Should I change my estate agent?

12 October 2021

Sheridan at Braydon Pond

Is your home is on the market, and are you struggling to sell? It can be difficult to decide whether or not to stay with your current estate agent. There are good reasons to avoid being too hasty, not least of which is the fact that you may be leaving the better agent.

Give your existing agent a second chance

  • Many agents make a significant up-front investment in order to offer you a premium service, especially if your property is high value. Professional photography, stylists, drone photography, bespoke brochures and social media marketing don’t come cheap. Is it fair to leave before they have done everything possible to validate that expense?
  • The agent may be mid way through a marketing strategy. Why not ask them what they are planning to do if you give them the opportunity to continue? The successful strategy may be just around the corner.
  • The agent may be nurturing some excellent buyers in the background, and waiting for them to be in a more proceedable position.
  • Some marketing takes time to implement, for example, press releases may have been sent out, but they may not bear fruit for a month or more.
  • When you change agent, Rightmove marks your old listing as ‘No longer on the market’. There is no link to your new agent’s listing. This means that if a potential buyer previously saved your house as a favourite, they would now assume that your house was no longer available.
  • Your next agent may well persuade you to drop the price – why not give your existing agent that opportunity?

Whilst we’re talking about the price, if you are getting no viewings or offers on your property, are you sure that you have it right?

Possible pricing issues

  • Has your existing agent overvalued your property to attract you to use their services?
  • Has your existing agent researched the price properly? A lazy agent will run off a quick report from Rightmove or Zoopla. This takes seconds, and may be way off the mark. I provide my sellers with a carefully researched report with dozens of comparable properties, and I update this as required. I am happy to create a report for you before you change agents.
  • Has the market changed? The market has been very volatile since Covid, and it’s important that your price reflects the changes locally and nationwide.

Is your agent offering a full service?

The final questions to consider are whether your existing agent’s service is robust enough and whether they are using a broad and effective marketing plan.

  • Who deals with enquiries? The agent who has visited your property? Or an office junior? The smaller the agency, the more likely it is that callers will deal with an expert on your property, who has seen it in person, and knows it inside out.
  • Are your agent’s hours limited to office hours? Small self-employed agents can be much more flexible. You can call or WhatsApp me at any time, on any day. If I don’t reply, I am usually with a client, on the phone, or sleeping, but I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!
  • Does your agent have the right local knowledge? Your average agent may know about local schools, eateries and transport links, but these days it’s easy to Google that kind of information, or ask locals on a Facebook group. Much more useful is expert knowledge for your particular property, for example an understanding of listed buildings, rights of way, adverse possession, subsidence, flooding, narrowboats, and moorings.
  • Have your agents supplied professional photography by a qualified photographer? Have they included drone imagery? I even offer local history research for my sellers! You could offer to stay with your existing agent if they agree to upgrade their service, by adding floor plans, drone photography or video for example.
  • If you’ve been on the market a long time, your agent should have offered to update the photos for the new season. Nothing says ‘lazy agent’ quite like a set of photos of your house under snow when it’s the middle of summer.
  • Does your agent have a good profile on social media? Your property may be languishing because the agent has no marketing reach beyond their shop window and old fashioned mailing list.
  • Does your agent have a local presence AND a national presence? Moving across the country is much more common than it used to be. A good agent will leverage their contacts in other areas and market nationwide. I do this through my Canalside Homes Facebook group, and I have superb contacts right across the UK among my brilliant colleagues in eXp.
  • Would it help to have a stylist visit your property to make recommendations on how to present your home for sale? I include this as an option for all my sellers, and they find it very useful to learn how to see their property through a buyer’s eyes.

Watch out for double fees!

Once you have considered all these thoughts, if you are still considering a change, please bear in mind that you may need to give notice to your existing agent, or wait for your existing contract to come to an end. Check your contract carefully as you may be liable for the previous agent’s fees in certain circumstances.

An objective appraisal

Would you like me to help you to appraise your situation with fresh and objective eyes? If you’d like to discuss your options, please give me a call on 07891 718211. There will be no hard sell, I promise, just friendly advice. I completely understand your loyalty to your existing agent, especially in a difficult market. My only interest is to help you to sell your house.