I'm in Bromley (BR1) which seems to have an abundance of estate agents!
The first one was with a Bromley (Market Square) based agent who I'd been speaking to on and off for about a year because we almost put our house on the market a year ago and started looking to see what was around. I'd felt the agent had always advised me honestly and that she'd kept notes on things we had spoken about.
I also liked their sales style, there would be an open day on a Saturday where there would be one viewing at a time but all would take place on the same day - there wouldn't be more than one viewing in the house at the same time. People who were interested would then be invited to submit their very best offer on the following Monday. This would mean people would have had time to consider their offer, everyone would have had a chance to offer, there wouldn't be any biding wars and as the sellers - we would be able to consider all offers at the same time.
I liked this as it's how I'd like to be treated as a buyer - I personally don't like aggressive, high pressure and bidding wars situations!
The second agent was one which is predominant in our current area (Grove Park, Downham/Bromley border, Sundridge park) and I was keen to see what they would suggest seen as they have a firm grip on our local area.
They valued higher than the first agent but seemed to go for the more aggressive route - there would be two viewings done at the same time on an open day and there would be a queue outside of several viewings booked tight together to create a "buzz" - offers would be encouraged straight away and bidding wars would be an ideal situation for us to achieve a high price. The fees for this agent were really high.
Whilst that's great for a seller, I wouldn't want to be treated like that as a buyer.
The third estate agent was a Bromley South one which has a strong presence in the area we want to move to. They were similar to the first, in respect of open days being managed in a similar way but also a bit like the second one, they have a reputation for being aggressive. I liked the agent who came out to see me and she also vaulued the property higher than the first agent. The fees were similar to the first agent.
All three agents commented on how lovely our home was, that the hard work we've put in was great and it was beautifully presented.
I had a preference for the first agent, purely based on having spoken with that agent for so long already but I also liked the third agent too - the second one was too aggressive for my taste but husband thought this could work better to our advantage as sellers but the choice really came down to me this time as hubby works long hours it would be me talking with the agent most. The fees didn't come into the decision because I'd already ruled out the most expensive agent and the difference between the other two was small.
There was really only one thing for it, I had trust with the first agent so I would have a face to face chat with her and then make my final decision - I had my husband sign both contracts and headed out the door with a bag full of paperwork and passports!
The first agent had been expecting my call that morning anyway so I built myself up for the moment, I considered what I wanted to say, gage and gain and steadied my nerves - I'm not good in these sort of situations and I've never sold a house before! - to think, back when I had a different career - I used to present to boardrooms!
I walked into the office, only for the agent to be out! I hadn't prepared for that scenario ha ha - so off I went for a coffee (any excuse for a Starbucks! Bromley has 3 of them!) and waited! I didn't have to wait long for the estate agent to return so I went in and had a chat. Apart from just feeling comfortable with the agent and believing in her confidence and ability - she did point out something I hasn't considered - the other agent tied you in to a 12 week contract and any agent with any confidence in selling your property shouldn't need 3 months to do it should they?
That was that, decision made, papers signed - my agent filled in a 0 week period because she's confident in what she's doing.
The next day we had photos taken and we were supposed to go online on the Friday but there was a computer glitch which delayed the online listing slightly - enough to make me panic (only because my background is online marketing!) but the agent reasured me and pointed out that they had already started contacting their database and had interest and viewings booked in.
The opening day was 10 days after signing the paperwork which is about the norm!
My tips for choosing an Estate Agent are:
• Get at least 3 valuations.
• Check your fees - although if your talking small differences, this shouldn't be your deciding factor.
• If you actually like the agent, you're going to be speaking regularly and they are going to be representing your home to buyers.
• If they seem confident and honest.
• If you personally like the way they treat both sellers and buyers.
• How long you are tied into the contract for. The more confident the agent, the shorter this will be.
• If the agent fees are on the valuation price or the final selling price.Between 1 and 1.5% of the final selling fee seems to be the norm.
• You shouldn't be paying extra for marketing, it's in the agents interest to market and sell your property for their fee. Make sure you will be listed on zoopla and rightmove etc
• It's worth considering if the agent is dominant in the area you want to move to aswell as your current location, They might be able to help you find your new home!
Did I make the right choice? That remains to be seen! Selling your home - especially in a London Borough like Bromley can be hard - it's an emotional rollercoaster!
I'll be writing about the open day and the next stages very soon!
Emma in Bromley xx