A homeowner compares estate agent websites. SAM Conveyancing's Guide for How to Choose an Estate Agent for your sale
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How to choose an estate agent to sell your home

21/08/2023
(Last Updated: 01/02/2024)
6 min read
Key Takeaways
  • Shop around and compare different agencies as there are many factors to consider.
  • The option with the lowest commission is not necessarily the best.
  • Look out for membership to trade bodies you can trust.
  • Estate agents who list properties similar to yours will be better positioned to sell your type of property to your target buyer.
  • Communication and rapport are essential, as your estate agent will be the bridge between you and all your potential buyers.
  • When you've chosen your estate agent, don't just use their recommended solicitor by default. Compare a few quotes as you can often find a better deal yourself.
  • We have compiled a full list of all the tricks an estate agent can use and how to combat them. Read more - Estate agent tricks - How to spot and beat them!.


So, you need to sell your house. Selling a property can be a daunting task, especially during times of market uncertainty, where buyers are more cautious and their finances are thinly stretched. Your estate agent and your conveyancing solicitor will be your main advocates through the process, with your best interests at heart.

With the right professional team by your side, the process is as smooth as it can be. Choosing the best estate agent is crucial to ensure that you achieve the best possible price for your property within a reasonable timeframe.

This guide covers the essential steps, to help you make an informed decision when selecting your estate agent.

Experience and Expertise

Look for estate agents who have sold plenty of properties similar to yours. Experience in selling your property type will help them sell yours. If they specialise in your type of property, they'll be well practised in selling to your target buyers.

Local Market Knowledge

Choose an agent who is knowledgeable about your local property market. They should be able to provide you with information on recent sales, current market conditions, and neighbourhood amenities. Their insights will help you set a competitive price for your property.

Reviews & Recommendations

Check out online reviews and testimonials from previous clients. Independent review platforms and online reviews can offer valuable insights into an agent's professionalism, communication skills, and overall effectiveness. You should also ask friends, colleagues and neighbours for their recommendations and any cautionary tales about their experiences with estate agents.

Accreditations and Memberships

Your estate agent should (at least) be a member of the Property Ombudsman Scheme and will ideally be a member of another trade body, such as the Guild of Property Professionals, National Association of Estate Agents or Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Members of these groups must uphold strict codes of practice.

Marketing Strategy

Ask potential agents about their marketing strategies. A successful sale often relies on effective marketing, including high-quality photographs, virtual tours, and widespread property listing exposure. A proactive marketing plan can attract more potential buyers to your property; the more buyers, the more competition which can drive up your sale price, and the better your choices when accepting an offer. There's no benefit to using a cheaper agent if they can't get you the buyers you need.

Should you use more than one estate agent?

Sole agency means one estate agent has the exclusive rights to list your property and get all the commission when it sells. This is the most popular option as it is cheaper. Multiple agency means you instruct several agencies to list your house. Because it is more expensive, it is normally only used by sellers who need to maximise their chances of finding a buyer. 

The competition between agents can also motivate them to work harder to secure the sale, however, they may try and lead you to accept a lower offer rather than wait for a better one and risk a competing agent taking the 'win'. You'll need to consider how saleable your property is and decide which route to take.

Valuation Process

Request valuations from multiple agents and compare their assessments. Beware of agents who provide unrealistically high valuations, as this might be a tactic to secure your business which may result in disappointment. Choose an agent who provides a well-reasoned valuation backed by market data. If they are a member of a trade body, their valuation is more likely to be reliable. The most reliable valuation you can get is from an independent RICS valuer.

Fees and Contracts

Understand the agent's fee structure and contract terms before making a decision. While a lower fee might be appealing, it's essential to consider the level of service you'll receive. A transparent and reasonable fee structure is key. You can haggle a little if you have a cheaper offer from another agent but beware of an agent who accepts a much lower commission too readily. If this reflects that they are struggling for business, the service they deliver may not be worth the savings.

Always read the terms carefully and look out for hidden extras.

Communication Skills

Effective communication is crucial. They should keep you updated on inquiries, viewings, and the progress of the sale. Choose an agent who is responsive, approachable, and capable of addressing your concerns. You'll get an idea of this from reviews and recommendations. You should also ask plenty of questions such as 'What times will viewings take place?' - get a feel for how quick and how helpful they are in their responses. If they can't respond quickly while they're trying to win your custom, it's unlikely they'll be any better when you're selling with them.

Compatibility

Lastly, trust your gut & choose an agent who you feel good about. Rapport and understanding can make the entire selling process more pleasant and productive.

So, how do I choose a good agent?

Shortlist three strong options based on your research and ask them for any further information you need on the above factors. It's important to be thorough at this stage, as they will be the bridge between you and your potential buyers.

Choosing the best estate agent means finding someone who understands your needs, communicates effectively and demonstrates a commitment to helping you achieve your goals in the current property market.

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Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Written by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Reviewed by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.

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