How to pick an estate agent to sell your home in Ireland
So you're trading up at last? The value of your first home has finally risen out of negative equity and you can shop around for a bigger one with room for your growing family.
The first thing you must do is find an estate agent to help sell your home for the best possible price and with the minimum fuss and delay.
But which one do you choose? Here are some tips to help get you started.
Commission for selling your home
Estate agents fees are usually charged as a percentage-based commission – usually between 1% and 2.5%, plus VAT. That may not seem a lot but it can add up to a big chunk of change depending on the price of the property.
For example, a €350,000 house sold at 1.5% commission could cost you €6,352, including VAT.
How much you pay in commission also depends on where you live. In rural areas, it used to be 2.5%-3% - to account for travel expenses and the extra cost of selling in a slower market. But increased competition among cash-strapped agents has led to falling commission rates outside the cities.
By the end of 2013, many had cut the country commission rate to as little as 1% for more expensive homes and 2% for smaller ones, according to the Irish Independent. And in some cases, a flat fee was being agreed.
In contrast, agency fees in the capital have gone up despite the buoyant market there.
Rates that used to be as low as 1% during the property boom, have nearly doubled to 1.5%-1.8% by the end of 2013, according to the Irish Independent.
Also check what's included in the fee - i.e. advertising, brochures, photos etc - so that you don't receive a hefty bill for extras afterwards.
Sweet talking estate agent
Should you choose the agent who sweet-talks you with gushing praise of your somewhat cramped two-bed terraced home - but charges a hefty commission?
Or would it be better to go for the more down-to-earth guy with the more down-to-earth price?
It's really a matter of personal choice – if an agent makes a good impression on you, he can probably do the same with prospective buyers.
But be wary of the effusive agent who waxes lyrical about a "bijou mews" when he's really talking about a shoebox-sized home at the bottom of someone's garden.
Buyers can see through the guff and, in fairness, most estate agents in Ireland do not go in for that kind of nonsense.
Agents get paid only when there is a sale. So they don't want to talk a place up only to see the deal fall through when a detailed survey exposes all its faults.
However, you don't want to pick an agent who's isn't going to do his best to highlight the positive points of your home – even if this is only a particularly spacious garden shed.
Go for the one who's personable and positive, but also realistic when discussing the merits of your home.
How efficient is the estate agent?
Is the agency good at answering phones and returning calls and emails? How they treat you is probably how they will treat prospective buyers.
Do they have enough people-power to man phones and deal with lots of interested parties now sales are picking up again?
Check out the experiences of family and friends as well as interviewing them yourself to get a feel for the quality of their service.
Have a look at their records to see how many 'sold properties' they have achieved.
How will they advertise your home
How will the agent advertise your property? Presumably they will use the major websites like Daft.ie and Myhome.ie. But do they also have an engaging and frequently-updated webpage with their listings? Do they use local/national newspapers to advertise? (If so, clarify that this price will be extra and ask how much?). And will the property be highlighted on their premises window?
Is your home's valuation realistic and in line with the market price in that area? Sometimes an agent may elevate the asking price in order to draw you in when it's better to lower it in order to draw in prospective buyers. A low asking price can attract lots of prospective buyers who then push it up dramatically in the bidding process. Remember the market decides the price – and you can take it or leave it.
Reputation and experience
How long has the estate agent been in business? And do they specialise in your area? If your proprety is of high value and/or of special interest you may be better to go with a national agency that specialises in pricier houses. If you are at the lower end or middle of the spectrum you may be better to choose a local agent who knows the area well, is at hand to facilitate regular viewings and has the time, interest and enthusiasm to put into the sale process.
Do it yourself
You don't have to use an estate agent to sell your home. Many people are saving thousands of euro by selling their properties on their own through websites such as Myhome and Daft.
There's also a website - Sellityourself.ie – which charges €150 for a sign, website listing and some hand holding support through the process. A free guide can be downloaded from the website.
Thinking of moving home?
Whether you go it alone or not, why not check out our Next Time Buyer Guide?
You can use our mortgage calculator to find out how much you may be able to borrow to buy your next home.
And if you'd like to talk through your mortgage options book a 30 Minute Mortgage Meeting today!
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