List of Six..... How to find the right agent for you

Choosing the wrong estate agent first time round is not the end of the world. Depending on which stats you read, between 50% and 67% of homes sell with the second or subsequent agent.

However, having the right agent from day one can improve your chances of hitting your price and timescale targets. Which ultimately means you have more time and money available for the next stage of your life, and that’s what it’s all about, right?

Most of us don’t move home or buy and sell houses on a regular basis. The average length of time homeowners have lived in their current homes is:

  • 9.4 years for those with a mortgage and
  • 24.5 years for those who own their home outright.

Now, I don’t know about you but if I only do something once every nine years, I don’t consider myself to be an expert at it. So how do you choose the expert you want to work with?

I’d love to just say ‘Choose Belvoir Enfield!’ but we may not be right for you and there may be another agent (or two) who is a much better fit, plus of course it’s very much a two way thing and so it might not be right for us either. With that in mind here are the six things we think you need to consider before making your choice:     

1. Price

Hopefully you read our List of Six’ – things to do before you do anything, and did your own local property price comparisons (with the help of your trusted friend). so, you should already have a price range in mind. If there’s a big variation (up or down) between your research and the agent’s figure, can they demonstrate why?

Getting the price wrong will have a negative impact on the final sale price, the time to sale, and your overall selling experience and stress levels.

2. Experience

Has this person/ company got a good history of selling property? Have they sold property like yours before? In your area? In your price range? Do they have a huge database of buyers looking for a home just like yours?

If the answer to all the above is ‘Yes’, then that’s a great starting point.  But make sure to test the answers. Which properties have they sold in your area/ price range? How many people in their database will they be contacting about your home? Would they be able to get buyers from their database to view your home before marketing, so you can get some valuable pre-launch feedback (and of course to check that the database is real and effective)?


You can often tell when people are genuinely interested in something and when they’re just going through the motions, so what are your spidey senses telling you? Is the agent just making nice noises about your home or are they genuinely enthusiastic about it?

Does their level of energy rise as you show them round your home? And when you discuss how they will sell your home, do they make reference to:

  • the specific features and benefits that your home has to offer?
  • the kind of buyer you should be targeting (families, downsizers, first time buyers, etc)?
  • how you can adjust the presentation to attract your target buyer?
  • the things you may need to look at to be able to get the best price (minor maintenance, decluttering etc)
  • Any possible buyer objections and how they’ll be dealt with.

4.People and Process

You’re getting on well with the agent in front of you and you’re ready to put all your trust in them. But is this the person who will be working on your sale? Depending on the company structure, the person in front of you may just be responsible for winning business and you may not see them again. Find out who will be your point of contact going forward and more importantly who will be doing the viewings? The viewings process is the most important step in the buyer experience, so who’s going to be handling it?

Finding an agent you like and can relate to is important but they should also have a process behind them to support the sale of your home. Can they outline this process for you?

You want to avoid the situation where your home has been sat on Rightmove for 16 weeks with little or no interest and the next call is from your agent suggesting you drop the price by £50K.   

5. Research

You’ll already know who the most active agents are in your area, but does that mean they’re the best? Maybe. They’ll certainly have a big database and they’ll be able to bring people to view your home at the same time as they’re seeing the house they’re really interested in – If a viewing lasts less than 15 minutes, chances are they were encouraged to view your home as well.

And sometimes the big boys can get a little complacent and lazy. Try door knocking people who are on the market now with a variety of agents and ask them how they’re finding the process and their agent. Ask people whose homes have been on the market over 8 weeks how effective the large database was. Is the communication still flowing, are they getting regular updates, and does their agent have new and exciting ideas for maintaining buyer interest?

When you were investigating property prices (List of six – things to do before you do anything) what did you think of the marketing you saw? Presentation, quality of pictures, description? Did they leave you thinking ‘Ooh that’s beautiful’ or wondering why the seller chose photo day to hang out their washing or why they didn’t bother making their beds?

Lastly, do you have friends and family who have sold recently and who had a ‘good’ rather than an ‘OK’ experience?

6. Contract

Bearing in mind the chances that you may need to switch agents at some point, there are two key things to look for in the agents contract.

Firstly, the tie-in period. If the agent is confident that they can sell your home and that you will be happy that they are doing a good job even if it takes a while, then there’s no need for anything more than a token 2 week tie-in period.  

Secondly- the notice period. I often hear of people getting to the end of the tie-in period, saying they want to end the contract and then being told there’s another 28-day notice period. Ouch! That means that by choosing the wrong agent you could be hitting pause on your sale for 20 weeks! Ask why a notice period is needed, it shouldn’t be.

And finally………. You might be wondering why we haven’t mentioned agent fees. Well, it’s because they’re not important. If all other things were equal, then yes fee would be important……… but all other things are not equal, just look above.

And if you can easily negotiate a 1.5% agent down to 1%, how confident can you be that they will be able to negotiate the best price for your home? A higher fee of .5% will always leave you quids in, if the agent can negotiate.