Once you’ve taken the plunge and decided to buy or sell your home, you face the decision of whether or not to hire an estate agent. It’s an option that has pros and cons that only you can weigh, but it’s important to look at it in terms of your lifelong, rather than short-term, property goals.
On the plus side, hiring an estate agent gives you access to someone who (most likely) has experience in the housing market, who understands the negotiations, legalities and paperwork required to buy a house. A lot of the legwork is also done during the bidding phase, and estate agents know where to find the best deals and how to book viewings.
The obvious downside is that you’re paying the agent for her services, which can be anything from 0.5 to 2 per cent of the sale, depending on whether you’ve agreed on a sole mandate. Whatever kind of deal you make, however, no one will have the same interest in selling your home as you will, although in the corporate culture of today the promise of financial gain goes a long way.
Selling your own home also means you can choose who buys it; this is particularly important for people who have an emotional attachment to their property. You can set the selling price, arrange the viewings at a suitable time, assess the visitors’ list and avoid agents’ fees.
But private sellers often don’t have the same connections that estate agents do. Things like valuations, advertising and contracts can be complex and costly if they’re done incorrectly. If you’re worried about hiring the right person to do the job, look for someone who is personable, enthusiastic, skilled in conversation and communications and who has plenty of market savvy.
One of the best things about hiring an agent is the time you can save. Not everyone has the spare time to put up property listings, deal with half-interested buyers, arrange convenyancing paperwork, call contractors and facilitate the hundreds of little jobs that come with selling or buying a home. Working a full-time job and moving house can be incredibly stressful, which is why experienced estate agents can be a crutch that help you through the process.
Placing another layer between the seller and the buyer may also protect you and your investment, particularly if buyers begin making demands regarding the house’s contents, the date you move out and that million-dollar-question: the selling price.
In many ways, it depends on your unique situation regarding whether or not you hire an estate agent. Agents usually don’t bind their clients contractually so that if you hire someone and you’re not getting closer to selling your home, you can hire someone else or opt for a private sale.
A good place to start is to search for estate agents in your chosen area and have a look at their track record and the services on offer. Click here for Zoopla properties to find listings advertised across the UK.