An estate agent not performing is one of the key reasons that house sales falter. So the reality is you probably need to change your estate agent. That sounds like it should be simple, but sellers often find switching agents more complex than they first thought. Here, we explore what you need to consider.
Did you know that estate agents only sell about half the homes on their books? Sadly, agents not performing is pretty common, but most homeowners going into the selling process aren’t aware of this. They optimistically choose an agent based on recommendation or the fees they charge (or a bit of both).
Unfortunately, there are good estate agents and bad estate agents – and it’s hard to tell them apart. And when you do sign with an agent, it’s easy to overlook key clauses in the terms and conditions, which can make it difficult to extricate yourself when selling doesn’t go to plan. It’s a story we hear time and time again when people contact us for help.
Do you remember the feeling you had when you first signed with your agent? You probably felt like their best client and that they were completely focused on you. If that feeling is a distant memory, you might be in trouble.
The scenario probably played out something like this... You started the sales process full of optimism, the agent was really enthusiastic and got you a spate of viewings right away. Plus they gave you lots of thorough feedback on how it was going.
Now you’re a while down the line and they’re not calling you. It’s been some time since the last viewing and when you contact the agent they make you feel like you’re being a nuisance.
Here are some quick questions – if you answer yes to some or all of these, then you can be pretty sure your estate agent’s not performing and it’s time to make the switch:
So your estate agent’s not performing and you’ve made the decision to switch agents, but how do you actually go about it? The first thing you need to do is check your terms and conditions. It’s unlikely your agent will have pointed this out to you when you signed, but you could well be locked into an exclusive contract.
In brief, that means you can’t list your house with another agent until the end of that exclusive period (or if you do, you’ll still be liable to pay your original agent their fee upon sale – even if the sale didn’t go through them).
If you’re stuck with an exclusivity clause, there’s not a lot you can do immediately. But you can certainly make a plan for when that period comes to an end. If you’re one of the lucky ones who isn’t trapped, then don’t delay any longer. It’s time to think about your next move.
The problem with switching estate agents is that it’s hard to know whether the next one is going to be any better. You were charmed or impressed by the first one – and that got you precisely nowhere.
So how can you tell a good estate agent from a bad one? Well, let’s just say that from our experience of finding the best agents for home sellers, you need to finely tune your jargon radar. Here’s our view on what makes a good estate agent...
Of course, it can be hard for home sellers to know whether an agent will do all this. In terms of doing due diligence, it’s worth knowing that many agents are members of trade bodies. Membership means they have to comply with a code of conduct, which should (hopefully!) indicate a higher level of professionalism and diligence, and reduce the risk of an estate agent not performing. Trade bodies to look out for are:
But ultimately, a lot of it is about asking the right questions and really getting them to talk you through their sales process and how they’ll market your home (particularly if it’s already been on the market for a while). As well as assessing their promptness and responsiveness in meetings with you (if you’re not sure about them, the buyers probably won’t be either).
Ask prospective agents if they have ‘hot’ buyers already on their books. Find out if they will accompany the people who come to view. Ask how often they will keep in touch to let you know how things are going. And find out what they do once a sale is agreed – a good agent will be able to tell you about ‘sales progression’ which is really important to make sure the sale goes through.
In addition, a good agent should ask you plenty of questions too – so that they can best help you.
They should want to have an understanding of your circumstances and needs. Perhaps you have to sell by a certain date because of a job move or there’s a baby on the way and you need to get a bigger home. Everyone has particular requirements and a good agent will tailor their services to deal with them.
If you speak to enough agents, you’ll start to get a feel for the ones who are selling you a line. That’s why when we’re helping our customers sell their homes we use independent data to immediately narrow down the 4 agents in their area. And then we interview them all to make sure they walk the walk. It helps that our team are ex-estate agents too, of course, as it means they can spot a bad agent a mile away.
We help customers sell their homes three times faster (and for more money). And that’s because we’ve figured out how not to fall into the estate agent trap.
Here’s our tried and tested process to get a quick sale at a good price:
That all sounds incredibly time intensive, we hear you cry. Well, truth is that if you decide to manage the process yourself it can be – that’s exactly what our founder Tom did. On the other hand, you can leave all the hard work to us.
Tom set up Movewise after his own experience, with the aim of making the multi-agent process super simple for sellers like you. You only have to deal with us (and we’re a nice bunch) – we manage the agents and the hassle for you.