10 questions you must ask your estate agent

PUBLISHED: 15:40 15 July 2020

Linhayes Farm was sold subject to contract by Wilkinson Grant during lockdown

Linhayes Farm was sold subject to contract by Wilkinson Grant during lockdown

Archant

If you’re putting your Devon house or flat on the market after lockdown there are some key things your estate agent should tell you, says Roger Wilkinson of Wilkinson Grant

Whether you are someone selling your home for the first time or you have sold many times before, the property market may feel like a daunting environment to enter now that it is starting up again. Many of the old methods and rules will have changed forever and the picture is no longer the same as it was a few months ago.

Fortunately, our expert team at Wilkinson Grant has painstakingly compiled the answers to these vital ten questions you should be asking any estate agent before your property goes on the market:

1) What steps have you taken to protect your clients from Covid-19?

There have never been times like these for moving home – for the buyer, the vendor and the estate agent. Wilkinson Grant are members of The Guild of Property Professionals (guildproperty.co.uk) and we follow strict government Covid-19 health and safety guidelines to keep clients, customers and staff safe. Be sure that any agent you chose to work with is also following the ‘safety first’ approach when it comes to property viewings.

2) What should my asking price be?

An attractive guide price is almost always the best way of achieving the best sale price. The guide price should be set to attract the most interest from the widest pool of potential buyers, enabling your agent to negotiate the best sale price for you. An important factor when choosing an agent is their knowledge of the area and success in selling properties like yours. Comparing the guide price for your home with the prices of unsold properties currently marketed is not always the best way to set an asking price. Frankly, this may be the reason those properties are not yet sold.

3) What selling strategy do you have?

There are different levels of service in estate agency. On the one hand, you have the “hit and hope” agents who will simply add your property to portals and hope and pray for interest. That doesn’t seem much of a strategy to us. On the other hand, you also have strategic agents with a plan. This plan combines extensive marketing, pro-active staff who stimulate active registered buyers and enhanced internet advertising to ensure your property appears at the top of searches and is seen more by potential buyers. Wilkinson Grant places itself in this category of estate agent and we are proud of the successful track record such a professional approach brings.

4) Where will you market my property?

With Covid-19 fewer people will be visiting agents’ offices. With the new government guidelines many will prefer to deal with fewer but more professional agents and definitely with the agents that have the most properties for sale. In our experience, you have two main types of buyers in the market - active buyers who are engaging with us and registered on our database and those buyers regularly visiting the UK’s top property portal – Rightmove. So, it is more important than ever to stand out from the crowd and not be “just another listing”. There are also passive buyers who are just beginning to consider a move and seeing their dream house become available can get them to be more proactive. You want to be sure your agent is advertising properties where the audience is, online. Our own Wilkinson Grant website attracts an average of 10,000 users a month. We also have a large social media following and greatly enhanced packages on Rightmove. All of our properties are also listed on numerous other property websites including OnTheMarket, Nethouseprices and Propertyplatform.

5) What processes do you have to find buyers?

We are firm believers that it takes a lot of skill to match the right person to your property and to achieve the best price and to not rely on technology alone. So, be sure to ask your agent about their processes for matching you with potential buyers. You want to know they actively contact their buyer database and ensure they know what their buyers want on a regular basis. An agent needs to be aware of the changes in a buyer’s wants and needs in order to open up opportunities they may not have considered and continue to correctly match them to the right properties. At Wilkinson Grant we make it our job to offer a ‘Special Buyer Service’ that is rivalled by no other estate agent – this gives us access to the most driven and active buyers for your home. We phone them with the exciting news when we have something coming to market they will love before listing the property on the various portals.

Read more: Stamp duty holiday - what can you get in Devon ?

6) Will you conduct viewings for me?

It is best for an estate agent to accompany the viewings, although some sellers may prefer to do this themselves. The knowledge your agent has of the area and other properties buyers may be viewing will best place them to answer any questions. They also know how to point out the many plus points of your property to match it with the potential buyer. Make sure you find out your agent’s safety procedures on viewings and if there is a charge to accompany buyers.

7) Will you get viewing feedback for every viewing?

The good, bad and fantastic feedback – you will want to hear it all. There is nothing worse than not hearing from your estate agent after conducting a viewing as they have no feedback for you. Properly researched feedback is the key to ensuring your home finds a potential buyer as soon as possible. Be sure to ask your estate agent if they will collect feedback from all viewers and how this will be delivered to you.  

8) Who will be handling the marketing and sale and are they trained?

You may well be choosing a company as you liked the person who valued your property, only to find once you have signed on the dotted line with that estate agent this was the only time you ever saw the original person. In our view, you want to be sure you will be in touch with the person that you personally put your trust in and discussed and agreed the terms of service with you.

9) How much will you charge?

How much your agent charges is important – but remember, the main thing is your ‘walk-away’ figure…even more so, if you are buying and selling.

You will want to know how much you are going to achieve after fees and how much you end up paying for your next home. Ask yourself this fundamentally important question: if an agent has very low fees, will they work as hard to find as many buyers and achieve you the best possible price?

10) Is now the time to sell my home?

During lockdown the entire housing market was put on hold. Those who have sold still need to find and those that were moving for schools, jobs, family, health, finance or other reasons, still need to move.

The pent-up demand is a real thing. But on top of that 28%* of people that were not looking to move before lockdown are now looking to move. So is now, with all that is going on, really the right time to move? Our answer is a resounding YES – if done correctly and safely with the new marketing approach required. So, do you have the perfect ten? The team at Wilkinson Grant firmly believes once you have the answers you are in a great place to sell your property and/or find your next dream home. *Rightmove survey – 21-26 May, 2020

Wlkinson Grant & Co has been independently identified as one of the top estate agents in the country and now features in the Best Estate Agent Guide. The Best Estate Agent Guide is a website that provides an independent reference source for sellers and landlords, who can search for the best sales and lettings agency offices in their areas. The website is compiled by Property Academy (an organisation that works with agents to improve service standards in the property industry), with the support of Rightmove, the UK’s leading property portal. There are around 15,000 estate agents in the country and Wilkinson Grant & Co.was among this year’s award winners, putting them in the top 3% of estate agents in the country. Wilkinson Grant & Co principal, Roger Wilkinson said: “These awards follow a rigorous and independent assessment and we are thrilled to have been recognised as among the best in the country – national recognition for our hard-working team.”

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