Key takeaways from this guide: this guide on changing estate agents aims to help you make an informed decision. We cover the potential fees, legal complications and, how you can make sure you choose the right estate agent for you.
Are you hoping to move house but are experiencing problems with your house sale? If so, changing estate agents may be the best solution for you. However, not all homeowners know how to change estate agents, and even if they do, they may not know about the fee involved.
This means that sellers all-too-often find it harder to switch estate agents than they imagined.
Luckily, we can give you the information you need to help you change your estate agent if you’re struggling with the process of selling.
So, read on and discover our helpful blog guides to getting a new estate agent and get some helpful advice so you can sell your home more easily on the open property market.
In this article, you’ll find:
- When should I switch estate agents?
- Is my estate agent letting me down?
- Is it easy to change estate agents?
- How do I choose a new agent?
- What should I ask a prospective agent?
When should I change estate agents?
Are you wondering if your estate agent’s all they’re cracked up to be?
Unfortunately, not every estate agent can offer the same level of service. In fact, evidence shows that the average estate agent will only sell around 50% of the properties on their books even though they are on commission.
As you can see, then, underperforming agents are fairly common. Yet, the majority of homeowners selling their property have no idea about this.
When you’re ready to sell your home, you tend to choose an estate agent based on recommendations or, perhaps, the amount of fees they’re charging. Yet doing a little more online and in-person research before choosing the right agents for you could save you a lot of time and effort.
It’s important to understand, too, how long it could take to sell your house.
Sadly, some estate agents are good, and others are bad, and it might be difficult to tell the difference.
When you sign up with an estate agent, it’s all-too-easy to overlook the key clauses hidden within the terms and conditions, which made extricating yourself and switching to another agent complicated if selling hasn’t gone according to plan.
Frequently, sellers feel very differently about their estate agent in the days immediately after signing up for their services to how they feel several weeks or months down the line when the prospect of selling their home is diminishing rapidly.
Most estate agents will make a new client feel optimistic about the selling process – after all, that’s an important part of their job. In this early period, they focus on the seller’s needs and a spate of speedy viewings usually rapidly follows.
Read more: how to deal with estate agents when buying a property?
Even better, the agent will usually give thorough advice about how everything is going and outline everything that they’ve done to get the job done effectively.
They’ll probably say how they’re intensively advertising the property and how their sales team uses all the tools at their disposal to get your house sold.
However, if a buyer doesn’t come forward to show interest and make an offer, and a sale doesn’t materialise after a short period of time, things can change rapidly.
The agent’s calls may become few and far between. A longer and longer period of time may elapse between viewings, and if you call the estate agent to ask what’s happening, they might end up feeling as if you’re a nuisance.
If this is your current experience with your estate agents, it’s likely that you should consider switching to another agent.
Is my estate agent letting me down?
If you’re unsure whether switching estate agents is the right course of action for you, here are a few questions to ask yourself about the experience you’re having.
If your answer is yes to most or even all of them, it’s very likely that your estate agent is letting you down, and you should consider making the switch.
Are you being given excuses all the time?
Some common ones include: “It’s a slow property market at the moment”, “it isn’t the right season for selling, but things will pick up soon.” Some of the reasons could be valid. However, if you notice that they’re happening all the time, it could be an indicator of a problem with your estate agent.
Are you getting very few viewings?
You should aim to have several viewings each week, and if you’re not getting them, switching estate agent could be the answer. However, it’s important that you don’t make hasty decisions before understanding other reasons which might be stopping your house from being sold.
Has your estate agent told you that you should reduce your asking price?
Often, agents will suggest this when a sale doesn’t materialise as quickly as expected. You should continue to pay attention to houses similar to yours (in the same area) and what they’ve sold for. By keeping up to date with how much properties are selling for, you’re able to navigate this situation more effectively.
Is it hard to contact your estate agent?
If you find your agent is always out of office or doesn’t pick up their calls, things definitely aren’t working out.
If you feel as if your estate agent is avoiding you, it’s likely they are, and it’s certainly worth going elsewhere if you want your property to be sold soon.
Helpful tip: the estate agents that use Moovshack’s property app, have an open line of communication between the buyer and their staff.
Is it easy to change estate agents?
If you’ve come to the conclusion that your current estate agent is letting you down and switching to a new estate agent to help you sell your property could be the solution you’re looking for, how can you go about making the change?
The first step is to check out the terms and conditions in your contract. Your estate agent may not have pointed it out, and you may be locked into a legal sole agency agreement.
This means that, under the terms of the contract, you’re not permitted to pull out of the agreement and list your property with any other agent until a specific exclusive period has elapsed.
If you try to sell your house through another agent, you will still be required to pay the agreed fee to the original agent when the sale goes through, even when the sale doesn’t go through them.
This is in addition to fees and commission to the agent that does arrange the sale.
Unfortunately, if you have exclusivity clauses in your legal contract, you can’t do much about it, at least in the short term. However, it means you can start planning what you’ll do once the period ends.
On the other hand, if there’s nothing about exclusivity in your agreement, don’t waste any more time. Consider your next move carefully and check out what other agents in your area can offer you.
How do I choose a new agent?
If you’re ready to switch agent, you must ensure you don’t make the same mistake again. Do your research carefully, both online and in-person, and always check that you understand the terms and conditions before signing any contract to sell your property.
There are a few telltale signs that indicate an agent can be trusted:
- They’ll have a good track record and experience in selling similar properties to yours.
- They’ll have plenty of prospective buyers already on their books and take action to contact them. If they solely rely on Rightmove to do the job of selling, you need to look elsewhere.
- They are prepared to set up a viewing with serious buyers and not just any prospective buyer who has shown a vague interest.
- They push hard to close offers.
It’s also essential to check whether your chosen local agent is a member of an official trade body. This will mean they must adhere to codes of conduct and, therefore, they should be more diligent and professional. Some trade bodies include:
- The NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents)
- The RICS (Royal Institution Of Chartered Surveyors)
- The Guild of Property Professionals
Essentially, the main thing is to ask lots of questions. Make sure they talk you in detail through the process they’ll use and explain their property marketing procedures.
If you’re not impressed by the service they provide, it’s unlikely that a buyer will be either, so look elsewhere.
What should I ask a potential estate agent?
A few questions will help you identify whether an agent is a good choice when it comes to getting your property onto the market and sold within a reasonable period of time.
- Ask if there are already hot buyers on their books (i.e. people who have already expressed a desire to buy a property like yours.)
- Ask if they will accompany anyone who comes for a viewing.
- Ask how frequently they’ll be keeping in touch to keep you informed about progress.
- Ask about their marketing processes.
- Ask what happens once offers are received, and the sale has been agreed.
- Ask whether their contracts contain exclusivity agreements.
- Ask how much commission they charge and the price of the fee you’ll need to pay.
The agent should also take the time to find out your needs and wants regarding your sale. Maybe you’re moving because you’re taking a new job and buying a new home in a different part of the country, for example, and therefore have a specific date in mind.
If they’re armed with too little information, they won’t tailor the services they offer to meet your specific requirements. They should also explain the contract agreement to you and clearly outline the commission and fee that you’ll be required to pay.
Here are our top tips to point you in the right direction:
- An agent that charges the lowest fee and commission may appear attractive; however, the cheapest price doesn’t always equate to the best service.
- Read the small print in all contracts to make sure you notice anything that stands out as a potential issue.
- Keep a close track of progress, and if you notice that things aren’t going according to plan, take action immediately.
- If your property remains unsold after around 4 to 6 weeks, consider bringing another agent in. This is a better idea than reducing your asking price.
- Once an offer is received, push to completion by chasing up searches, staying in contact with your solicitors and getting your questions answered quickly.
- Remember that just because your property is under offer, the job isn’t finished yet. You must keep on pushing the process through to the end. You can’t rest until the contract has been exchanged and completion is over.