Whether you’re looking to rent or sell your property, choosing an estate agent can be a bit of a minefield. In Darlington alone, there are over 20 that operate in the town.
For most people, your property will be one of, if not the, most expensive commodity you own so getting the right company in to rent, sell and manage it is a really important decision to make.
Here’s a quick guide on what to look for when choosing an estate agent:
Don’t pick the cheapest!
Estate agents who charge next to nothing offer a service to match. It can be tempting to think all agents do the same thing but they really, really don’t and we can’t emphasise this enough. If we all did the same thing, why are some estate agents more successful than others?
Do your homework
What does their website look like? Are they active on social media? What do their online reviews say? How good are their property details? (Look especially for poor photography and lazy descriptions). How successful are they in the town? Ask around – what kind of reputation do they have in the local area? Do their boards catch your eye? Can you get through to them easily on the phone?
The risks of corporate and online agents
Corporate agents are essentially national agents that have branches across the country. Their head office will be located out-of-town and once you’ve sold or let your property, you’ll have to then put up with call centres. They tend to be very heavily target-focused which means figures on the board rather than getting you the best price, best buyer or best tenant. Sell it, let it. Quick, quick, quick!
Within the industry, online agents generally have a poor reputation. No office to pop into if you have any problems and often fees paid in advance whether they sell the property or not.
The importance of a high street presence
As alluded to, some agents now operate completely online. Others rent small offices on industrial estates. In our experience you can’t beat a good, old fashioned office in your town centre where members of the public can come and speak to real human beings. And remember this key point... everything an online agent does, we do too.
Spring has sprung and now is a fantastic time to put your property on the market. For a free, no obligation valuation on your property, contact your local Venture Properties branch today. We have offices in Darlington, Chester-le-Street, Crook and Durham.