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If you're looking to buy or sell your home, these tips will help you find the right estate agent and solicitor

Which estate agent or solicitor How to identify a good estate agent and solicitor

We get asked this a lot on the webinars: how do I find the right agent and solicitor to work with? Different models, fee structures, levels of services make it hard to pick the right agent or solicitor. Here are some tips we've pulled together to make that decision making process a little easier.

There are many platforms and review sites you can use to research estate agents, solicitors and other businesses, but with so many reports of fake reviews it is difficult to know if you are if you are picking a good one, more importantly that the one you select is the right one for you.

We are all different! For example, our kind of agent or solicitor would be someone who is caring and has empathy, one who takes the time to get to know us and any challenges we are facing, why we are looking to move and so on, because not everyone is doing so because they want to. Our friend however just wants to get his properties bought and sold and doesn't need the same kind of relationship.

There are however, certain things we all have in common, which is for the process of buying or selling to go through as smoothly and stress free as possible. To follow are some of the key things buyers and sellers should consider when selecting an estate agent and solicitor:

  • Communication: check that the estate agent and solicitor provides regular progresss updates on the sale, on viewings and feedback from potential buyers. Also that they agree to respond promptly to any questions or concerns you may have and that they contactable whether is via phone, email or online.
  • Expertise: what level of knowledge do they have? Does the agent have a deep enough understanding of the local property market, as well as the legal and financial aspects of selling a home? You want to feel confident that the estate agent and solicitor are knowledgeable and experienced which includes knowledge of local property prices, trends, and buyer demand.
  • Experience and reputation: Do they have a good reputation? Check out their ratings and reviews including any comments from past clients. Ask for personal recommendations from friends and family (if they have used any of the agents and solicitors you have shortlisted). You can also ask an estate agent but check they don't take a referral fee as this can be biased. With estate agents to look for a strong track record of selling properties in their local area. In terms of solicitors, make sure they have solid conveyancing experience with a number of years behind them, Check that they will be handling your case and it isn't going to be passed to someone less experienced like an office admin.  
  • Transparency: ask as many questions upfront as possible including on fees to make sure there will be no hidden surprises. You will also want them to be upfront about any potential issues or obstacles that may arise during the buying and selling process.
  • Efficiency: how long do they typically take to complete a sale? If they regularly take 6 months then you'd be better looking elsewhere. You want to work with efficient estate agent and solicitor to complete the process as quickly as possible.
  • Marketing strategy: as the seller, you want to be sure the agent you choose has a good marketing strategy and that they are proactive in finding you a buyer. You don't want them to simply list on portals and wait for the buyers to come to them. Look at the standard of work - are their images of a high standard, are their property details written well? Do they use social media? Do  they list on alternative platforms like WiggyWam?
  • Fees: what are their fees and what's included? Do they offer different levels of services such as standard and premium? Are their fees in line with the industry norms? If they are too low this should set alarm bells ringing. Low fees equal lower standards and the overall experience being a negative one. They are unsustainable and are the reason why many sales fall through. 
  • Accreditation: check if they are members of reputable accreditation schemes such as the Law Society's Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS), Property Ombudsman or the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC). This provides peace of mind that the agent or solicitor has been independently assessed and meets high professional standards.

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Friday, 19 April 2024