Choosing an estate agent

by Mary Mangan [email protected]

Mary Mangan is the Managing Director of Winkworth Real Estate Portugal. The company has properties for sale on the Algarve and on the Silver Coast.

Typically, people rely on two main criteria when deciding to instruct an estate agent – they’ll pick the agent which either charges the lowest commission rate or offers the highest valuation. However, you should never choose an agent based on either of these marketing tricks and this applies most particularly in the present challenging marketplace.  

To find the best agents to value your home, you’ll need to spend time researching and monitoring which agents are selling property locally.

It’s vital that the agent you choose knows the local market as buyers now are well informed and watch out for properties in their areas of interest.  

There is little point in having your property promoted at a price that is out of line with others in the area just because the agent you have chosen is not local and does not understand the dynamics of your particular area.

For example, a Carvoeiro based agent is not going to be well placed to sell properties in Tavira unless they have a local office there. Similarly, a property cannot be valued without reference to other properties in the area which will also be viewed by potential purchasers.  

The current market is definitely a buyers’ market and vendors must recognise that if they really want to sell their property.  

Make sure all of the property paperwork is in order. Purchasers at the moment are not interested in complications.  If the swimming pool is not legal then they are not prepared to wait around for you to correct the situation – they will simply move on to the next property that meets their criteria.  

If you are not in a rush to sell and want a higher valuation for the property than the value recommended by the agent, then there is simply no point putting the property on the market.

Buyers are doing a lot more groundwork than ever before and they know what’s on the market and what the prices are. They have lots of choice due to the number of properties available for sale and are actively comparing prices and properties and are looking for good value purchases in the current market.

When choosing an estate agent, a recommendation from a family member or friend can be helpful. If you like the people you meet from the agency, you trust them and think you could work well together, then consider instructing them.

If you have any doubts, avoid getting into a relationship with them, as it will only create problems further down the line. Remember, you will need to work together and feel you can trust each other.

Be prepared for some constructive criticism from your agent. Don’t take offence when agents give you a valuation that is lower than your expectations or when they make suggestions in terms of the presentation of the property.  

Estate agents are in and out of several properties on a daily basis and the information they impart to you is designed to help sell the property.  

When an agent is viewing with potential purchasers they will visit a number of properties that meet their criteria, and so it’s important that yours is equally well priced and presented to maximise the opportunity to sell.  

Choose an agent that directly targets the market you think is most appropriate for your property. If you think the UK is the most likely source of potential purchasers then it’s important to have an agent that directly targets that market.  

The internet is most definitely the starting point for most overseas property searches and so a good website with good rankings is extremely important.  

Does the agent also list on other international websites which focus on other buyers e.g. Holland, or do they have links with agents who do? Make sure you understand clearly the markets the agent targets and how they plan to market the property.

Choosing an estate agent is not the easiest task, however if done well will certainly help the process run smoothly and be less stressful for the seller. There are outstanding estate agents out there and with a little work you will find one.

Mary Mangan is the Managing Director of Winkworth Real Estate Portugal. The company has properties for sale in the Algarve and on the Silver Coast.