Learn how we're keeping our customers and team safe during the coronavirus outbreak

How to choose an estate agent

Choosing the wrong estate can set you back months, cost you money and dash your hopes of moving to a home you’ve got your eyes on. Here's how to make sure you make the right choice.

Will @ Nested
Property market insight

For most of us, selling a home is not something we do frequently, so it’s understandable if you feel less informed about choosing an estate agent than you do about, say, choosing a decorator. You only have to pick an estate agent once in a blue moon, and given that moving home is one of the biggest financial transactions you’ll ever make – no pressure, right? – it’s important you get this one right. 

Choosing the wrong estate can set you back months, cost you money and dash your hopes of moving to a home you’ve got your eyes on. So if you’re looking to list your property and you’ve got multiple agents snapping at your heels, what are the questions you should be asking?

What’s included in the fee?

Naturally, estate agent fees are a head-turner that can pique your interest. But regardless of the headline figure – usually around 1% to 1.5% + VAT for a sole agency agreement – you’ll want to know what exactly you’re getting for your money. But before choosing an agent, questions to ask your agent include:

  • Will they list your property on major portals like Rightmove and Zoopla?
  • Will they arrange professional photos? (Ask for examples)
  • Will they write the description?
  • Will they produce a floorplan?
  • Will they conduct the viewings?
  • Will they market the property and how?
  • Will they have a Chain Manager who can keep the chain moving to ‘progress’ the transaction until completion?

It’s tempting of course to plump for the agent with the cheapest fees, but if their eye-catching low commission isn’t backed up by a clear strategy for selling your home, or a team to support the various aspects of selling a home, you’re less likely to sell at the right time and for the right price. 

Moreover, the absence of a Chain Manager who can manage problems in the chain means you run the risk of a fall-through, which in some years has happened to around half of all agreed property sales. Going with the cheapest can mean rolling the dice, and if you end up having to switch to another agent in the future, could cost you time and money.

Do you like your estate agent?

You don’t have to be best buddies with your estate agent, but it’s easy to forget that buying and selling homes is not just about bricks, mortar and money – it’s a human endeavour. It should be someone you enjoy speaking with. After all, a good estate agent will be speaking with you weekly and a sale can take 6 months on average. 

You’ll also want to make sure they listen to your perspective and what’s important to you in this sale. A red flag is an estate agent who doesn’t want to understand your motivations for selling, and is all about selling your home. An estate agent who understands and cares about what you’re trying to achieve will act in your interests and you can trust their advice.  

Selling your home in London?

Book a valuation with Nested, the modern estate agent. We combine expert local agents with the smartest technology to give you the best result from your sale.

What are they basing the valuation on?

Everyone wants to be flattered with their home valuation, but unfortunately there is a tendency for estate agents to value your home like it has a Banksy painting on the side. But to make a sale and proceed with your onward move, you’ll need an honest valuation that’s grounded in reality, not hot air. A valuation should be backed up by solid evidence, such as sold prices for comparable homes in similar market conditions, and if an agent can cite homes that they themselves have sold – great. The Land Registry portal lets you search for sold prices, as does Rightmove, so if you’re suspicious of a high valuation, you can do your own digging. 

It’s important to not take list prices on face value. A home might be listed for £500,000 on Rightmove and be Under Offer, but that offer isn’t public and often will be under the list price. So take list prices with a pinch of salt when they’re used as evidence. 

What is the contract length?

Some estate agents will look to tie you into a long contract length, and if they’ve given you a suspiciously high valuation, may end up reducing the price anyway. You shouldn’t sign up to an estate agents’ contract for any longer than 12 weeks, inclusive of the notice period. That’s a good amount of time for the agent to find a buyer and for you to assess if you’re happy with them. Some agents insist on longer (not Nested), but it is negotiable so try to push them down to 12 weeks. It’s plenty of time for them to show their worth. 

Selling your home in London?

Book a valuation with Nested, the modern estate agent. We combine expert local agents with the smartest technology to give you the best result from your sale.

Do they know the area?

Local knowledge counts for a lot when buying and selling homes, and an experienced agent will know the housing stock in your neighbourhood and what attracts buyers to live there. You’ll want to find out what successes they’ve had in selling homes locally, including the price they achieved compared to the asking price.

What else do you get?

So what’s important so far is an agent you like who knows the local area, provides a valuation backed up with evidence, with a fair contract and a supporting cast to help support your move, including the chain. But what are some of the extras that can make your sale that much smoother and more successful? 

Always knowing what’s going on

We have weekly check-in calls with you, but sometimes you’re too busy or you want an update on the go. So we built a mobile app that shows you everything that’s happening with your home sale 24/7. 

Help with your next home

Nested have a Buying Agent who will provide a data-backed valuation and even negotiate offers on a home you want to buy, so you can be sure you never overpay. 

Marketing that goes above and beyond

Rightmove & Zoopla is just the start. We also promote your home on social media and call an extensive London-wide list of buyers who might be interested. Virtual walkthrough videos are also great for those buyers who can’t make an in-person viewing. 

Why choose Nested?

We might be biased, but we can think of no better people than our amazing agents to manage the sale of your home. From the moment you welcome Nested into your home, we’ll take time to understand why you’re moving, and give you our honest, professional recommendation on a realistic asking price.

Once you’re on the market, with a Rightmove and Zoopla listing featuring professional photographs and a well-written description, you can take control of your sale with the Nested app at your fingertips. Once you’re under offer, we’ll manage the chain and do our best to repair any broken links. But we don’t simply disappear; when it comes to the home you buy, you’ll have a dedicated Buying Agent to negotiate your deal and save you money.

Nested: a modern estate agent with smart tools at your disposal, but the heart and soul of a traditional local agent.

Selling in London?

Nested is the modern way to move. Combining expert local agents with smart technology, we'll get you the best result from your sale.

Find out more

Nested puts homeowners in control of their sale. Our agents provide you with smarter insights so you achieve the best price for your home on your timeframe. When you’ve found your new home, you have the power to move chain free, while we take care of your sale. Our buying agent will even negotiate up to 5% saving on your new home, so you get more home for your money.

If you’re interested in selling smarter, get in touch today. Nested.com - The modern way to move.