A survey by consumer body Which? suggests askng prices and agents' fees are the most significant factors considered by a vendor choosing an agent.
In December 2017 Which? surveyed 2,005 homeowners to find out how they had found their most recent experiences of buying and selling their homes.
Perhaps encouragingly, some 48 per cent said they didn’t experience any problems with their estate agent during their most recent sale - but an almost exact same proportion, 47 per cent, had experienced at least one problem with their agent.
Which? then identified six ways that prospective clients could assess their agent and asked which were important to the survey sample.
Some 65 per cent said the valuation given on their home was a deciding factor; the fees charged by the agent came next, cited by 51 per cent of respondents.
Then came the issue of property types - to 31 per cent of people, it was important that the agent they instructed had experience of selling properties similar to their own.
Only then, in fourth place, came reviews - important to 28 per cent of respondents.
In fifth and sixth spot came previously achieved asking prices (26 per cent) and how long it took an agent to sell houses in the near past (15 per cent).
The Which? website, launching the findings of the survey, does not mention online reviews at all but instead advises: “It’s always helpful to get word-of-mouth feedback before committing to an estate agent. Speak to your neighbours to find out their experiences of local estate agents, both from a selling and buying perspective.”
The survey was commissioned to mark the launch of a new tool by Which?, created alongside PropTech agency comparison service GetAgent.
You can see the full Which? piece here.