1) HOW WILL YOU VALUE MY PROPERTY? Half of properties don’t sell at all and most change agents before they do. Make sure they can show you how they come up with the figure. Some will guess. Some will say what they think you want to hear. Some will even ask you! A professional agent will be happy to show you their evidence for their recommended asking price.
2) HOW DO YOU SET THE ASKING PRICE? Setting the asking price is one of the most important aspects of a successful sale. Too high and you are competing with more valuable properties, too low and you might miss the right buyer by not appearing in their Internet search. Ask most agents how they ‘optimise the price for the Internet’ and they won’t know what you are talking about! When it comes to pricing, the choices are: a fixed asking price, a guide, ‘in excess of’ or ‘in the region of’ or a price banding – and they all send-out a different signal to would-be buyers. A good agent will explain how this affects your chances of selling at all and how much you eventually achieve. Get it wrong and not only could your property stick on the market, you may have to drop below the market value to sell it.
3) HOW WOULD YOU MARKET MY HOME? With so many properties for buyers to choose from, including a growing number of New Homes (with all the incentives that come with them, it’s no longer enough to just put an advert in the paper and list your property on Rightmove or Zoopla (and many agents only use one of these!). If you want to get the best price, in the shortest realistic timescale, with the minimum of fuss – your agent needs to do so much more to make sure your property is ‘pushed to the front of the queue’ and is seen by more buyers , even before they look at other properties on the market.
4) HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO SELL? Despite many agents optimism that they can sell your property quickly and get you a higher price than anyone else, few have a track record of selling the properties they put on the market in anything like the timescale their clients hope for, or expect – Few again have any marketing strategy or procedure to sell your property in a specific timescale.
5) WHAT IF IT DOESN’T SELL IN THAT TIME? No agent can guarantee a sale but they do need to tell you at the outset not only how long they expect it to take but also what they will do if it doesn’t sell in that time. Too many ‘would-be’ sellers instruct an agent that very quickly seems to runs out of ideas if a buyer doesn’t appear within the first few weeks – an explanation perhaps of why 50% of houses don’t sell and why 60% of those that do are not sold by the first agent instructed.
6) HOW MANY SALES FALL-THROUGH? You may be surprised and perhaps alarmed to hear that more than a third of sales fall through – often leaving sellers upset, out-of-pocket, missing-out on the property they wanted to buy and sometimes in a far worse predicament that before they had put the property on the market . You need to ask the agent how many of their sales fall through (‘very few’ is not a good answer!) and what they will do to make sure yours isn’t one of them.
7) WHO WILL I BE DEALING WITH? Many agents who come to value your property don’t get involved in the sale at all and when (and if) the property is sold it’s then passed to yet more people who know nothing about your property or your circumstances. Not surprisingly, the result can be confusion, upset and potential lost sales.
8) WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE YOU TO SELL MY HOME? Agents may say that they are the best; sell more houses than other agents; are different from other agents or that they are certain they can sell your house easily and quickly – ask them to show you why or how. Whilst you won’t, of course, automatically choose the agent who gives you the highest valuation and lowest fee, you do need to know that the agent you instruct will give you the best chance of achieving the best price, in a timescale that enables you to do what you want to do, with the minimum of fuss and help make sure your property is not one of the 50% that do not sell, or undersell and fail to achieve the price you need to move on.