Selecting an Agent

Selecting an Agent

Selecting the right agent

Make sure your agent has a licence

So you are thinking of buying or selling your home. First thing to know is that all agents involved in selling or acquiring property, must be licensed by the Property Services Regulatory Authority. Of these licensed agents, many of whom are chartered and therefore are members of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.

Advantages of selecting a chartered agent

It’s important that you select the right agent to buy or sell your home so that you receive the best advice. Seek references from recent clients to satisfy yourself that they have the competence to do the job and that they are an effective communicator.

Here are some of the advantages of using an SCSI regulated agent:

  • chartered agents are assessed for competence to ensure clients receive the best advice
  • they act in your interest
  • they are tightly regulated and have to follow strict rules of conduct
  • SCSI members have a specific set of rules and best practice guidance, such as the Real Estate Agency Practice Manual which is designed to help ensure SCSI estate agents provide an exceptional service
  • SCSI members have to update their skills and knowledge throughout their careers, so you can rely on their expertise

Final selection – DOs and DONTs

Once you’ve got a shortlist from the above, it is a good idea to choose a local SCSI estate agent with experience of selling homes like yours.

DO get the shortlisted agent(s) to do an appraisal.

DON’T select the agent solely if their appraisal is the highest – this might not be the most realistic. The appraisal provided by the agent must be accompanied by a ‘Statement of Advised Market Value’ form as specified by the Property Service Regulatory Authority.

DO check the Residential Property Price Register to compare the agent’s appraisal with the sale prices achieved for similar property types in your area.

DON’T forget to ask exactly what you are paying for – how the agent will advertise your property, and where. You may be able to negotiate fees, although most agents charge a standard fee based on a percentage of the selling price. A well-marketed property and a properly managed sales process will cost you less than you’ll save with a lower fee by times.

DO ask the agent for their terms and conditions as additional charges may vary.

DON’T be informal with arrangements. Sign your ‘Letter of Engagement’ form and agree a maximum selling time. If you’re happy with the service, you can always extend it – and if you’re not, you can change agents when the time’s up.

DO choose an agent you like and trust – selling a house can be a long process, so it’s important you get on.

Helpful Guides

Properties and homes are some of the most significant financial investments we make. Make sure you trust your investment to the property experts.

Find out top tips for selecting an agent or read more about the role of residential surveyors in:

Guide to the Residential Agency Surveyor

If you have decided to put your property on the market, remember that it can take anytime from four weeks to several months to sell, particularly if a chain is involved. The SCSI’s latest data found the full sale and conveyancing process (legal side) took an average of 5.5 months in 2018 and 2019.

This time-frame is also very dependent on the prevailing conditions in the property market and an SCSI estate agent can give you real-time advice in relation to this.

If you’d like to speed up the process, we recommend you follow our guide:

A Pre-Sale Checklist for Residential Property

Find a chartered residential agent in your area

Trust a chartered residential agent with your property needs to ensure you have stress-free experiences and make the best investments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Residential agency surveyors are professionals working in the property industry and their work often involves selling and letting residential property whilst carrying out other property related services such as valuations for secured lending and probate valuations. Otherwise known as estate agents or auctioneers, the residential surveyor provides a consultancy service to their clients and as such, the residential surveyor is best placed to provide advice on the property market so that an informed decision can be made regarding any property transactions.

Services provided by the residential surveyor can vary slightly from practice practice. In general terms, the residential surveyors core practice often involves the sale and letting of residential property. From putting your property on the market to providing advice on marketing strategies, the residential surveyor will conduct all the necessary viewings and negotiations to ensure the best possible outcome.

There are different types of agency contracts which you can enter into. The main ones are:

 

Sole agency
This is where one estate agent takes full responsibility for selling your home, and you pay them the agreed commission on completion. If you agree a sale privately you might also
be required to pay commission. This should be agreed and stated in your Letter of Engagement with the agent.

 

Joint agency
This is an arrangement where two or more agents sell your property and share the commission when the sale goes through – regardless of which agency makes the sale.

 

Multiple agency
This is an arrangement where you sell through more than one agent, but instruct them independently – so whoever sells the house gets the commission.

 

Auction
This is where the property will be actively marketed during the weeks running up to the auction date. Once the property reaches the reserve price at the auction, the property will sell to the highest bidder. Contracts are prepared in advance of the auction by your solicitor and a deposit of 10% is usually paid by the purchaser and contracts are signed on the day.

When you’ve decided which agent (or agents) to go with, ask them to come around to discuss your property with you. An SCSI estate agent will offer good advice on the best way to sell your property, whether by private treaty, auction or tender.

 

They’ll also tell you how much you can realistically expect to get after you’ve paid all the fees and taxes, and whether smartening up your home will increase the selling price.

 

Let the agent know how quickly you want to sell, as this could affect their advice. An SCSI estate agent can also help you look for a new home, if you haven’t already found somewhere.

 

Often the agent will be more than happy to conduct the viewing on your behalf, but here are some tips for showing around potential buyers yourself:

  • First impressions count, so make sure your house is always clean and tidy
  • Buyers like light airy rooms, so open windows and put lights on if the weather’s dull
  • If its winter, put the heating on so it feels warm and inviting
  • If possible don’t have your pets in the house when potential buyers come around and try to get rid of any pet smells

 

Marketing your property
An estate agent will discuss with you the best way to sell your property, the price to expect
from the sale and the various marketing options.

Estate Agents are key to negotiation process 

Most property is bought and sold through estate agents. You will find negotiation around making and accepting an offer can be a lengthy process. You should ensure that you answer any queries that may be raised during negotiations. Most sellers feel more comfortable if their agent does the negotiating for them.

All offers on the property must be forwarded onto the seller by the estate agent. It is up to the seller to decide how much they are willing to accept. Your estate agent is pivotal in the negotiation process in ensuring that you reach an agreed price with the buyer.

 

Agreeing the sale
You will often find that the prospective purchaser will want to negotiate on the asking price. It is up to you, the seller, on how much you are willing to accept. Any agreed sale is, at this stage, ‘subject to contract’. This means that either party can back out.

 

Instruct your solicitor
Your solicitor will assist you through to the exchange of contracts and completion of sale.

 

Exchange of contracts
Both parties will sign contracts and agree a date for moving. At this stage the sale becomes legal and binding.

Completion When final contracts are closed and the funds have been transferred, the keys will very often be left with the estate agent.

A number of answers to these questions will be contained within the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) letter of engagement that both you and your agent signed when you instructed them to sell your property in April. Under the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011, all agents are required to issue a letter of engagement in the form specified by the PSRA.

 

The agreement between you and your agent will include:

1. The duration of the agency

2. The procedure for termination of the agency

3. The agreed marketing costs

4. The complaints procedure in the event of a dispute.

 

If your existing agent has incurred costs on your behalf such as newspaper advertisements, web listings, etc, it would be standard procedure that you will have to reimburse them for such costs. This will be covered in the PSRA agreement.

 

Before you finalise your decision, we would suggest you ask to meet with your existing agent. Express your concerns and ask them to explain the pricing, process of selling and potential of the property.

 

If you have concerns around the asking price, we suggest you ask your agent to set out clearly the justification for the original asking price together with the basis for the current price.

 

The property price register will outline the sales in your area since your property went on the market, so prior to the meeting with the existing agent you should ask them to brief you on sales that have taken place locally and the impact they have on your property.

 

You should also ask for detailed and honest feedback on the reaction of those who have viewed your property. How many viewings have taken place? What has happened to these potential purchasers? Have they purchased and if so, what and for what price?

The additional costs of purchasing a property in Ireland are quiet straightforward. Some are one-off costs while others are annual. I shall deal with them as they are typically incurred.

 

Many potential buyers may wish to instruct a chartered building surveyor or other such qualified construction professional to undertake what is commonly referred to as a house purchase survey.

 

This will typically be prior to agreeing a sale or may be a condition of an offer. The costs will depend on the scale and complexity of the property but it typically ranges from €350-€600 plus VAT.

 

Once you have agreed to purchase the property, you will appoint a solicitor to handle the contract and conveyance on your behalf. The normal Law Society recommended rates for such legal services are 1 per cent of the sale value.

 

In addition, solicitors may also charge €200-€300 for searches and administration costs. Legal fees are subject to VAT so expect to pay 1.23 per cent on every €100,000 of value.

 

However, legal fees vary widely and in Dublin, where capital values are far higher, there is more competition within the legal sector. As a result, lower fees can be negotiated with fixed all-inclusive fees being very popular.

 

If you are purchasing a property with a mortgage, your lender will commission a market valuation of the property. The cost of this is typically €100-€200 plus VAT and it is normally the responsibility of the borrower.

 

Stamp duty is payable by the purchaser on all property transactions and the rates are subject to change annually. The current rates are at 1 per cent of the property value up to €1 million and 2 per cent thereafter. This is a one-off payment that your solicitor has to pay to the Revenue Commissioners when they handle the conveyance for you.

 

In terms of annual costs these may include a service charge if the property is within a multioccupied development. Service charges will vary depending on the size of the development and the level of services provided but typically will be €1,000-€2,000 per annum. These are paid monthly or quarterly to the management company.

 

Finally, all property owners are eligible to pay property tax annually. This is a self-assessed tax payable by the owners of a property on November 1st each year.

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