How do you pick the right estate agent?

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Tue 24 May 2016

How do you pick the right estate agent?

 

How do you pick the right estate agent?

Warren Lewis of the property reporter 25 May 2016

New research from cloud-based estate agency software provider, Dezrez, has revealed that despite using online services for property searches, UK consumers value estate agency expertise and want life-long relationships with estate agents.

The study explores the attitudes, perceptions and expectations that UK home buyers have towards ‘bricks and mortar’ estate agents and online tools. It uncovers the true value consumers hold for the knowledge and expertise estate agents offer.

Whilst the majority of respondents (93%) search for properties online, half (54%) admitted that they would use a mixture of online tools and estate agents to deal with the entire property buying process.

A staggering, 82% of UK home buyers would actually prefer to have a personal agent who can deal with the whole management of the home buying process. Those surveyed also admitted to relying heavily on estate agents’ expertise for key parts of the home buying process including: conveyancing (72%), to arrange viewings and inspect properties (62%), make an offer (53%) and for financial negotiations (42%).

Justin Morris, CEO of Dezrez, had this to say: “It’s clear that UK consumers will never quite give up on servitude as a measure of their worth. Buying or selling a home can be an extremely stressful and daunting process and good quality customer service still carries a huge amount of weight. Estate agents are well placed to offer sound, expert advice. They can help to alleviate some of the pressures and concerns that consumers have with managing the process themselves.

What we are experiencing in the property market is some interesting trends that are mirroring consumer activity on the high street. Whilst many people like to be able to search online, they clearly value the customer experience and human touch of face-to-face interactions. However, without the personal touch online only services aren’t necessarily going to be in the position to replace traditional agents.”

The research has revealed some danger areas for estate agents, it highlights consumer frustration with agents who are slower to adopt newer digital technologies. Two-thirds (67%) of respondents believe that estate agents are not fully using technology to their advantage and 44% strongly agree that estate agents need to adopt, and embrace technology, in order to survive in the future.

Digital tools can help estate agents to drive better service but still retain their regional/local flavour. They can also help to eliminate consumer bugbears including: not doing what they say they’re going to do (46%); not returning calls (41%); and offering an impersonal service (23%).

Morris continued: “There is a real appetite for change from both estate agents and consumers, especially when it comes to the use of technology. Advancements in technology, from mobile devices to cloud-based software offer some amazing opportunities for the estate agent of the future. It gives them greater accessibility and freedom, and helps them to alleviate some of the pressures experienced by home buyers and sellers. There’s a breadth of technology that can help transform the property industry and enable agents to deliver a professional and personal service across human and digital touchpoints. In order to survive, and thrive, estate agents must recognise and remain confident, that they too have the tools available to remain competitive and keep customers satisfied.”

Picking the right estate agent to market your home can make a difference, not only to the price, but to the overall experience. Dezrez offers the following five top tips for consumers to get the best out of estate agents:

1. Do your research - Look at their website – are the pictures well taken and how are the adverts written? Will they market your property on portals such as Zoopla and Rightmove? This information is vital in the early stages. Speaking to friends and family also helps. If they’ve been recommended, they’ll likely be a safe bet.

2. Local knowledge - Look to use a company with good knowledge of your local area. They should also have a high profile where you live. This should ensure that the estate agent will present you with the right choices that fit your preferences.

3. Get personal - Meet face-to-face if possible to discuss your requirements and be strict about these. This will ensure they clearly understand what you want, and don’t want from your home.

4. Be prepared - Prepare a list of questions to ask when viewing properties and ensure that you make a note of the answers!

5. Open communication – Make sure you clarify how often they will communicate with you during the process and ask whether they can attend viewings with you. They should be able to contact you via phone, text or email so tell them what you would prefer.