If you are thinking about moving or selling your home, finding the right estate agent is crucial to ensure you get the best price with minimum hassle. Here, Richard Banks from Michael Graham shares some useful considerations when choosing an estate agent.

The Comet: Michael Graham have 14 networked offices across eight counties and in central London to give your home vast exposureMichael Graham have 14 networked offices across eight counties and in central London to give your home vast exposure (Image: Archant)

What to look for

When searching for the best estate agent, it is important to do your research. The most obvious considerations are past performance, industry credentials and fees which will depend on the service you are after.

Ask friends, family and neighbours to give you personal recommendations and look at how quickly they can sell a property and how often they achieve the asking price. It is also worth checking to see if the agent has experience selling property similar to yours.

There are several red flags to watch out for too. For example, you should avoid estate agents who over-estimate the value of your property in a bid to secure business or those who have a limited knowledge of the local property market or area.

High-street vs. online agencies

Another key consideration is choosing between high-street or online agencies.

An advantage of using high-street agents is that you will be able to speak face-to-face with a professional who can guide you through every stage of the selling or buying process. They will also have an in-depth knowledge of the local property market, amenities and schools. Traditional agents usually work on a no-sale, no-fee basis, which means you don't have to pay anything if the property doesn't sell.

Online estate agents have grown in popularity in recent years and are providing competition for high-street companies. The main difference is that online agents usually don't have an office you can visit and charge an upfront fee to put your house up for sale.

Online agents are often the cheaper option but they don't always offer a full service. This means you may have to deal with a lot of the selling process yourself, such as carrying out house viewings and negotiating fees.

What do you get for your money?

It is important to be aware of what services you are getting before choosing an estate agent. The cost of buying or selling a house will depend on a number of factors, including deposits, mortgage fees, valuations, surveyor fees, legal fees and estate agent commission.

Selling a house can be complicated - especially if there is a property chain involved - and a good estate agent can help you navigate through the process with minimum stress. They will be able to negotiate with solicitors and surveyors to reduce any hold-ups. They can conduct property visits and viewings and can even sometimes provide legal conveyance to speed up the process.

When it comes to marketing your property, many high-street estate agents mix traditional techniques with online advertising, so you get the best of both worlds.

Before signing an agreement, make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully so you know exactly what to expect.

Why choose Michael Graham?

With more than 50 years' experience, Michael Graham is a reputable high-street estate agency with first-hand knowledge of the property markets they cover. They have 14 networked offices in eight counties and central London to give your home vast exposure and use highly targeted digital marketing techniques. The team pride themselves on their friendly, professional service and have close links with the local communities. They offer expert advice on all things property, whether you are buying, selling or letting.

You can find more advice about choosing an estate agent here.