How To Choose The Right Estate Agent

July, 2022

Finding the right estate agent can mean the difference between a stress-free and a stressful move, so investing a little time is well worth the effort. But where do you start if you’re selling for the first time?

This guide will take you through the process step by step, and it’ll work for you regardless of where you home is.

Word of mouth 

Recommendations are like gold. If someone you know and trust has recently moved, be sure to pick up the phone and question them about the experience they had with their agents.

A great way to get a broader, yet still unbiased, opinion is to ask around in local Facebook groups. 

Do some research

While word of mouth is a great place to start, you should still do a little legwork yourself. Putting all your trust in someone else's recommendation is asking for trouble and you’ll kick yourself later if you have a bad experience.

Again, the Internet comes to the rescue in many ways. Nowadays, you can easily check online reviews right on Google’s search pages.

You shouldn’t take these entirely at face value, though, so be sure to click through and actually read the reviews, rather than just looking at the numbers. Make sure they’re coming from legitimate clients and not a friend trying to boost an agent’s image.

Check accreditation

Checking an agent’s accreditation is another way to get an insight into how they operate.

There are several ways you can check accreditation. First, have a look at the agent’s website to see if you can find any evidence of their association with industry leaders and governing bodies such as The Property Ombudsman or Property Redress Scheme.

Make a shortlist 

Now that you’ve completed your initial round of research, it’s time to make a shortlist. This step is relatively straightforward and self-explanatory, so we won’t go on too much about it.

One thing you need to bear in mind, however, is that your shortlist should contain at least three agents as this will give you a better idea of how they compare when you move onto the next stage.

Contact them

Now that you have your shortlist in place, it’s time to see how responsive they are. Call up your agents and ask them for a valuation. This one phone call can tell you a lot about how those agents operate.

  • Are they approachable?
  • Are they responsive?
  • How quickly can they come out to see you?
  • Do you feel like a valued customer?

Book a market appraisal with you top agents

This is likely to be the first opportunity you’ll have to interact face-to-face with the agent, and it’s the perfect time to see if this agent is right for you.

Make sure you have a few questions prepared so that you can make a judgement on the agents who visit. It’s a good idea to choose your questions beforehand and to stick to the same queries for every agent who values your home. That way you can get a direct comparison. 

Question to consider:

  • How long do properties usually take to sell?
  • How do they market their properties?
  • What do they base their market appraisal on?
  • Are they available at weekends?
  • How often can you expect to be updated?
  • How do they view the current market?
  • Do they live locally themselves?
  • What is their background in the area?

If you feel as though they’re making things up on the spot, would you trust them with what is potentially the biggest deal of your life?

Assess the market appraisals

Once you’ve had all the agents round and received their opinions on the price they think your property will fetch on the open market, it’s time to assess those market appraisals further.

It’s important to be mindful of the fact that some agents will inflate the price they quote you in order to win your instruction. While this is decidedly underhand, it is remarkably common, so it’s vital to keep your guard up and not get carried away.

Do your own research on Rightmove and Zoopla to see what properties like yours are currently being advertised for. But try not to get fixated on these prices as what a property is marketed for, isn’t always the same value that it was sold for.

Click here to see sold on your street prices. Use the filters to give you an indication as to what houses on your road have recently sold for. 

Don’t be afraid to question the market appraisals either. If you’re not presented with solid evidence as to where the figure comes from, you might want to look elsewhere.

Any decent agent will be able to support their valuation with more than just ‘this is what we think it’s worth’.

Social Media 

Follow them on social media to get a feel for how proactive they are on social media. This platform is playing a huge part in property and knowing who the people are behind the company name will help you decide who is best for you.

Who will you be dealing with?

Make sure you’ve met the whole team before you make a decision. It’s not unusual for agents to send out the directors to market appraisals as a show of strength, but they often have very little in the way of backroom support. If an agent’s manager spends their entire day valuing property, who will be around to answer your queries?

Another point you’ll want to clear up is who’ll be handling the sale once you’ve had an offer accepted. They will arguably be the most important member of staff from your perspective, so always ask to speak to their sales progressor. 

Ask more questions

While you should have already posed a few questions during the market appraisal, you still need to dig even deeper.

  • What are their fees?
  • What is their exclusivity period for sole agency?
  • Do they do multi agency? If so what are those fees?
  • Are there any other costs?
  • What marketing channels do they use?
  • Who handles the viewings?
  • Who handles the sales progression?
  • Will I have a main point of contact?
  • Which redress scheme are they a member of?

Make a decision

While there are some definite red flags to be aware of, such as excessive fees or additional and unnecessary costs, for example, you’ll need to take the overall picture into account as well. Sellers often find themselves looking at two equally good agents on paper and feel torn between the two. 

So, what do you do in this situation?

The answer here is simple. Ask yourself two things: Who do you trust the most? and Can I work with this company for the duration of the sale? 

It’s worth noting that it’s not simply about the highest market appraisal or the cheapest fee. You should take things like experience, proactivity, marketing power, and the way the agent conducts themselves into consideration as well. 

You’ll need to feel comfortable working with them. Ask yourself whether you think they’ll put their own best interests before yours. Try and get a feel for what their core values are.

Thinking of selling you home?

If you’d like more advice about selling your home or would like to speak directly with one of our experts, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call us on 0121 430 4448.

HS Homes of Solihull is a small independent estate agency based in Shirley, Solihull. In a nutshell we sell houses, however for us it is much more than just selling a house, it is about being there for our customers when they need us the most and going the extra mile ensure full customer satisfaction.

We have achieved 100% success rate on sales and are a 5 star rated company too.

At HS Homes of Solihull you will be assigned one point of contact who will be with you throughout your moving journey. This personal 121 service is not something you will from most agents. We also offer around the clock support to our buyers and sellers meaning you will always have someone to talk to when you need them.

Click here to book your market appraisal with us.


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