We’re all searching for a fast property sale, regardless of whether our home’s worth in excess of £1 million or just a few tens of thousands. In fact, before our house is even on the market, most of us find ourselves prophesying how it’ll all turn out…
The sheer smoothness and ease of my property sale will leave me basking in the professional abilities of my agent who guides me effortlessly to completion without one single hiccup leaving me with no choice but to accept their ever so generous gift of a box of chocolate truffles which I indulge in whilst reclined on the sofa in my new property that I've settled into instantly thanks to how calm and relaxing the whole process has – STOP!
Snap out of it. Anyone can dream about a fast house sale. It’s making it happen that’s the difficult bit, particularly today where you’ve got more options to consider when selling a property than ever before - drone photography, sell house fast companies (like us), online agents and so on.
So, having a a ‘go to’ list of questions to ask estate agents when selling your house (plus some handy pointers from a sell house fast company like us) would be incredibly valuable, especially for those of you who’ve never sold before.
Well in that case it must be your lucky day, because all you have to do is read on to discover 30 questions to ask your estate agent when selling your house... you can thank us later.
After some specific questions to ask estate agents? Use the menu below to find the answers you want, fast.
- Questions to ask estate agents about fees, charges & value
- Questions to ask estate agents about marketing & advertising
- Questions to ask estate agents about their service
- Questions to ask estate agents about themselves
- How can I avoid asking estate agents all these questions?
Instructing an agent is arguably the most difficult, and also the most crucial part of selling a house on the open market. Schoolboy errors here could cost you dearly down the line, so now isn't the time to switch off.
You've established a rapport with the agent, they've had a thorough look around your house and now is your chance to get your head around them and their sales process. Ask away - the floor is yours.
1. Estate Agent Fees - "So, how much are estate agent fees?"
This is probably the first thing on your mind and the subject most agents want to avoid, hence why we suggest you ask it first.
Estate agent selling fees vary. Some charge a flat fee (Purple Bricks for instance) whereas others will charge a percentage of the sales price - typically this percentage will differ depending on the value of your property. Confused? Look at it this way.
To an agent, time is money and whether you’re selling a retirement flat valued at £80,000 or a villa valued at worth £2 million, getting your property through to completion typically takes a similar amount of time. In fact, many times it's the cheaper properties that take longer to complete. So to avoid them losing out, an agent will charge a minimum fee - at the time of writing this blog, this stands at around 2%+ VAT. But, that's not to say they charge a maximum fee.
Typically, agents with percentage based fees increase the cost of their service with a property's value. So, while an agent may charge £2000 to sell a £200k property, they'll charge £5000 to sell a £500k property. Don’t be fooled by what appears to be a low percentage – 0.25% of £2 million is still a £5000 fee!
It's with these agents where you need to be a shrewd negotiator, particularly if you're selling a pricy property. If they hit you with a steep quote, we'd suggest you stand firm and throw them this curveball...
"Thanks for your quote (Mr Estate Agent), but how can you justify this price? How does your service change with the value of my property?"
If they can't distinguish a clear difference, then well done, chances are they were trying to 'pull a fast one' and you've just caught them out.
On average, estate agent selling fees in the UK sit at 1.42% including VAT (Which?). So, if you get an agent charging you less than 1% straight out of the bag (unless your property is of high value) be suspicious and ask them why. Equally, if an agent comes in at 2% or over, ask them to clarify why their fees is so steep.
TOP TIP: Providing you negotiate well and you've already contacted a 'sell house fast' company like us, we’d recommend going with an agent who charges percentage based fees. Reason being that unlike those who charge a flat fee, these agents are going in most cases negotiate for a higher offer (larger sale price = steeper fee). So yes, mind-bending as it sounds, a cheaper up-front fee could actually end up costing you more money in the long run!
2. Estate Agent Fees - "When are your fees due?"
The majority of agents take their fee when a property has completed. I.e. the property has sold and the contracts have been exchanged. To get their fee, the agent will forward their invoice to your solicitor who will subtract the fee from the proceeds of your sale. Although, some agents will demand a fee upfront (one to watch out for).
The kind of payment should be all outlined in the agency agreement. While you’re checking for that, we’d also suggest keeping an eye out for how long the agent allows in grace before charging you interest on their fee. Usually this will be 5-10 days.
Don't want the hassle of fees? We don't charge them
3. Estate Agent Contracts - "What type of contract do you use?"
Estate agent contracts can vary significantly, so it's best you have a thorough understanding of them before posing this question. That way you're not playing catch up. You want to be as knowledgeable as the agent, otherwise you're on the back foot.
With that being said, here's estate agent contracts summed up in a nutshell...
Sole agreements are the most common estate agent contracts out there, not to mention the contract that agents will be particularly keen for you to sign. The reason why is simple.
By signing a sole agency agreement, you're stating the agent has the sole right to sell your property. In other words, you're their vendor (and their vendor only) for the full length of the agreement, providing you don't withdraw. However, sole agreements aren't as simple as that - they come in two very distinct types that you can't afford to confuse...
Sole Agency - Signing a sole agency agreement states that (as above) you expect the agent to be one who finds the buyer for your property. If you've signed a sole agency and find your own buyer, the agent will not charge their fee. Those of you who're good networkers may find this to be a safe option. Although, if another agent finds you a buyer, you'll be liable to pay that agent's fee too, or at the very least foot their withdrawal charge.
Sole Selling Rights - Signing an agreement for sole selling rights is slightly more restricting. By doing so you're not only giving the agency the sole right to find your buyer, but you're also eradicating the option for you to track one down yourself. Not a problem if you're confident in the agent and don't want to do any legwork yourself, but this does mean that in the event you decided to go down a different path - for instance, your circumstances changed and you decided to go to a sell house fast company like ourselves - that you'd have to foot the agent's fee.
TPBC TOP TIP: Not that we'd ever use an agent, but if (hypothetically) we had to, we'd opt for a sole agency agreement any day of the week. More flexibility and less ties to the agent allows you to market your property to their list of buyers, while remaining free to network and potentially shave estate agent fees off your removal costs.
An alternative to sole agreements
But that's not to say that sole contracts are the only way to go - in fact you can abandon them altogether. You do this through a multi-agency agreement.
Much like it sounds, a multi-agency agreement (sometimes known as a dual agency agreement) allows you to appoint more than one agent. A great way to widen your pool of buyers and up the likelihood of you increasing that all important sale price. But as you'd expect, most agents will charge a higher fee for this service, although the competition with the other agents could have them pushing your property a lot more, so in a slow market this may actually work in your favour.
Saying that though, because multi-agency is used pretty rarely by sellers, it does (in the eyes of a buyer) make you appear almost desperate to sell, particularly from a marketing perspective. If every other house on a property portal appears once and yours appears three times, it's going to raise some eyebrows. Is that good or bad - well, that's up to you to decide.
4. Estate Agent Contracts - "How long does an estate agent contract last?"
Now that you're well versed on estate agent contracts, don't let this small, but highly significant detail, slip your mind. The duration of an agreement is also highly important, as a lot can happen in a couple of weeks. The duration of contracts vary depending on the agent. Read the smallprint and you'll find that some tie you into a 10 or even 12 week agreement (EEEEK!), so this is defiantly one of the questions to ask your estate agent when selling.
TPBC TOP TIP: Short contracts aren't always a bad thing. For the agents at the top of their game, their period will typically be lower because they're confident that you'll renew your contract once it's expired and confident in the value of their service.
5. Estate Agent Costs - "Are there any hidden costs?" (Watch out for these!)
Hidden fees are another one of those questions to ask estate agents, but are also something worth learning about before an initial consultation. Here’s just a few hidden costs you should look out for… (we discuss various other hidden costs further on in this article, so keep reading!)
• Be sure the fee you're quoted is inclusive of VAT. If not, you'll have to add on an extra 20%.
• The fee you're quoted should be expressed as an actual amount or a percentage based on the asking price. Fail to recognise this and an agent could bump up their fee.
NOTE: This is a requirement of The Property Ombudsman (discussed later in the article). An agent who avoids doing this could be playing dirty.
• Check their stance on multi-agency. Opting for a sole agreement in first instance, only to later find that for you, multi agency is the way to go could cause some issues. If you do decide to switch mid-contract, you MUST ensure the original contract is terminated. Otherwise you may end up paying commission for both agents.
• Ensure everything you’re sold by the agent is outlined clearly in the contract. Marketing costs are the main culprits to watch out for here. Services like fancy wide angled photography and video tours you expect to be added extras, however essentials like 'For Sale' boards, access to property portals and even writing the property particulars may come at an additional cost, so be doubly sure these are included in the agreement.
A WORD OF ADVICE: The only essential upfront cost that you should incur is for an Energy Performance Certificate (usually between £60 - £120). If your agent comes in at the top end of this bracket, you may be better arranging it yourself.
6. Estate Agent Fees - "Do you charge a withdrawal fee?"
Another fee to keep an eye out for when dealing with an agent is a withdrawal fee. All agents, be they online or on the high street, have slightly different requirements when it comes to withdrawing mid contract, so out of all the questions to ask estate agents when selling, this is one of, if not the most important. You'll see why below.
The potential costs involved are as follows...
• You cover the costs incurred by the agent during the period your house was on the market. These will mainly be marketing and admin costs.
• You repay some or in some cases all of the agent's commission for the sale. When you consider that the minimum for most agents is around £2000, this could amount to a sizable bill (gulp!). This is usually because your contract included a 'ready, willing and able purchaser' clause. This means that if you back out after the agent has found you a buyer, then you will have to foot a fee.
FYI: In some instances agents may charge you a withdrawal fee on the basis they'll credit it against future business. But don't be fooled by this curveball! This is the agent using their withdrawal fee to keep the sale of your property firmly in their grasp. Sell your property to a cash buyer like us and this is potentially something we would cover.
We'll offer you a deal you don't want to withdraw from...
7. Estate Agent Contracts - "Do you have a copy of your contract I can read?" (their reaction is everything)
While asking this doesn't drag much information out of an agent, it will clearly demonstrate how prepared they are. Look at it like this - an agent who doesn't bring a real (not a draft) copy of their contract to your initial consultation can't have much confidence in their abilities as a salesperson or it'd have been the first item on their checklist. In this instance, if the first on yours is to sell your house fast, save yourself the hassle and walk away... NOW!
8. Estate Agent Fees - "I've been on the market with another agent, but now I'm thinking of switching. If a buyer introduced by the previous agent were to offer through you, would I be liable to pay two sets of commission?"
This is one of those technical questions to ask estate agents that only comes to mind when it's too late. So don't click away now, keep reading because asking this can often be one of the best ways to ensure your property sale remains fast and smooth. Why? Because if two agents get into a dispute over a fee, it can make life harder for both you as the seller, and potentially slow down the legal side for your solicitor.
Maybe Agent A initially introduced your buyer, who has since gone on to purchase your property while it was listed with Agent B. As a result, Agent A is now contesting the fee for your sale with Agent B, who may or may not have been aware of this minor detail. Exactly why we'd always advise you lay all your cards on the table in the event that you appoint a new agent.
Here's some key details to notify them of...
• The names of the parties that were introduced by the previous agent (particularly those who showed interest).
• Make them aware of the level of interest each party expressed. If they offered though, don't say how much otherwise the agent could use this against you later on.
In addition to the above, ask the agent if in the event of a fee dispute whether they would be willing to split their fee. Those who are, prove to be a far safer bet.
9. Estate Agent Knowledge - "How much is my property worth? And how do you value a property?"
The estimated value of your house and suggested asking price are two of the most important questions to ask estate agents, and yet they’re some of the least reliable answers you’ll get. So before you quiz an agent on them, it’s worth knowing the difference…
Estimated value: This is simply what an agent estimates your house to be worth on the current market.
Suggested asking price: This is the price an agent suggests you market your property at in order to achieve its current market value. Asking prices will differ depending on the agent. Some agents opt for the ‘high asking price – reduce fast’ approach, whereas other use a low ‘Offers Over X’ price to stimulate interest and create a bidding war. Whatever tactic you choose, don’t forget that the agent can only suggest an asking price – you can market your property at any price you wish.
Ask us and providing you have strong interest ‘Offers Over X’ is the way to go on the open market. Unlike repeatedly reducing your price, this tactic doesn’t make you look like a desperate seller, and can potential buyers caught up in auction fever. Never a bad thing!
However, if you’re fond of this approach, it’s important you ask your agent first. You see, many agents will actually try and talk you out of the ‘Offers Over X’ approach to save themselves all the admin work that comes with it.
So now you've brushed up on the key lingo, it’s time for you to ask the full question - but be prepared for a mixed response. Just because agents are in the same profession, it doesn’t mean their perception of value is the same. Quite the opposite. It’s not uncommon for agents’ values to differ by tens of thousands of pounds, if not more!
This is because ultimately your property is worth what someone is willing to pay for it (i.e. your buyer). The more valuable it is to them, the higher price tag they’re likely to pay. Therefore, some agents with a group of buyers on their books, who they know would be keen for a property like yours, may increase their estimated value.
WARNING: But, that’s not to say you should pick the agent who gives you the highest estimated value. You see, many agents are known to purposefully overvalue properties (particularly those in a high price bracket) simply to boost the calibre of their shop window and get a board up in a popular part of town. Remember you MUST be realistic!
Our advice would be to get a few agents out (at least three) and to quiz them on how they reached their price and draw your own conclusions from there. They should be able to talk you through how they’ve reached their value based on comparables, the condition of the market and taking into account any home improvements you’ve done since your initial purchase.
Disappointed with an agent's valuation? Get a second opinion today
10. Estate Agent Knowledge - "Do you have any other properties currently on the market within that bracket?"
Most of the time an agent with various similarly priced properties on the market can be a reliable option. Not only could it indicate the agent knows that specific part of the market well and is successful there, but also that they’re considered an accurate valuer in that price range. Saying that, if all their properties in that bracket have been reduced in price, they could in fact be an overvaluer with a glut of houses in that price range that they’re struggling to sell. So take it from us, do your research!
While there’s lots of questions to ask estate agents when selling, we’d suggest looking into price reductions yourself. Download Property Tracker (a free chrome extension) and you’ll be able to track them wherever you go on Rightmove. Not only useful for negotiating an onward purchase but also gauging the accuracy of an agent's pricing.
11. Estate Agent Knowledge "But, is now the best time to sell a house on the open market?"
Don’t get a gigantic ‘YES’ from an estate agent to this question and you may be onto something. Puzzled? Read on…
In the mind of an estate agent now is always the time to sell your house. When the market is strong and business is booming, they’ll likely flaunt impressive sales figures to, quite rightly, reassure you that now is the right time to sell. But then, as the market turns sour, these stats will probably disappear to be replaced by talk of ‘a fantastic opportunity to sell while competition across the market is low’. So while this is a pretty daft question to ask estate agents when selling, on the rare occasion you do get told ‘no’ or ‘maybe in a couple of months’, you know you may have stumbled across something rather rare. An estate agent that might actually have your best interests at heart (shock horror).
12. Estate Agent Marketing - "What's your idea of marketing? How will you market my home?"
Marketing is key when selling your property – there’s no getting round it – so determining whether an agent is clued up on the subject is essential. Steer the conversation to marketing and most agents will talk days on end about the quality of their brochures, the prominence of their shop window and the positioning of their boards. Yet very few will actually do much else. For many Rightmove and Zoopla are their idea of marketing. If this is the case, do yourself a favour - stop the conversation right now, thank the agent for their time and show them to the door. Meeting adjourned.
But if an agent goes on to mention tactics like securing PR coverage, doing creatively written blogs and pushing the quirks of your property over social media, let them remain seated… for now anyway.
You see, it’s common knowledge that people look online for property more than they do in person. Why? Because it’s convenient. They can do it in their PJs while drinking a morning coffee or on the train ride to work. Exactly why having an agent who plans to tap into this pool of potential buyers through more than just the usual property portal, is a significant advantage.
Find one of this rare breed and you could see your property make an appearance across the internet (including large property-focused blogs), amongst the pages of property magazines and even pop up on your son’s social media feed.
HINT: Social media advertising is a fantastic way to target buyers in your local area, particularly first time buyers. Stage your house so it’s instagrammable, take some professional photos and it could go viral and be show to millions of people!
And the great thing, an agent’s approach to marketing tells you so much about them. Traditional agents will be ignorant to the techniques above. They’re that agent who quickly runs out of ideas. If your house sells fast or you’re a new vendor they’ll be your best friend, but when things turn sour and interest is low, they’ll push you to the back of the pile.
Whereas the less traditional agent (one open to the ideas above) is a forward facing, almost always has another idea of how to push your property out to more buyers and crucially, is better bang for the buck.
Or you could cut out marketing altogether...
13. Estate Agent Marketing - "What’s your opinion on virtual tours?"
Virtual tours are another forward facing form of property marketing on which every agent should be giving you the hard sell. Why? Because they benefit both you, and them.
Adding a virtual tour to your listing is an easy way to weed out timewasters and those buyers who ‘just aren’t sure’. Having a good rummage around your property on a laptop is usually enough to answer most of their questions.
So, from your end you’re not as inconvenienced by viewings as you only need to stage your house for serious buyers (i.e. someone who’s worth the hassle). And for your agent, this means less viewings to conduct and less time spent doing admin. Ask us and an agent who doesn’t offer a virtual tour is living in the dark ages – not someone who’s going to sell your house fast.
Fancy learning more about virtual tours (more perks, how they're filmed etc.)? We've written an entire article on the subject. A must-read before quizzing your agent.
14. Estate Agent Marketing - "Where will my property be listed?"
Most agents should outline this in their initial pitch. To be honest, it’s a bit bad if you have to ask. The main property portals in the UK are…
Along with telling you which of these portals (if not all) your property will be marketed across, an agent should also tell you how long they will market it for. Some agents (typically those who offer 'No Sale, No Fee') will market your property for as long as necessary, however other breeds of agent may only specify an X month period, so before signing ask this question and double check that contract. Fail to do so and you may have to pay the agent an additional charge to renew your listing!
15. Estate Agent Marketing - "How quick will you be able to get my property on the market?"
When you’re looking for a quick property sale or to take advantage of the market’s current condition, speed is of the essence. So, this is definitely one of the questions to ask an estate agents before selling your house through them.
Now although we do advise that being strict on your agent to keep them on their toes, it’s important to be reasonable. For instance, if you opt for a professional photography package, virtual tour etc. these will need to be booked, shot and edited before your listing goes live. Choose an organised agent and this should take no longer than a couple of days. Sometimes professional photographs can be shot and edited on the same day! We’d suggest chasing an agent when the last piece of media is shot to get an ETA. This will probably make them prioritise prepping your listing over less persistent buyers.
16. Estate Agent Service - "What’s your philosophy on viewings?"
Viewings are the deal breaker of any property sale, so if you choose to market your property through an agent, it’s vital you’re clear on how they’ll be carried out.
The way you can establish this is by asking whether the agent’s team includes a professional viewer – someone devoted to conducting viewings who will be able to develop a strong rapport with any potential buyers. A viewer who’s shy or speaks with an irritating monotone hum is never going to get you the best price. Our advice is to meet this person in the flesh first, before signing on the dotted line.
In the case an agent doesn’t have a professional viewer, we’d be cautious. Aside from the fact this means the agent may try to palm the responsibilities of a viewer onto you, it could also result in your house being showed by agents that aren’t clued up on all of your property’s quirks and features. Utterly useless in the eyes of any potential buyer.
Scrap viewings altogether - we'll buy your house for cash
17. Estate Agent Service - "How will you provide feedback on my viewings?"
It’s one thing for an agent to conduct effective viewings, but another entirely for them to give honest, up to date and accurate feedback.
Knowing that Mrs Smith, that lady who slagged off the size of your garden and ‘critiqued’ your interior design, is actually very interested and more than willing to pay your asking price, is useless if it happened two weeks ago. As is an agent who gives you what we call ‘caveat feedback’. This is where the agent will pad negative feedback with positive fluff to make it seem not as bad. You can recognise this type of feedback by the humongous ‘but’ that comes with it. For instance…
“Mrs Smith did like the house. She liked what you’ve done with the driveway and said to be personally that a period property in Exeter is what she’s after. The house would also be plenty big enough to accommodate her grandsons when they stay over and the back bedroom would be ideal for her art studio. Although she didn’t need a garage the fact you’ve got one comes as an added bonus and as is your garden, which she could stop complimenting, particularly your begonias.
“But unfortunately she’s already had an offer accepted on a new build in Scotland and is moving in tomorrow.”
To minimise feedback like this, we'd always suggest you request feedback over the phone, so the agent can't hide behind an email. Make it clear to the agent that you want feedback to be straight to the point from the start and you should have far less issues. We'd also request a copy of any feedback to be sent to your email. That way if you change agents and there's dispute over your fee, you have evidence of every person who has viewed and their thoughts. It always pays to be prepared.
TPBC TOP TIP: Want to know how pleasant an agent is to deal with and how fast they are to respond? Join their mailing list and make a few enquiries (send an email of complicated questions, call in for a brochure – that sort of thing) and see whether you’re satisfied with their response.
18. Estate Agent Service - "How quickly do you sell houses similar to mine?"
For those of you under a strict timescale, this question will allow you to immediately fathom whether agent A,B or C is right for you. How? Because you’re forcing each agent to come up with a figure without knowing the other agents’ answer. Something they’d likely know if you were to be less specific and ask ‘What’s your best performing price bracket?’. Agents are professional generalisers, they hate specifics, which is why we encourage you to ask them.
19. Estate Agent Service - "Which areas do you cover? In what area do you do the most business in?"
Sussing an agent’s patch before instructing them is an all too common school boy error. See, your agent’s patch is where the majority of their buyers are hunting, so as you can imagine if you’re outside this area, opposed to near the centre, then you’re far less likely to receive interest and sell your property fast. You may be selling the plushest apartment in Kensington but if you’re marketing to buyers who are keen on Camden, the results aren’t going to be great.
Sell your property to us & you don't have to worry about finding a buyer
20. Estate Agent Service - "Why do you have no boards in my area when agent X has 12?"
If the agent does cover your area and yet they don’t have any boards up, ask them why. Particularly if a lot of their competitors have a strong presence. Their answer is always interesting.
Some freeze, others go off on a tangent, while a select few may throw you a curveball. A card some agents will play is that they have no boards because they’ve sold everything they had in that area. Ask for proof and you may discover the reality is slightly different.
21. Estate Agent Service - "Your agency cover both sales and rentals. Which of the two do you as an agency specialise in?"
While many agents deal in both sales and rentals, it’s important that you understand in which area they have the most experience and are the most successful. If you’re looking to sell your house fast, you don’t want to instruct an agent who ‘dabbles’ in the sales side – you want one who specialises in it.
A great way to covertly drag this out of an agent is to get them talking about their backstory. A subject they LOVE to discuss. Plus, for many it’s actually key part of their sales pitch, so they may even volunteer this information without you having to ask. Fantastic, now you know it’s something to look out for!
22. Estate Agent Service - "Have you got any recent testimonials I can see?"
If an agent attempts to hide, or doesn’t have any RECENT testimonials, then be suspicious – it could indicate they have something to hide. The reason we say ‘RECENT’ in capital letters is because as just like the housing market, businesses change. So, how the business performed 10 years ago isn’t relevant to you at all - you want to know how it’s performing now! Fail to do so and you could be sold a mediocre service for a premium price.
TPBC TOP TIP: If an agent isn’t shouting about their recent successes then chances are they’re either not very busy or not a very good agent. To avoid meeting this type of agent, we’d always suggest taking a look at their reviews online before asking them to conduct a valuation. While you're there you may as well get a cash offer from us...
Get your no obligation cash offer from us today.
23. Estate Agent Service - "How often will you keep in touch?"
If you’re paying an agent to try and sell your home fast, it’s vital you’re kept in the loop. Exactly why the frequency of updates is a key question to ask estate agents. The best will schedule regular updates – weekly is a good benchmark – and will have vendor care procedures put in place. This may be a time every week where the office focuses entirely on vendor care or a specific person in charge of keeping you informed. If an agent doesn’t specify a time period and goes off on a tangent to avoid the question, they could be understaffed or just down right unorganised and yes, you guessed it, one to avoid.
24. Estate Agent Service - "Are you a member of The Property Ombudsman?"
This is another one of those questions to ask estate agents when selling, which you shouldn’t push to the back of the pile, as it can be a valuable lifeline should your agent turn sour. While the Ombudsman isn’t a regulator, it will allow you to issue a complaint and potentially receive compensation if an agent has caused you a particular inconvenience – i.e. financial loss, distress or inconvenience. If an agent isn’t a member of The Property Ombudsman (the majority are) then we encourage you to ask them why, as being a member of the Ombudsman is a clear sign of their confidence in customer care.
FYI: Membership of the Ombudsman isn’t just limited to agents. As a trusted cash buyer of property, we're also proud members.
25. Estate Agent Service - "Can you offer negotiation and sales progression?"
Two of the most important attributes of an estate agent (but also sell house fast companies like ourselves), is ability to negotiate and progress a property sale fast. Pick an agent without these core skills and you may not only achieve far less than your property is worth, but also have to make do with a distant completion date. Hence why if we were in the market to sell a property, we’d base our decision on quality of service and not just fees. Why? Because negotiation is to do with far more than just sale price.
An agent who’s a good negotiator is typically fluent at sales progression (meaning you get sell your property relatively fast). Also, in some instances they may be able to negotiate with a buyer to help you cover the costs of chain break or even get them to pay for your fixtures and fittings. All perks that you’ll potentially lose out on by not making this one of your questions to ask estate agents when selling.
26. Estate Agent Service - "Can you recommend surveyors, solicitors etc?"
Selling a property is a complex process, so when you’re looking to sell your property fast you need surveyors and solicitors that you can trust. Well, that’s what any estate agent say when you ask them this question.
Nod your head in approval and they’ll go onto tell you about the roster of legal professionals and surveying experts they can put you in touch with, who're eager to assist you with your move. By no means a bad thing, although being salesmen, this is something you can expect them to accentuate to try and distinguish them from other agents. Not that that’s the only reason why they’re so keen to ‘help'…
27. Estate Agent Service - "Do you receive commission from recommending external firms?"
Most of us already know the answer to this, nevertheless it's one of those questions to ask estate agents that can accurately indicate just how truthful they are. Plus, it's a pretty entertaining one to watch them answer, as it's the closed question that agents can't seem to answer with a straight "yes". Most likely you'll receive a "Yes, but (insert 5 minutes of attempting to justify why here)"
While an agent is on an appointment to primarily discuss business, you can get a good idea of an agent’s ability to sell and build a solid rapport with buyers by showing an interest in them specifically. Here’s 3 bonus questions to ask estate agents about themselves…
28. Bonus - "What makes you different from any other agent?"
Be prepared for the hard sell if you ask an agent this question. All though their appointment they’ve been trying their best to show you this (i.e. why you should choose them) and now you’ve given them the floor.
TOP TIP: If you plan on asking this question, be sure to wear a watch. Keen agents will give this one everything they’ve got.
They'll typically structure their answer something like this…
After an in-depth insight into their company history, you’ll then learn how they’ve evolved into the agent they are today with reference to the specific milestones and challenges they’ve overcome. FYI, a common one for any agents around before 2008 is how they heroically survived the market crash.
Shortly after, they’ll compare their service to that of other agents in the area, which for any sly agents, will give them the chance to politely criticise their competition. The conversation will then brought to a close with a sprinkling of ‘meet the team’ and talk of ‘agency life’ all to make you feel like you’re acquainted on a first name basis and a valued part of their business.
TPBC TOP TIP: To avoid agents getting sly, DO NOT tell them which other agents you have coming round to value. In many cases, they’re aware of how their competitors pitch and will alter their pitch to give them the best chance of success.
29. Bonus - "How long have they been an agent?"
Why you need to make this one of your questions to ask an estate agent when selling your house is pretty self-explanatory. Typically...
Experience = Knowledge = a higher likelihood of a sale = a bigger chance you’ll sell your property fast.
Also, with their being no official qualifications required to become an estate agent, experience is the closest thing you have to a safe bet.
30. Bonus - Why did you get into property?
This is one of those questions to ask estate agents, regardless of their performance up to this point. You see, while a large part of sales is about knowledge and trust, the most important characteristic of any estate agent is passion. Passion is what gets a buyer excited, helps them picture living in your property and eager to up their offer.
A good tactic is to ask the estate agent how they got into property in the first place. From there, they should be able to tell you why and in many cases recite the story of how they got to where they are today. During this, it's always good to ask them about as many details as you can. If an agent is telling the truth, they'll jump at a chance to sell you on the fine details of their backstory. However, if they're reciting a homemade fairy-tale, this may lead to an awkward pause (eeeerrrrm)
If, like most of us, you're rushed off your feet and don't have the time to quiz multiple agents with these 30 essential questions, then you may be on the hunt for another option. A less traditional buyer, maybe? If so, keep reading...
As a cash buyer of property, we can not only save you asking all these questions, but also save you time as well. In the time it takes an agent to get your property marketed, we could have exchanged, completed and deposited your money in your bank account, without any upfront cost - we cover your legals and surveys.
So if you want to sell house fast then reach out to one of our team today!
OOOPS we were that fast we missed a word out.
PS/ If you're an agent who's just been picked apart using this blog, we apologise for spilling your secrets.