How to choose the best estate agent for selling your house

26th January 2024

How to choose the best estate agent for selling your house

Selecting a competent estate agent is one of the most important considerations for a successful house sale. The best estate agent will help value your home and sell it quickly at a good price.

Discover all the critical factors to check with these top tips and choose the right estate agent to secure you a successful sale.


Begin your journey into selling your house with these helpful search tips on how to find the best estate agent:

  • Start by identifying potential estate agents and researching the reputations of most local real estate agents. 
  • Selling your property begins with looking at your local area. Look for any local For Sale signs and seek personal recommendations for local friends and family to see the most popular estate agent choice. 
  • Use online search to search for properties for sale in your local area and see the majority of estate agents in your area for your property type. Through researching online, you can view a larger scale of which estate agents are the most trustworthy for your area.

These insights will help build your aspirations and determine which estate agent stands out in your local area.

Create a shortlist

Narrow down your choices by comparing agents based on their sales record and local market share, and evaluate their property presentation skills with the following tips:

  • After thorough research, reflect on which are the most realistic agent you’ll work with regarding fees and experience selling properties similar to yours. From here, you can begin narrowing down your list if they meet the criteria to sell your property.
  • Uncover which estate agents have the largest market share and how successful and quickly they can sell. Afterwards, you can compare these performance factors with others.
  • Ensure the estate agents you are interested in have years of experience selling property, have a high success rate in the local area and are familiar with your property type.
  • Look at other properties they have for sale: are they well-advertised with clear photos and descriptions?
  • Organise your shortlisted agents (at least three) and arrange a property valuation with each. This way, you can compare their offering, valuation results and fees to see which approach suits you best. Suppose there is a noticeable increase in valuation with one. In that case, they may be overly optimistic if it's radically different from the other results.

When going through this shortlist, why not arrive prepared with the top questions to ask when comparing agents?

Meet your prospective estate agents face-to-face

Arrange a meeting with at least three estate agents, discuss their valuation methods and accreditation, and understand their marketing strategies. Meeting face-to-face is essential when discussing offers and asking more in-depth questions about selling your home. 

The following areas to enquire about are a valuable checklist to shortlist your options effectively. Meeting with a few estate agents will therefore give you more opportunities to compare:

  • T&Cs and Standard Commission Rate: What are their terms and conditions and standard commission rate?
  • Accreditation: Are they an accredited member of the Property Redress Scheme or Property Ombudsman, and qualified as reputable estate agents?
  • Property type and asking price: Do they have experience selling your property type, and if so, was the asking price successfully reached?
  • Viewings: Will the estate agent assist with viewings for potential buyers when you cannot?
  • Valuation: What value does your property have? Can they supply reasoning for this with research and more profound knowledge of the local market?
  • Expectations: How would they offer solutions if your property was not selling as quickly as promised? What would they do if your ideal asking price still needs to be achieved?

How to understand valuations

Interpreting estate agent valuations can be a language of its own, and it's worth considering the approach of tried and tested research to understand valuations with confidence. Whilst overly optimistic figures can sound pleasing, the basis of their valuation needs to be equally solid and realistic based on thorough research into factors such as the house sales in your local area and the property type. 

Discover what makes a valuation effective with the following signs, as well as what makes a valuation overly optimistic, to give your business and time to the right candidate when it comes to getting the right results:

Signs of a compelling valuation

  • Your estate agent will try to give you a price that coincides with your expectations, with supporting evidence to support their valuation. 
  • A reputable estate agent should work in your best interest whilst being realistic, and their assistance should add value to your house-selling process and offer a positive customer service experience.

Signs of an overly optimistic valuation

  • Less reputable estate agents may give a deliberately optimistic valuation to receive your business and make it appear more credible with their higher price. However, this can lead to a massive reduction in valuation if there is a lack of viewings, which will reduce its value estimate. This usually suggests there needs to be more considerate backing to prove their higher promised price.

Estate agent fees and contracts: what to expect

It’s also important to understand typical estate agent fees, how to negotiate them, understanding contract terms, and the implications of agreements like sole selling rights.

Estate agents often do most of the organising and management when contacting potential buyers; their support and market insight are essential for a successful sale. This stress-free service additionally comes with fees if they manage to sell your property, which usually falls within the following standard rates. However, these can also be negotiated with estate agents themselves.

Here is a summary of estate agent fees in the UK:

Agency Agreement

Average Fees

Sole Agency Agreement (One estate agent selling your property)

Typical fees start from 1.2% to 1.8% including VAT

Multiple Agency Agreement (Two or more agents selling your property)

Typical fees start from 3% to 3.6% including VAT

A standard estate agent fee will most likely include:

  • Marketing your property.
  • Providing a floor plan, a description of your property, and professional photos.
  • Managing viewings and contacting potential buyers.
  • Putting up a For Sale board.
  • The valuation of your property and negotiation of a sale price with buyers.

These services are subject to variation and negotiation with some traditional estate agents, so it is vital to check before making a final decision, so you know you will be adequately accounted for. Estate agents are required by law to state what their fees cover; however, it is always safest to check. When comparing estate agents, if there is any difference in prices, service, and success rate, this would instantly indicate which is best to pick. 

How to negotiate with estate agents

When negotiating estate agent fees, some estate agents will be willing to adjust their prices to acquire business and sell your property. Depending on your estate agent's expectations, it would be best to familiarise yourself with negotiation etiquette and what mindset you should approach with.

Here are a few tips on how to properly negotiate with estate agents:

  • Enter negotiations with a set expectation of the only amount you wish to pay. The average fee is typically 1.42%, including VAT, and depends on property value. If you establish your amount, estate agents can accommodate you to a fair budget to acquire your business.
  • Arrange valuation visits from several estate agents and inform each estate agent that you are talking with others. Hence, they know there is competition for your business. Through this, you can compare and negotiate lowering fees to an estate agent eager for your business if another competing estate agency has offered lower prices than them. 

Navigating through estate agent contracts can, at first, seem complicated. However, with the proper understanding of your contract, you can be careful to avoid drawbacks and reap the benefits available. Thoroughly discuss the contract details with your estate agent and determine if they are the best option for you regarding budget and experience. 

Potential contract implications

There may be implications to different types of agreements, especially when concerning 'sole selling rights.' This type of contract requires careful consideration as it gives the estate agent the sole right to sell your home during the agreed period. It will require paying even if you find the buyer yourself.

Similarly, look for the 'ready, willing and able' clause in your estate agent contract. This clause stipulates that the agent can still earn a fee if they are still looking for a potential buyer for your property, even if you withdraw from the sale before the exchange of contracts.

Assess their marketing and selling strategies

Evaluating an estate agent's approach to marketing, including which online portals they use and their strategies when conducting viewings and handling negotiations, is the final shortlisting stage, as these are some of their most valuable assets to you when selling your house. 

Here are a few questions to research to see if their marketing and selling strategies are effective:

  • Does your estate agent have a significant presence in an area where your target buyer is? 
  • Does your estate agent have frequent property listings alongside high-quality descriptions and imagery? Do they advertise in a variety of places, such as online, in print, and via a physical storefront?
  • Does your estate agent have a successful history of dealing with your house type? Whilst your potential estate agent may have had success with properties other than your own, working with someone with plenty of experience working with your personal property type and a prominent reputation in your local area is preferable.

Online vs traditional estate agents

Are you open to either online or traditional estate agents?

While achieving the same outcome, online and traditional estate agents differ slightly in terms of marketing strategies, fees and service. Whether your plan to sell your house online or by the traditional method is down to personal preference on how you want to sell. Compare the following pros and cons lists for each and discover which options work best for you.

Online estate agents

Online real estate agents manage like traditional real estate agents. However, agencies can be entirely run from a website or be part of a hybrid estate agency. Unlike online-only agencies, mixed estate agencies usually offer photography, description and floor planning, but this can come at an additional expense. However, the most significant benefit of online real estate agents is the vast savings on real estate agent fees due to its primarily online platform.



  • Less estate agent fees than with traditional estate agents
  • Numerous online estate agency options
  • Easier to get in contact with estate agents online
  • Free online valuations
  • Lack of face-to-face interaction
  • You may be charged for extra work that would usually be included as part of a traditional estate agent fee
  • Online valuations can be less accurate


Traditional estate agents 



  • Competitive fees
  • All services are usually included in the main estate agent fee
  • You only pay an estate agent when you sell your house, whilst online estate agents usually chargefixed fees regardless of whether your home sells
  • More accurate in-person valuations
  • Higher spend potential with estate agent fees


How to decide if you need to switch estate agents

It might be necessary to change estate agents if a benefit means a better chance of selling elsewhere This change could be due to many factors. For instance, their marketing strategy may no longer align with how you wish to sell, or you may have found a different estate agent who better specialises in your property type. 

Choosing the right estate agent is most important, and they should be your strategic partner in making your housing plan achievable and helping sell your house quickly. If not, switching to a better-suited estate agent is the most reasonable solution. Always check the contract you hold with your existing estate agent and any outstanding obligations before you make the switch.

Making the final decision

Now you know how to pick an estate agent, here are some helpful signs that you are making an informed decision and balancing personal rapport with professional expertise.

  • You have had positive interactions with an estate agent.
  • Your estate agent has a trusted reputation and years of experience.
  • Your estate agent is familiar with selling your type of property.
  • Your estate agent has a considerable reputation within the area, and their property listings appear highly professional. 
  • You know the contract terms and the fees that suit your budget.
  • You understand and feel comfortable with the valuation results, and they meet your house sale aspirations in price.
  • You are satisfied that all service essentials will be taken care of. 
  • You are ready to make a sale.

These considerations are essential to finding the right estate agent perfect for your needs, which, if fulfilled, is the ideal starting point for a quick and successful house sale.

Choose Marchand Petit for your property sale 


When you choose Marchand Petit to sell your property, know our estate agents have over thirty years of experience in property with expertise and knowledge of the South Devon property market that's unique to our leading brand. Our estate agents and marketing team are ready to accommodate you so you quickly get the best results possible.

We are always ready to assist potential buyers on your behalf with everything from accompanied viewings, to local and national marketing online and offline, and negotiations to get the best price for your house. We value liaising with buyers and sellers alike, and understand the importance of ensuring all parties are satisfied with the resulting outcome.

We specialise in selling properties across the South Hams region, such as ModburySalcombe and Dartmouth, in prime property locations, as well as coastal and waterfront properties.

Contact us today with any enquiries about selling your property with us and how we can help use our professional expertise in the market to assist you in selling your home successfully.