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Five signs your estate agent is terrible at selling property

Terrible estate agent, bad estate agent, evil agent

Choosing the right estate agent to sell your home can be one of the most daunting decisions you will ever make. Making the right choice demands a considerable investment of time and confidence in your chosen agent. But after deciding on your preferred estate agent, there’s nothing worse than coming to the realisation that they simply aren’t cut out for the job.

Getting the selection process wrong can lead to disastrous consequences for the sale of your home and cost you a significant amount of money and emotional energy in the process. If your agent shows any of the following signs, there’s a fair chance they are terrible at selling property.

1. They don’t return your calls

Most estate agents practically live on their phones, but others mysteriously fall silent after securing your listing. There are many reasons why this could be the case: your property isn’t attracting interest from their established pool of buyers, your home may be considerably cheaper than the agent’s other listings (meaning a lower commission), or the agent is not willing to provide an honest appraisal of the value of your property to achieve a sale. 

There’s no sure-fire way to avoid this type of agent, however there are steps that you can take to potentially vet such behaviour. If you are in the process of selecting an estate agent, take the time to ring prospective agents and see how long it takes for them to get back to you. Those agents that are quick on the draw and willing to discuss their sales strategy and experience at length are more likely to be responsive and hard-working after securing a listing.

2. Their advertising strategy isn’t clear

Your agent should know exactly how to market your property from the get-go and implement the right mix of advertising platforms to get the job done. This may include: online portals, for sale boards, social media and print media. For instance, print advertising may cost several thousand pounds and take weeks to reap results, so if you’re looking for a quick turnaround this may not suit your requirements.

To gauge how your agent’s marketing campaign is progressing, insist upon regular home viewings and see how many prospective buyers attend. This will provide a valuable litmus test that could shape your future advertising strategy. You may also get your agent to run a brief straw poll at your open house to see how people became aware of your property.

3. They don't know your market

Local knowledge is paramount when selling your home. There is certain information that an agent will pick up about an area that only comes with time: such as the strength of your local rental market, previous capital growth rates or the best restaurants and schools in an area.

High calibre local experience can also benefit you as a vendor, through providing specific information such as the expected time on market or whether auctions represent an effective selling method. If your agent comes up short with respect to local knowledge it’s advisable to seek out a new agency to sell your home. On you can compare agents on the basis of their local knowledge, fees and selling strategy to make an informed decision about who will list your property. 

4. They ignore your expectations

As a vendor, you will have strict criteria in terms of the expected costs, settlement date and financing requirements associated with selling your home. In this regard, it is extremely important that you are clear about how you would like your property to be sold.

From the outset, you should understand how much commission an agent will charge you and all applicable costs. This will either take the form of a percentage of the property’s sale price or a flat commission rate. 

It is also important that your agent provides a realistic picture regarding the likely sale price for your property. It may seem attractive to employ the agent that guarantees the highest selling price for your home, but this doesn’t always transform into reality. A good agent will provide frank and honest selling advice.

5. Your house is at the bottom of their list

Beware the agent that puts your property in the too hard basket, too early. It’s an expectation that when you sign a contract with an agent they will conduct plenty of viewings to bring prospective buyers through your property. But as the weeks and potentially months tick by, it should become apparent that your home is no longer high on their priority list.

It’s possible to avoid this type of agent by doing your homework during the selection process. Ask your agent if you can speak with their previous clients in your area, particularly homes that took a little longer to sell. This will provide an upfront and honest appraisal for how the agent previously handled difficult to move properties.

What should I do next?

On you can compare local estate agents in your area before listing your property. Agents will provide you with details of their commission rate, sales strategy and local expertise to aid your decision. The choice of agent is then entirely up to you.
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