How to choose an estate agent in a tough climate

By Jonathan Wood, head of residential at Bidwells, a member of the N&DAEA, Norwich & District Association of Estate Agents.

Now we have left 2010 behind, attentions have turned to what the New Year will bring.  As I am sure you are all aware, the UK economy is still under enormous pressure to boost tax revenues to cut its deficit with an increase in VAT from 17.5% to 20%, duty on fuel to increase and the ability to borrow is still a tall order.  However, believe it or not there are still plenty of buyers and sellers who need to move regardless.

So why is it so important to make a calculated decision on which agent you should appoint? Firstly consider the market that you are in.  There is no point instructing an agent who works in a very different market.  The ability to attract the most appropriate buyer would be dramatically reduced. If you can bear it, try and get at least three agents out to appraise your property.  This will demonstrate the approaches from the agents, what type of advice they give with regards a marketing strategy and more importantly, values. Ask what organisations the agents are members of.  There are quite a few but some key ones are the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), more locally the Norwich and District of Estate Agents (NADEA), the  Property Ombudsman Scheme, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and if you are looking to let your property out, look for the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).  All organisations hold strict guidelines that the agent must adhere to. Another factor is can you work with the agent?  Do they offer a friendly approach, whilst demonstrating extensive knowledge?=Work off recommendations.  If you know of someone who has recently bought or sold, ask them how they got on.  What was the good points and what they found poor. Out of all the agents they had dealing with, which ones would they recommend. You should always remember, your agent is working for you and should always be working in your best interests.

 Jonathan is on 01603 763939

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