How do you choose an estate agent?

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  • How do you choose an estate agent?
  • Premier Icon keefmac

    based on what you’ve said I would go for the local 2-man outfit. not the biggest but well established and with local knowledge. second choice would be the big player but they sound like they will try and get it sold off quick, whether its in your best interest or not. i wouldnt even bother with the guy who turned up late.

    from your descriptions it sounds like you’ve already made up your mind though. go with you gut.

    Premier Icon senor j

    Sorry about the loss of your Mum.
    Very recently we looked at the estate agent with the most for sale/sold signs in the area – then asked them to reduce their commission percentage (they did).
    Just me , but I would instictively go with the local firm.

    Premier Icon annebr

    Put it on with all 3?

    or ask a local who is the best and most active agent.

    or just pick one.

    If you liked them all then it doesn’t much matter. Though if you are a long way away see who seems to be the best with communication as it’s painful enough if you are in the house when they don’t tell you whats going on, let alone being far away from it all.

    Premier Icon tomhoward

    Honestly, get your solicitor to sort it out, its a adificult enough time without having to manage a house sale, especially as you are so far away. Thats what we did last year, selling a house in that london, but based in yorkshire. All we had to do was accept an offer that came in, never having even spoken to an estate agent.


    Please don’t allow the estate agent to under-value the property in the interest of a quick commission and in the hope that you just want to get shot of it.

    Premier Icon jambalaya

    Sorry about your loss, it is difficult I know, I had to do something similar.

    Definitely the local firm.

    We where recently totally legged over by Foxtons, awful obnoxious company. We where the potential tennents so had no choice but to use them as they where the only firm with the property. Going forward we’d just ignore properties for rent/sale only through them.

    EDIT: plus what @globaliti says

    EDIT2: I managed the sale of the property personally and in fact the whole estate process this saving £1000’s of solicitors fees. It was however mother-in-law so perhaps not as personal perhaps.

    Premier Icon dazh

    Tricky one as there’s a huge difference between estate agents. We recently sold our house and one estate agent wanted us to to put it on the market at 40k less than we eventually got for it and tried to bullsh*t us by not only playing down the local market but also slagging off our neighbours who were also selling saying they were just being greedy! In the end the estate agent we went with we chose because they came recommended by others who also sold recently in our area, so if you can’t meet them face to face, try to get some local info and recommendations.

    EDIT: Sorry missed the bit where you said you’d already met them. +1 on not letting them undervalue it. In our case it was the local agents doing the under-valuing.


    Email them all asking about houses in the area at a certain price.

    The most helpful one, with the most comprehensive details of houses that fit your requirements, gets the job.

    Main problems will come from bone idle agents IME


    I’d favour the locals on practicality (*can you ask around for local opinion on them – maybe try a few local solicitors etc), why not try a ‘secret customer’ test – get friends/relatives to use all 3 and see what feedback you get on their performance

    *Re using solicitor, my mum also died, given the bills I’d minimize solicitor involvement.

    Sorry – but if the house is in run down condition have you thought about punting it to local builders/developers/doer uppers ?


    Long story short.
    My mum passed away recently and as executor of the will I have been tasked with selling the now-vacant family house. Quite upsetting as you can imagine but complicated as I’m 170 miles away.
    Got 3 valuations on Mon all very close together.
    Thought if I saw them all (as opposed to the solicitor doing it) I’d get a feel for the people and that would help sway it one way or the or the other. Thing is they all said similar things, have similar fees and I liked them all.
    One was pretty much a very local 2-person family team (there for 30 years) but on usual sites like Right Move and Zoopla and based literally 300 yrds down the road.
    Another was a big player (in Wales anyway) and part of a chain – will do ANYTHING for a sale. The 3rd was in between the two but arrived 30 mins late and was quick to get away and nearest office is 7 miles away.

    It’s a toughie but I need to decide very soon – any tips out there?

    No piss-take answers please as it’s a delicate subject – thanks 🙂


    Towzer – all 3 said the house is very nice and very sell-able.
    Needs little doing to it other than clearing the garage and some hardcore weeding.

    I’m favouring the local small one – saw them first and gave best valuation and had some banter with the guy.

    On another note, another local estate agents (not one of the three) did the probate valuation.
    They are very keen to be picked and have said I’ll save lots on fees as they aren’t VAT registered – which I thought was very odd. They also gave the lowest price.

    Premier Icon jambalaya

    RED FLAG. Not VAT registered ! I am amazed they told you that as they should be. If there is a problem it will be your problem as HMRC will come after you for the VAT.

    Premier Icon epicyclo

    The important thing is you want them to SELL your house.

    The most important thing is their sales record.

    How many houses like yours have they sold in the last 3 months? Were the vendors happy? (not the purchasers). Can you speak to a few of them?

    Everything else is frills and should only be considered when all else is equal.


    Ask your mums friends in the locality what the reputations of the estates agents are.

    Pick a couple of houses with the for sale signs up and go in and ask them what service they are getting.

    Take a good look in the windows of estate agents – you can often draw conclusions from how faded or fresh the images look, if the same property is in multiple places in the window etc. It gives you an idea of turnover, what properties sell, what stagnate etc, if the company is not doing much trade.

    Look up similar properties in the area yourself on the web and see how the prices compare to what you have been given as a guide price.


    Still not decided but on closer inspection the local one has a rubbish clunky website with no floor plans (20 properties – half of which have sold) and they are NOT on Rightmove. The only advantage I can see is that they have a shop window in the village the house is in.
    My preferred option is the big boy (Welsh Estate Agent of the Year 3 out of last 4 years) – 26 branches and heavy online presence and on RM….surely most people look online as a first port of call these days?
    It’s a bit of a leap of faith but I just want someone to say ‘don’t go with the little fish that don’t seem to do that much to advertise properties’.
    Will be letting them know tomorrow.

    Premier Icon ampthill

    I thought estate agents did nothing, until our last move. I’d ask them about there ability to manage the chain

    As you are the end of the chain this is slightly less relevant but check they are prepared to keep working after you’ve accepted the offer. You’ll be top of the chain. Will they have some one phoning down the chain to check that every one is still on board and working towards the same moving date. Our chain nearly collapsed when some one claimed they needed to put off for another week as they couldn’t find a removal firm. If they had the first time buyers at the beginning of the chain would have pulled out

    I assume you’ve checked house prices in the area. I have heard of estate agent doing a deal with a local builder to pass on a low offer to a relative who is not local. Although of course you may want to take a lower offer for a chain free sale

    Premier Icon taffy

    I’m in the same boat – OH’s step mum died last November.

    In the end she decided on a local agen and to be fair they are crap, poor comms -we get feedback but it’s hard to fathom what viewing it was from and the first few viewings they didnt even tells about.

    The property is valued about right but has some issues and needs a surveyor or builders report for it we cant afford to lay out for it and they are insistent on getting an interested buyer to stump up for it – unbelivable I know and they wont fornt the cost now and take it out of the sale price :/

    The best estate agent is the one that markes ist and sells it which these guys and gal’s arnt overly bothered with. The situation is more complicated now as my OH has cancer so i now have to deal with the fallout of her decision (it was her inheritance not mine) so now i’m looking into alternate agents or even auction ><

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