Q2: WHAT’S YOUR AVERAGE TIME TO AGREE A SALE?
Why do you need to ask this?
If an estate agent replies with a vague answer, especially if it is something non-committal like: “normally quite quickly”; then alarm bells should be ringing. This probably suggests this agent doesn't pay much attention to how long it takes for them to agree a sale and they are more interested in just getting more and more new clients.
A house that sit’s ‘stagnating’ on the market for weeks (or even months) becomes the house that no-one else wants to buy. You see nobody wants to buy what nobody else wants to buy. However, everyone wants to buy what everyone else wants to buy. It’s called ‘social influence’ and it happens all the time. If you are walking through the town and fancy a quick spot of lunch and a cup of tea, you see a lovely little coffee shop that has lots of empty tables, hardly any customers. Across the road is another coffee shop that looks just as quaint, however there is only one empty table as it is packed with happy customers laughing and smiling, clearly all having a good time. Now which would you chose? Most people would chose the one that's busy as they have the feeling it must be good. Its similar with houses and if there is lots of interest in a property with lots of viewings that reinforces the potential buyers thoughts that this is a good property to buy. However, if it has been on the market for months and nobody has shown any interest in buying it then maybe there is something wrong with it? Or it is too much money? In reality it could be that their choice of agent wasn't very good, but not many buyers will jump to that conclusion.
The average time for a property to remain on the market in the UK is 66 days. Any figure considerably longer than this should see you striking that agent off your list, if they are quicker than that and they achieve a good percentage of asking price then they could be a very good choice.
If they say 4-6 weeks but heir contract length is considerably longer, then maybe it is time for the alarm bells to ring again. You can read more about why this could be an issue here