Here’s The Best Way To Find Your Ideal Agents

So you have been thinking about selling your home or buy-to-let property and you’re now ready to take the next big step – choosing an agent to market it for you – that sounds easy enough – but if you live in or near a large town or a city there could easily be 15–30 estate agents within a few miles of your location that would all relish the opportunity to sell your property – but you have heard all those scary stories (or myths?) about overzealous estate agents beguiling unsuspecting homeowners with unrealistic valuations & outcomes…

How can you avoid such a perilous fate?

Traditionally most people ask friends & neighbours for advice (which can quickly backfire!) and then invite between 3 to 6 estate agents round to get a ‘marketing appraisal’ – which is basically agent ‘speak’ for a home valuation plus an insight into how a particular agency might market your property for you.

But if there are 20 agents in your vicinity and you only invite 4 over (i.e. 20%) – then simple maths dictates there’s an 80% chance that you won’t get the best agent or deal – plus, for 80% of your local agents it means they never get a chance to pitch you – so that’s a ‘lose lose’ situation

Well those are not encouraging odds – but do you really have time to invite 10 out of 20 agents round just to make it a 50% chance you’re making the right decision? – that’s a lot of housework to do to prepare for all those intrusive home invasions and remember – each agent knows they have one chance to convince you they are the best – so prepare to be ‘urged’ to make a decision there and then by every one of them.

Now I am certainly not at all ‘anti-agent’ – we were agents in a previous life – after all, they are just trying to make a living like everyone else and often unfairly receive a bad press – but the fact is, that when it comes to negotiating with them, their professional experience means the odds are stacked heavily in their favour – not least because the average UK homeowner only moves home once every 8 to 10 years, which is hardly enough to make you a property expert and able to stand your ground with the real pros.

‘Three very important questions: what is your property really worth, what would they charge to sell it & how would they go about marketing it?’

Another important consideration is that until you invite agents over you are unlikely to have answers to three very important questions: what is your property really worth, what they would charge to sell it and how they would go about marketing it? – if you have the time & inclination you could do a‘ring round’ or ‘drop in’ survey of all your local estate agents to assess their terms & credentials –but surely there are easier ways to find out?

These days there are online valuation tools you can try – but these are based on dubious ‘one size fits all’ algorithms and can be inaccurate by up to 40% either way – which means a £300K property could be valued anywhere from £180K to £420K!

So they are not much help really… in truth these tools are what is known as ‘lead generation’ systems and only intended to capture your personal details so that the agent or advertiser can contact you later to offer their services.

The most accurate valuations you can hope to get are from the professionals themselves – your local estate agents – which brings us full circle back to square one!

The good news is that the team at Moovshack identified this challenge as one of the key problems for home owners that we wanted to fix, so we came up with a simple tool in our app that does all the ‘heavy lifting’ for you and ensures you are far more likely to choose the right agent for your needs.

Here’s how it works (and just for fun we’ve timed it!)

Once you have downloaded & logged in to the Moovshack app:

  1. Click on the ‘Valuations’ tab at the top of the home screen. (time taken: 2 secs)
  2. Then input your post code plus select your ‘property type’ and how many bedrooms, bathrooms & living rooms you have as well as indicate the size of your garden – if you have one! (time taken: 8 secs)
  3. Next you will also be asked to choose from three options that best describe your property’s condition – this can be a huge differentiating factor. (time taken: 2 secs)
  4. Once you click the ‘I’m selling’ tab and confirm your address, you are then asked to take or upload up to three images of your property – we recommend one front pic, one kitchen pic and one living room pic – but it’s entirely your choice although bear in mind, these will help agents differentiate your property from others in the neighbourhood. (time taken: 30 – 60 secs)
  5. Next select from the option list, your reason for requesting a valuation (time taken: 2 secs)
  6. Then click the ‘Select agents’ tab and a list of the nearest 20 agents to your location will appear – they may or may not be ‘Moovshack’ agents, but that is important because it means you are being offered a truly independent list to choose from. (time taken: 1 sec)
  7. Finally, deselect any agents you don’t wish to contact, then press ‘Get valuations’ (time taken: 4 secs – total time is 49 to 79 seconds!)

‘the whole process of requesting valuations from multiple local agents could take you less than one minute with Moovshack!’

Your Moovshack app will then broadcast your valuation request to all selected agents who will choose whether or not to respond – at this point we should declare that we do charge a small lead fee, but only to the responding agents – unlike the major portals, we will always present your opportunity to all your local agents to ensure you test the market fully and that they get the chance to present themselves to you in-app, without you enduring the hassle of hours & days researching, plus multiple emails, text messages, phone calls or unnecessary face to face meetings – the whole process of requesting valuations from multiple local agents could take you less than one minute with Moovshack!

Now you might receive 20 replies – or only half a dozen – but that’s not a problem because if an agent doesn’t respond to a valuation request (the ‘gold standard’ business lead in the industry) then either they are too busy to worry about needing your business or too disorganised to deal with it –either way you are better off without them and the ‘weeding out’ process has begun, having taken virtually none of your time or effort – apart from a few clicks inside Moovshack. 😉

All replies will arrive back ‘in-app’ in a standard format for easy comparison and they will provide you the following agent specific information:

  • Recommended marketing price,
  • Realistic selling price,
  • Fixed Fees or Variable Fees – which ever applies,
  • Marketing options (e.g. will the agent will use Moovshack, Rightmove, Google, local papers etc to market your property?),
  • Finally, a brief message from the agent about why you should deal with them.

As you receive responses, you can review them and either reject or shortlist them – if you choose to reject them, the agent will receive a polite rejection email & update from Moovshack, saving you the awkwardness of saying ‘no thanks’ and having to deal with their disappointment.

‘you will be forearmed with all the key information you need to know BEFORE they set foot in your home’

You can also choose to appoint agents within Moovshack based only on the information they have provided – but we recommend you invite 2-4 agents from your shortlist over for an onsite appraisal– but this time you will be forearmed with all the key information you need to know BEFORE they set foot in your home, so all the power has now been transferred to you.

So to recap – once you are happy with your short-list you can invite them to contact you direct to arrange a home or onsite visit. The whole process is simple & straightforward and avoids the need for you to undertake extensive research and canvassing – there are much better things to do with your time!

Finally, you are ready to decide who to select – now what happens?

You can ‘appoint’ the lucky agent (or agents) and reject the unlucky ones, all by using Moovshack.

You will also need to sign contracts and later approve your property ‘details’ (the marketing blurb that agents create to advertise your property).

Old fashioned agents will want to email or post the paperwork to you but some enterprising agents have been using Docusign, the leading eSignature app for this purpose.

As you might expect we have thought of that too 😉 – so if both you and your agent use Moovshack, then signing contracts is all done quickly ‘in-app’ using our own eSignature tool – there’s no need for printing, scanning & filing as all documents & messages are automatically stored in your app for easy access & retrieval.

We hope this blog has been helpful and in future articles we will look at ‘online agents’ versus high st agents plus a general review of their terms & conditions to help guide you towards the best possible deal for your personal needs.

Good luck with your sale!