Your Agent Should*:
- Give you a fair and accurate market valuation based on their knowledge of the current market in that location.
- If appropriate, suggest any minor changes or improvements that will either maximise property’s value or improve its chances of selling.
- Give you a contract to sign outlining the full terms of your agreement with them. This is a legally binding contract so both parties need to adhere to the terms.
- Take photographs and prepare a brochure and/or online listing which describe and present your home in the best possible way. You will have to check and verify the accuracy of this listing before it goes on the market.
- List on relevant property websites and, if agreed, in local press.
- If covered by your contract, arrange for a For Sale board to be put up outside your property.
- Proactively market your property, including contacting buyers on their books who are looking for properties like yours.
- Coordinate viewings, either at a time suitable for you and the buyer or, if agreed, you can leave a set of keys with your agent to enable them to conduct viewings while you’re out.
- Keep you updated periodically on what’s happening with your property. If there’s been no interest recently they should advise on what steps they’re going to take or what you may be able to do to help remedy this.
- Inform you of any offers that are received on your property, in writing, no matter what they are – this obligation continues right up the point when contracts are exchanged.
- Negotiate on your behalf – with buyers and/or sellers – to achieve optimum sale and purchase prices.
- Liaise with your solicitor and the buyer’s solicitor (and your seller’s solicitor if you’re buying upwards) in order to progress the move.
- Be your first port of call for questions regarding your sale/purchase and be able to help you with problems or queries.
- Be available for the collection of keys on completion and inform you as soon as the money transfers have taken place up and down the chain, triggering the release of keys.
Your Agent Shouldn’t:
- Give you an inflated valuation to entice you to list with them, or a low valuation for a quick sale.
- Demand you make any changes or major alterations before putting your house on the market.
- Prepare your home in any way for photographs – this is your job. They may suggest you move things around on the day to make sure rooms look their best, or move your car from the drive.
- If your agent is conducting viewings, you should leave the house clean, tidy and presentable for them. They shouldn’t be expected to tidy up when they arrive.
- Ring you with daily updates – they have a lot of properties to market so even though your impending move may be the most important thing in your life at the moment, you can’t expect to be their sole focus.
- Pressure you into accepting a lower offer than you’re comfortable with (especially one that’s significantly below the valuation).
- Conduct the survey – this is the surveyor’s job. Your agent may recommend a surveyor or this may be arranged through your mortgage lender.
- Liaise with solicitors further up and down the chain other than those directly affected by your sale/purchase – this will be the concern of other agents.
- Be able to help with legal matters such as searches, or financial matters such as mortgages (they may be able to recommend a mortgage advisor).
If you feel that your agent isn’t working on your behalf you can change agents
or list with multiple agencies – just check the terms of your contract first to make sure you’re not tied in to an agreement or liable to incur any charges.
*NB. If you are using an online agent the cost will be less but services they offer will be more restricted and may not include many of those listed above. Be sure to carefully check your agreement so that you are fully informed.