Selling your home, whatever your reason for doing so, is a huge decision and certainly not one to be taken lightly.
Not only are the financial implications of selling substantial, but putting your property on the market can be a stressful experience, too.
There are lots of things to consider, not least which estate agent you choose to market your property.
One thing's for sure: You will want a quick sale. So, choosing the right estate agent and ensuring your property is in the best possible shape for market are key.
What should I ask?
Here are 10 questions you should ask your estate agent when deciding to sell your home...
1. What will you charge?
There's never been more choice for sellers when choosing an estate agent to sell their home.
From traditional high street agents, to online-only services and hybrids, knowing which is best for you can be a difficult decision.
For most sellers, the amount of commission charged by an agent will be key to them making a decision.
So, find out from the off what your agent will charge you to market your home.
2. How long am I tied in for?
Before signing on the dotted line, establish with your agent how long you will be tied in for on their contract.
Most agents will stipulate that your property remains with them as a sole agency for 12 weeks, but this time frame does vary.
Once that initial period is up, if your property hasn't been sold you can move to another agent or market with more than one agent.
3. What asking price should I set?
The beauty of traditional high street agents is the knowledge they have regarding the local market, what's selling and what's not.
Tapping into this knowledge can help you when deciding what price to market your property for and whether an achievable price will enable you to take the next step on to the ladder.
While the asking price decision is ultimately yours, having the full picture from a well informed and knowledgeable agent can really help.
4. Is my property ready to be sold?
Getting your agent's opinion on your property and its condition can be a great way to prepare and dress it for the marketing process.
The agent should know the kind of decor that is appealing to buyers in your area and be able to suggest improvements you can make without breaking the bank.
Take on board their suggestions and try not to be precious. Remember, you are selling your home so getting it in good shape to appeal to buyers is far more important than you really disliking magnolia paint!
5. Where will you market my property?
Almost all buyers begin their search for a new home online.
So, if your agent is not dialled in to modern digital marketing techniques, you might be best giving them a wide berth.
Your agent should market your home on the main property portals such as Rightmove, Zoopla and On The Market, but also in traditional ways.
The estate agent's window is still a big opportunity for buyers to see your home in all its glory, so make sure your agent is utilising this space.
6. Will you conduct viewings?
While some sellers are happy to conduct viewings themselves, estate agents really are best placed to do this.
Their knowledge of the area and the local market is as crucial to buyers as it is sellers, so having your agent show people around your home is the best way to secure a quick sale.
However, some online-only agents do not always offer an agent to conduct viewings.
While this can mean cheaper commission for you as a seller, the responsibility of trying to secure that sale can weigh heavily.
Find out your agent's policy on viewings, whether they conduct them or whether there is an additional charge for them to do so.
7. How will you provide feedback on viewings?
There's nothing worse than not knowing. Even if a buyer has viewed your property and hated it, you'll want to know so you can look to improve things for the next person through the door.
Ask your agent how they will communicate buyer feedback to you and when you should expect it.
8. What other properties like mine are on the market?
Again, your agent's knowledge of the local area should mean they can provide you with crucial information on the local market's performance.
Finding out what homes are for sale in your area will mean you can gauge the competition and get an idea how the market is faring.
If properties are staying up for sale for long periods of time, you may be better off waiting (if you can) and assessing things at a later date.
However, if there is a huge demand for properties like yours, you'll want to move quickly to capture those buyers, so picking your agent wisely is key here.
9. Can you suggest a solicitor?
The conveyancing process can be one of the most frustrating parts of selling your home.
All vendors are seeking a quick sale, but if you are in a chain involving lots of other buyers and sellers, getting quickly to the stage where you can exchange contracts is important.
Ask your agent if they can recommend a solicitor or conveyancer to look after your sale.
Word of mouth still counts for a lot and a recommendation from a good estate agent could go a long way to making sure your sale runs both quickly and smoothly.
If you need a mortgage for your next property, your estate agent should also be able to put you in touch with a fee-free mortgage broker with access to the whole market.
10. Is it the best time to sell a house in the UK?
There are good and not-so-good times to sell your home, so you should consider all options when deciding to go for it.
Your agent's knowledge of the market conditions should help you when deciding whether to list or wait.
Spring, generally, is the best time to sell a property as buyers emerge from the New Year and the days become longer.
In summer, many buyers are away on holiday or looking after their children during the school holidays, so transactions tend to drop off in the hot months.
However, autumn often sparks more action in the sales market and the warming tones of this time of year can really make your property stand out.
In winter, the market tends to tail off once again as buyers prepare for Christmas.
If you are thinking of selling, but the market is slow, consider holding off if you can.
While putting your property up for sale to 'see what happens' is fine, if it sits un-sold on portals like Rightmove or Zoopla for a long period of time, buyers could think it is over-priced or that there is a problem with it.
If you have any questions about selling your property or choosing an estate agent, speak to your local Martin & Co office who will be happy to help.