Thu, 31 May 07
Choosing the right estate agent to sell your property can mean the difference between a successful sale and a nightmare...
Without the ability to really compare estate agents, a consumer’s choice of estate agent is often simply a matter of luck.
To enable sellers to compare estate agents and make a more informed choice, property website Home.co.uk has now published important consumer protection information plus online advertising performance details for each of the 17,000 estate agents listed in their UK directory.
Home.co.uk believes that greater transparency in the home selling market is vital to improve customer service levels, commented Doug Shephard, Director at Home.co.uk. An estate agent’s offer may look attractive, with a low commission rate and a high valuation, but if they don’t listen to you or advertise beyond their shop window you could be in for a long and unpleasant wait.
To say estate agents have a mixed reputation is to put it mildly, but when it comes to selling property most people still opt to instruct a local estate agent. Clearly, vendors feel they need to employ the home selling services of an estate agent but they also need to be able to distinguish which agents will deliver an ethical and efficient service.
Agents ‘working to raise standards’
To their credit, many estate agents are working to raise standards in the profession: in fact over a third of all UK estate agents have signed up to operate according to Codes of Practice as laid out by the Ombudsman for Estate Agents (OEA) and the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).
Both these schemes give added assurance to the home seller that the estate agent they are dealing with has addressed the issues of malpractice and have a clearly established complaints procedure should a breakdown in service occur.
In order for these self-regulatory schemes to work, greater consumer awareness of them is vital. In recognition of estate agents’ efforts to clean up their act, the Home.co.uk Estate Agent Directory now indicates to website visitors whether an agent is member of the OEA or NAEA.
Instructing an OEA or NAEA member estate agent is a good idea for any home seller, urged Doug Shephard. Instructing a member of these two schemes is a vote for quality service and a way to help protect your consumer rights. The OEA listened to 8,472 complaints about the service provided by its members from property buyers, sellers and tenants during 2006.
Where do my local estate agents advertise online?
Ideally we’d all like to compare all the relative merits of our local estate agents before we can really make an informed choice. Beyond issues of cost and trustworthiness, sellers need to answer two key questions when choosing an estate agent: ‘Do they advertise online?’ and if so ‘On which websites does this estate agent advertise?’
Since 80% of homebuyers now start their search online, an estate agent’s web advertising profile has to be the consumer’s most important consideration besides service quality.
Most estate agents pay to extend the reach of their advertising by placing their clients’ properties on one of the many property portals, such as PropertyFinder.com, Fish4home.co.uk or PropertyToday.co.uk.
Multi-portal advertising a ‘key benchmark of quality’
However, the really effective estate agents are those that will place your property for sale in front of the maximum number of potential buyers and that means they must advertise on several property portals. Multi-portal advertising attracts more buyer enquiries and therefore represents a better value for money service for home sellers.
To find out where your local estate agents advertise online you can now simply look them up on the Home.co.uk UK Estate Agent Directory. The estate agent details pages in the directory show the individual agents’ online advertising profiles, indicating which major portals they use.
By choosing an estate agent that is both an OEA or NAEA member and that advertises their clients’ properties widely online, you can be confident that your home sale gets the best possible start.
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