Making sure to ask estate agents the right questions before signing up to their services is vital when you’re selling your home.
Zoopla wraps up the questions that every home seller should ask below:
What are your fees?
Typically, you’ll find estate agents charge a percentage of the sale price and they should state whether fees include or exclude VAT.
For example, if you sell a property for £300,000, the fee may be 1% plus VAT, amounting to £3,600 (1.2%), including VAT.
But you may find that percentage fees are far greater than this, depending on the agent, and can be as much or more than 2.5%.
What about other costs?
Remember that you’ll need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before putting your house on the market.
These are valid for 10 years and you should ask the agent how much this costs, or decide to arrange one yourself.
What kind of contract do you use?
Estate agents offer several different types of contract and it’s important to be aware of which you’re signing up to.
Sole selling rights
This is a fairly rigid form of contract, meaning that the particular estate agent you’re signing up to is the only one allowed to sell your home during the contract period. Even if you find your own buyer, you’ll have to pay the agency fees.
If you find your own buyer, you don’t fork out anything to the agent. But if you decide this agent is not working out and turn to another who then sells the property, you are still tied into paying the first agent.
These contracts allow you to market the property with several agents, but typically demand a higher fee. This was traditionally as a result of you having more exposure to potential buyers.
What’s your tie-in period?
An agent’s contract will often include a tie-in period, depending on the type of agreement you’re entering into.
Typically, this spans around 12 weeks, with a 14-day notice period. If another agent sells the house during this time, you’ll have to stump up fees to two sets of agents.
Tie-in periods can vary dramatically between agents, from four weeks to 20, in some cases.
How will you market my property?
The most important thing is to check that the agent is listed on Zoopla. With most potential homebuyers checking the site, it’s the first place to get eyes on your property.
You also want to make sure the estate agent’s descriptions are honest and help point out the great features of the properties they are selling.
The photographs are even more important. Prospective buyers are drawn in visually, so having high quality pictures is a must.
How long do you take to sell properties like mine?
There are a number of factors that can affect the time it takes to sell a property, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any insight.
It’s also worth looking at Zoopla's AgentFinder tool that will show you the average listing time for properties for every agent, in addition to the average asking prices and the number of properties on their books.
What redress scheme are you a member of?
If things go wrong, you should be able to pursue a complaint with a particular professional body.
Article by the team at Zoopla! Zoopla is the proud headline sponsor of the Ideal Home Show 2019.