How to Work with Your Estate Agent

Excited young couple receiving keys to new apartment and smiling towards estate agent.
Added on January 13th 2020

You might think that once you’ve engaged your estate agent that all you need to do is primp the cushions and wait for your agent to bring in all the viewings and the offers.

This isn’t quite so, though. There’s a lot that you can do to make your agent’s job easier and your place sell faster.

Tidy up, inside and outside

Outside is actually just as important as inside, as kerb appeal has a huge effect on potential buyers as they drive past your property or walk up your garden path.

Make sure the garden looks neat and tidy, with no rusty old kids’ bikes or leaf-dotted paddling pools lying around. Paint your front door if necessary and plant some quick-blooming flowers in the beds or in tubs.

When it comes to the inside, you should start to depersonalise the place as soon as you go on the market. Remove fridge magnets, children’s artwork, photos, magazines and so on – you could see this as the start of the packing process. You should also take care not to cook any strong-smelling foods before viewings and if your agent suggests taking a wall back to a neutral colour, you should listen.

Make arrangements for your pets

If you have dogs or cats, it might be an idea to have a neighbour look after them during viewings. Stranger pets, like snakes or spiders, may need to be concealed from view or rehomed for a while and it’s especially important to remove all evidence of feed bowls and beds, as they can generate unpleasant smells.

Never turn down a viewing

Always be ready for a viewing! This means keeping the place at a minimum level of tidiness so that when the call comes, all you have to do is run the vacuum cleaner over the floors, stack the dishwasher and then head out.

Do you need to be there?

Most viewers feel more comfortable if the owners are out, because they can talk freely without worrying about offending you. They can also ask awkward questions that the estate agent can answer, or discuss problems and come up with solutions.

If there’s a second viewing, the agent might want you there to meet the prospective buyers, as you can talk about your property in more detail and get a feel for one another.

Always let your agent know if you’re going away

have a key to your property, but if you’re going away, then let your estate agent know if you’re still accepting viewings. It’s also useful, if the place is unoccupied for a few days, for the agent to come in and turn on the heating and pick up post before the viewing starts.

Get all your paperwork together

You will get an offer at some point and so you should be ready to go. Collect together the reports and paperwork from any building work, your energy certificates, deeds, warranties for the boiler and so on, as well as a list of everything that you’ll be leaving behind for the buyer.

Have a solicitor and conveyancing company ready

Your agent might be able to recommend a solicitor to you, or you may already have someone in mind. If you haven’t, however, then start looking for one as soon as possible because you can’t progress your sale without the legal help. It’s important to choose a solicitor who gets along with your estate agent, too, as a good working relationship makes everything move along more smoothly.

Find a new home

This might seem like a ridiculous piece of advice, but if you suddenly get a great offer and your buyers can proceed quickly, then you’ll need somewhere to move to. A sale can be derailed by the seller not being quite ready enough, so have a few places lined up, and even be prepared to move into a short-let if necessary.

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