We may still be in January but the race is already under way in the 2022 housing market — and for canny sellers, there’s no time to lose. 

The average asking price of property coming to market across the UK since the New Year is £341,019, according to Rightmove. 

This is 7.6% more than the price of a property a year earlier and the largest annual price increase recorded by the website for properties since 2016.

Some analysts believe that we may be near the top.

Boom time: The average asking price of property coming to market across the UK since the New Year is £341,019, – 7.6% more than a year ago

Jason Tebb chief executive officer of OnTheMarket, a property website, says that “House price growth might start to slow down.” 

It is the best time for sellers in over 20 years. However, it can be said that selling sooner would have been better.

A cost-of-living crisis due to higher inflation and anticipated rising energy costs may also be a factor. The economy could be in better health now than it was for the remainder of the year.

It is important to choose the right agent if you are in a rush. These are our top tips to help you do just that.

Showing off what you have

‘If your home has unique features, choose an agent with the best photography and marketing — for example, drone footage if it’s near countryside.

Claire Coode from Stacks Property Search, a buying agent, says: “If it is in an area that is filled with similar properties such as townhouses or condos, you should find out which agent is getting a higher price, and not be so focused on marketing flashy advertising.”

Quiz friends

Ask your friends and family to tell you which companies and agents performed well in your area.

Validate your documents

Sold! An agent hands over the keys

Sold! Sold!

Nathan Emerson, chief executive of Propertymark — a trade group — says the best quality agents are likely to be those who have qualifications and join a professional body even though neither is mandatory.

He says, “Having an agent who is qualified and a member in good standing of a professional body is a sign that you are willing to work hard and keep standards high.”

Test them

A senior representative from the agency will visit you to conduct a market assessment or value of your house. However, it is possible that you won’t see them again in the course of the sale process.

Alex Lyle of Antony Roberts London Estate Agency suggests a different tactic. ‘Ask your friend or relative to mystery shop the office and get an idea for the quality of the staff.

List the top

You don’t need to invite everyone in the area to pitch your business. But, you should ask at most three. 

The agent should explain the pros and cons of your property and offer a strategy for marketing it. Finally, they will suggest a price.

You can compare websites, such as GetAgent.co.uk, and estate agent comparison tools ea4me.hoa.org.uk. These are both provided by HomeOwners Alliance.

Ask questions

Ask the agent how they operate. Iain McKenzie is chief executive of The Guild of Property Professionals. How many of your network offices are you associated with?

 How effective has your marketing been for other homes in the area? What will you do to keep me up-to-date?

Examine the charges

Now, the average fee for a sale is 1.2 percent plus VAT. For a £500,000 home that’s a fee of £6,000, plus £1,200 VAT, payable when the sale is completed.

There are big regional variations ranging from just 0.75 to 3 per cent plus VAT — agents operating in London and big cities, and those selling the largest properties, typically charge the highest fees.

Also, check the terms for Sole Agency where only one agent can sell your property for an agreed time period or Multi Agency which allows several agents to market it.

Comparison of online and traditional

Online agents never have more than 10% of the market, despite paying bargain prices.

The weakness of some online firms is in chasing through a deal — once an offer is made, a good High Street agent will have staff and time to chase conveyancers, surveyors and mortgage firms plus all the other sellers in a property chain. Online agents are often not equipped to handle this task.

It’s a small print

Most contracts with estate agents are for twelve to sixteen weeks. It’s sometimes enough time to find the seller. However, if that fails you won’t be able to move to another agency before the term is up.

For a quick sale, it’s on the market

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