This may seem an obvious place to start, but ask friends, family members and colleagues who have recently moved which estate agents they used and what they thought of them.
Also, look in your local area at the “for sale” and “sold” signs; it’s a useful indicator of the agents that work well in your area.
Estate agents are required to be members of The Property Ombudsman Scheme which allows for complaints against them to be independently investigated.
Many estate agents will also be members of trade bodies. Membership means that they have to comply with a code of conduct, which may indicate a higher level of professionalism and diligence. Trade bodies to look out for are:
You should be able to research this without having to set foot in an estate agent’s branch. Members of these schemes will be shouting about it on their websites.
Visit your shortlisted estate agents as a potential buyer looking for a property like your home. Pay attention to how they behave and ask yourself two questions:
Shortlist your agents, but don’t shorten too much. Try to get at least three to come and value your property.
When your property is valued it’s important not to be too impressed by the agent that values your property the highest – this could be a ploy to win your business.
Ideally, you need an agent who is going to be honest and fair, not one who is going to overvalue your property and then fail to get a buyer at that price
Sole agency is cheaper, but the net isn’t cast as wide and there may be less chance of a quick sale. Multi-agency costs more, but means that your property will get more exposure, which increases the prospect of a quick sale.
You may decide to start out with a sole agency, moving to multi-agency at the end of the tie-in period. Or you may decide to jump straight in with multi-agency.
Whichever you choose, now is the time to haggle. If one agent is more expensive than the others, see if you can get their price down.