Why use an Estate Agent?

by Mark Johnston

Research has shown that 90% of home owners automatically turn to an estate agent when they decided to sell their homes.

There are many reports around at the moment to suggest that the UK is generally dissatisfied with the service they get from estate agents.

Over the past 2 years the government has conducted 2 major studies in to the problems of buying and selling property. The office of fair trading (OFT) study highlighted serious concerns over the way estate agents serve the public.

Frankly, widespread lack of consumer confidence in estate agents is nothing new.

Before choosing an estate agent sellers should shop around and find the right company. Try to choose an estate agent that is registered with a trade organisation such as the national association of estate agents (NEAE) or the royal institution of chartered surveyors (RICS). However all estate agents are bound by the estate agents act whether or not they are registered with a trade organisation.

One of the pros of using an estate agent is the marketing benefits; it will be on the agent’s books, in their office windows, appear in the local press and also be included on internet websites such as rightmove.com.

Estate agents also have databases full of potential buyers, who have listed their criteria, which could match your property, with the agent and are searching for property, so they are ready to start viewing homes for sale immediately. Whilst this is a plus it is not always a guarantee.

An agent usually has knowledge of the local area, the types of properties for sale with in it and the potential demand; this allows them to calculate your property’s value. However they have been known to give an unrealistic valuation just to get the business.

They can also offer an objective, experienced opinion on any improvements you could make to help sell your property. Although it is also worth remembering that anyone can become an estate agent, there are no qualifications needed.

Estate agents can conduct viewings on your behalf if you are unable to or simply do not wish to.

One particular advantage is that they can act as a negotiator between the buyer, seller and solicitors, as direct negotiation may cause awkwardness or weaken bargaining positions. Although this can also be a hassle as they do not get back to people quickly.

Fees are a massive thing to look at when employing an agency, most will normally charges between 1% and 2% plus VAT of the final sale price. This can run in to thousands of pounds.

An estate agent will probably have between 15 and 30 properties that they are trying to find a buyer for at any one time, if yours is not selling it may become neglected.

The estate agency will not necessarily get you the best price for your property, as these businesses are only financially viable if they sell lots of property quickly. They do not stay in business by chasing the highest price possible for every property on their books.

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