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How to Choose an Estate Agent
Some tips & advice on how to choose an estate agent

Hello,

We’re Cameron Stephen & Co, solicitors and estate agents in Edinburgh.

How do you choose an estate agent if you haven’t done it before?

We hope that these tips and advice will help you and – although we are estate agents – we shall try to remain impartial.

There is no such thing as a bad estate agent

Although the popular view of estate agents is that as a species they are more closely related to sharks than to people, that is not the case.

Well, certainly not the case in our experience in the Edinburgh property market.

They will always do their best to sell your home for the best market price and in the shortest time.

After all that is their business.

In saying that, the current property market in Edinburgh at the moment, does make the job of an Edinburgh Estate Agent fairly easy.

Anyone who is trying to buy a property in Edinburgh over the past years will know that property prices are a little crazy with buyers having to pay 10% or more over Home Report value to secure a property.

So, getting sellers a quick sale at a good price is not particularly challenging for most properties (but not by any means all properties) in and around Edinburgh.

But, if there is no such thing as a bad estate agent, how do you go about making a decision as to which agent to appoint when the time comes to sell your home?

How to choose an estate agent?

That comes down to what you want from your estate agent.

Is having your property marketed on the ESPC important to you?

Almost everyone looking to buy a property in Edinburgh knows to look on the ESPC website first.

Why?

Because it was the first of its kind and, in our opinion, is still the best property portal there is in the Edinburgh area.

Unlike the UK wide property portals, it benefits from being able to concentrate on the local property market.

We are not knocking the other property portals (Zoopla etc) but we do think that having your property marketed on the ESPC is a big plus.

But it does come at an extra cost. Currently in Edinburgh for most properties the ESPC charges a marketing fee of £345 so that is a cost to bear in mind.

So, if you want to have your property listed on the ESPC, make sure your estate agent is an ESPC member firm.

To be a member of the ESPC you have to be a firm of solicitors which has estate agency services, which most Edinburgh solicitors do provide.

Is there an advantage of your estate agent also offering in-house conveyancing services?

We are lucky in Edinburgh that most solicitors also offer conveyancing services.

We see this as being an advantage, because not only will you receive experienced advice on the estate agency aspects of your sale, but you will also get in-house professional advice and services on the whole sale process, and the purchase process if you are also to buy your new home after selling your home.

So, if that is important to you, remember to choose an estate agent which also offers in-house conveyancing.

What is it all going to cost you?

There is no way of getting around it; it does cost money to sell your home.

And not many estate agents websites provide much guidance and information on their commission, fees and the other costs involved.

So, you will need to fill in a form with some details to request a quote for the fees and costs.

Even where a fixed fee service is being offered, you will need to fill in a form to get a quote to give you the full costs.


Don’t be put off by having to fill in a form. It is not necessarily because estate agents want to lure you into their web – it is simply because by having a better idea of the value of your property they can provide you with a more accurate idea of what it is all going to cost you.

And if you are getting a quote from a solicitor, that quote will also contain information & details about the conveyancing fees and costs to complete your sale.

As for fees or commission, these are the main variables in the total costs of selling.

Some estate agents will charge you a fee/commission based as a percentage of the sale price of your property and others will offer you a fixed fee.

In our firm, we took a decision at the very start that we should offer a fixed fee for our estate agency service.

We are very strong on that being part of our ethos, but if a commission based fee is what you prefer, there is plenty of choice available.

Where will your property be seen?

We have already mentioned the ESPC but if that is not what you want or you want your home to be marketed on other property portals such as Zoopla, Prime Location or Rightmove then you will need to check this with the agents.

Sometimes you will find this information on their website, sometimes you will need to ask.

But you can do some of this work yourself but looking on those property portals to see if they market their properties on whichever is your favourite.

Should you go with the agent who gives you the highest valuation of your property?

We are all the same.

All of us think our property is worth more than our neighbour’s and so we will all be tempted to go with the agent who gives our home a higher value than the others.

Why not?

But make sure you understand them correctly and that they can back up their valuation with information.

When agents give you a valuation firstly this is what they think in their opinion your home will be valued at for Home Report purposes.

And secondly, the agent will give you some idea of what they think your home will achieve in the current market. 

 

Is having good photos of your property important to you?

We think it should be.

It is any easy thing to check. Just go onto the agents’ website and take a look at the quality of their photos and their brochures.

Buyers browsing properties on the property portals do make a judgement about a property very quickly and the photos do play a part in their making a decision on whether or not to take the next step and arrange a viewing.

Ask yourself if you do anything different when you are browsing properties?

Do you want a service that includes assistance showing your property?

In Edinburgh there is a strong tradition that sellers show their homes to buyers whether that is at open viewings or at other times.

But a lot of buyers want to view properties during the day.

So, do you want an estate agency service that offers assistance showing your property to buyers? And is it going to cost more?

By and large, most estate agents in Edinburgh do offer this service but it does come at an extra cost. So find out what those costs are as they can mount up.

Do you like the estate agent?

People like dealing with people they like.

If you like the person that comes round to give you a valuation and explain their services, then pretty much that is your decision made

Thank you for reading this.

How to Choose an Estate Agent? We hope that we have given you some ideas.

We are Cameron Stephen & Co solicitors and estate agents in Edinburgh and we are members of the ESPC.

We offer great value fixed fee for our estate agency and so if you would like to find out more about our services or get in touch to organise a valuation or to request a quote then the boxes below will help you get started.

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