What Do Estate Agents Do?

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When selling a property, it’s common to enlist the services of an estate agent to value and market your property, manage viewings, communicate with solicitors, and oversee the entire sales process. However, it’s important to recognise that the role of an estate agent is multifaceted and complex.

Unlike many professional industries such as banking or mortgage brokers, the estate agent industry is not regulated. This means that anyone can start an estate agency business without having any specific qualifications or adhering to a particular code of conduct. However, many estate agents choose to become members of organisations like the Property Ombudsman, which issues codes of practice that its members must follow. These codes are designed to protect the interests of vendors and provide guidelines for ethical behavior within the industry.

Understanding the complexities of the estate agent’s role can help you better navigate the selling process and ensure that you receive the best possible service from the professional you entrust with the sale of your home. It’s advisable to choose an estate agent who is reputable, experienced, and committed to upholding high standards of professionalism and integrity.

The Role Of An Estate Agent

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect:

1. Choosing Your Agent:

  • Local Expertise Matters: Opt for an agent who visits your property and understands your area’s market trends.
  • Valuation: They’ll consider recent sales, current market conditions, and similar properties for sale to suggest a competitive asking price.
  • Beware of Instant Online Valuations: These lack the accuracy of in-person assessments.

2. Setting the Price:

  • Honest Conversation: Discuss your desired timeframe. A faster sale might require a slightly lower price.
  • Start Strategic: Price competitively to attract interest. You can always adjust later if needed.

3. Preparing for Sale:

  • Professional Photos & Descriptions: The agent will capture your home’s best features with high-quality photos and write an enticing description.
  • “For Sale” Sign: Increase visibility with a prominent sign outside your property.
  • Online Presence: Your property will be advertised on major platforms like Rightmove and Zoopla.

4. Viewings and Feedback:

  • Showtime!: The agent will manage and conduct viewings of your property.
  • Post-Viewing Communication: Expect updates within 24 hours with viewer feedback.

5. Offers and Negotiations:

  • Offers & Decisions: You have the right to accept, reject, or counter any offer received through the agent.
  • Expert Guidance: Your agent can provide valuable insights during negotiations.

6. Sale Progression:

  • Solicitor Liaison: The agent facilitates communication between your solicitor and the buyer’s solicitor, ensuring a smooth process.
  • High Conversion Rates: Choose an agent with a strong track record of closing deals efficiently.
  • Memorandum of Sale: This document formalizes the agreement, outlining details like price, solicitors, and property information.

Remember: A good estate agent acts as your partner throughout the selling process. They’ll guide you, market your property effectively, and negotiate on your behalf to achieve a successful sale.

Which Agent?

Choosing an estate agent is an important decision. Make sure you shop around and find out what each of them has to offer. Look up their statistics and conversion rates and make an informed decision. Also make sure that you know exactly what fees will be charged. Firstly, here is a list of questions that we suggest you ask your potential estate agents:

 Sole agency means you go with just one agent who has the exclusive right to sell your property. This kind of agreement usually lasts for a set period within which,  If your property is sold by another agent, you will still have to pay them their sole agent their fee as well as pay fees to the agent who sold it. You would be paying double. Usually, sole agency fees can range between 1% and 2.5% of the sale price. Tie in periods are usually about  eight weeks.

This means several agents have your property on their books, with the one who sells it being paid the fee. This will usually be around 2.5% and 3.5% of the sale price.

A well-established local agent that has experience selling properties in the immediate vicinity of your home is often a good choice. National, web based agents will not have the same knowledge of the local market and what sells where you are.

Will my property be in the local paper? Will it be on all the well known  property sites such as Rightmove/Zoopla? ​

Ask if they can they will be available during evenings and weekends. Let them know if you are happy to conduct viewings yourself.

Here is what we suggest you do when
choosing an estate agent

Seek recommendations

People will give you their recommendations whether you want them or not. Ask friends, family and colleagues who they have had good experiences with and who to steer clear of. Also, look locally at the “for sale” and “sold” signs. It’s a useful indicator of who is popular in your area.

Ask at least three agents to value your property

Get at least three to come and value your property. Do not necessarily be the most impressed by the agent that values your property the highest. There could be several reasons for this but the highest price is not always the most realistic. You need an agent who is going to be honest and fair and just as importantly, realistic. 

Check industry credentials

Estate agents should be members of The Property Ombudsman Scheme which means complaints can be brought against them that will be independently investigated.

Some estate agents will also be members of other trade organisations. This means that they have to comply with a code of conduct. This can indicate a level of professionalism and diligence. Look out for are:

  • Guild of Property Professionals
  • National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Always research any credentials you have been told. Most information of this kind is usually available on the internet.

Decide between sole and multi-agency

Sole agency is cheaper, but you’re limited to an agent in just one location. Multi-agency costs more, but means that your property will get more exposure, meaning more viewings meaning a potentially quicker sale. You can start out with a sole agency and change to multi-agency at the end of the tie-in period if you want to. 

Negotiate fees

Whichever agent you choose you are well within your rights to negotiate their fees. Some will charge a percentage and others have a flat fee. Either way, they are usually open to offers. 

Examine their terms and conditions of the agreement

Read over the small print before agreeing to anything. Question everything you don’t understand or is not clear. Do not sign anything you don’t agree with.

Review your agent's performance

After a period of time take account of how many viewings you have you had, how they went, whether the agent been marketing the property in the way you expected and whether they have been as proactive and communicative as you expected.

Ask for feedback from the agent, whether there is anything else you can be doing to attract viewers to your home. If you have had relatively few viewings, or you have had viewings but no offers, ask why this is, though the agent should really be giving you feedback after each one.