inclined to put an offer in if they know that there is no chance that another agency could come in with a buyer with a better offer. The main disadvantage to this kind of agreement are that you are only relying on one person to sell your house, which may reduce the amount of customers that your details can reach.
When signing a sole agency agreement, make sure that you do not give the agency sole selling rates forever. It’s a good idea to add a timeframe in, say three to six months; this means that if the agency has not sold your property in this time you can end the agreement and look for another estate agent/s.
Joint sole agency
In this instance you would sign agreement with two agencies who will work together to sell your property. The main advantage of this is that ideally your property will reach a larger audience. It is quite common to find a locally focussed agent working together with a national agent or even a chain; this would ensure your property has a good blend of local and national reach. The main disadvantage of working with two agents is that you may pay slightly more in commission as both would receive a share of the commission when the property was sold.
You also have the option of contracting with several agencies who work in competition with each other. They each act on their own, and the one who sells your property is the one who receives the commission. This can be advantageous when it comes to agencies who thrive off competition, but the main disadvantage of this is that the agency will likely spend less on marketing your property, or act less aggressively when trying to sell your property, because they know that there is a chance they will not receive any commission no matter what they do to sell your property.
Using multiple agencies may be the best option to take if you are desperate to sell your property, as your property is likely to reach a wider audience and potentially attract a buyer quicker.
Whatever option you go for, make sure you read the agreement thoroughly – make sure you make any alterations you deem necessary and negotiate on any points you are not happy about. You should have open and honest conversations with your estate agent to assess anything that makes you uncomfortable.
The most common area for negotiation is the contract duration. The standard term for an contract is three months, including a notice period. Your agent may want to make this longer, or add a tacit renewal but it is in your interest to keep these as low as possible so that you can easily switch to a new agent.