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What does an Estate Agent do?

A female estate agent showing a man around a property

Estate Agents are engaged by the seller to sell their property. They’ll help arrange and necessitate viewings in order to get the property sold.

They will receive a fee or commission for selling the property which is paid by the seller. They liaise with viewers and buyers to facilitate a deal between you both.

Estate Agents Reputation

It’s fair to say that UK estate agents don’t have the best of reputations, often featuring in the lists of the top 10 most hated or disliked professions.

A survey carried out by CV Library (2019), revealed that estate agents were in the top 10 least trusted professions due to their perceived lack of morals, greed for money, unreliability and irritating nature.

Similarly, a 2017 index (the Ipsos MORI Veracity Index) revealed that estate agents were on the list of the most distrusted professions in the UK, they placed fourth just in front of politicians, government ministers and professional footballers.

In reality, this is an outdated view, estate agents work long unsociable hours with low basic pay in a target-orientated environment. They just want to create a common agreement that benefits the seller and the buyer.

As Estate Agents only get paid once the sale is completed, they also have to do months of work before they get paid.

Who do estate agents work for?

The seller will pay the estate agents their fees so ultimately, they work for the seller and have their best interest at hand. Their main objective will be to keep their clients, the sellers, happy.

They will deal with buyers, such as yourself, and mediate a sale value. Good estate agents will then manage the sale, dealing with clients and their solicitors up and down the chain chasing every part to make it through to completion.

The estate agent will only get paid on completion once the sale goes through.


Ask the agent for any properties that might match your criteria!

They may know of a property coming back on after a sale not going through or they might know of a property coming onto the market shortly.

Keep in touch with agents regularly and ask them about these two property types. If an agent tells you of a suitable property coming to market shortly, make a note and chase it up a few days or weeks later.

This is how you stay in the estate agents’ mind and get into properties sooner than anyone else!

How can estate agents help with investment properties?

It seems that every budding property developer is after a “deal to make money on”.

We would recommend that you identify local estate agents and actually ask them what they think is the best deal. They may have been able to identify the following:

  • Properties that could be split into two properties

  • Properties that may have land whereby an additional property could be built

  • Properties that you can add value to with simple restructuring of space or loft conversions and extensions.

  • Properties that are undervalued or in areas that are ripe for a potential increase

The biggest crime is that investors do not ask estate agents' opinions for this wealth of information that they’ll happily provide for free – just ask their opinion!

We’re sure that if you went to all estate agents in the local area and ask them for their best 3 opportunities you’d get 2 or 3 fantastic money-making options at the very least!

Property Portals

There are 3 main property portals that are most commonly used:

Most agents will use Rightmove and either On the Market or Zoopla, but not all though.

Rightmove is by far the market leader but sometimes information about a property can come onto the market up to 24 hours earlier than it does on Zoopla and On the Market. Sometimes this is the reason why properties seem to be sold before they get listed on Rightmove.

Also, don’t source by the latest listed property – look at all properties. Some come back onto the market through no fault of the seller. Usually, it can be something as silly as the chain has broken down further up the chain forcing the seller to put the property back on the market.

Ask the agent's opinion and don’t be put off by photos – go and have a look! Sometimes you can be surprised.

Listen to our podcast episode all about estate agents:

Estate agents and offers

Estate agents must treat buyers fairly. They must show any offers promptly and in writing to the person selling the house.

Estate agents are legally obliged to pass on any other offers for the property right up to when contracts are exchanged.

Once an offer has been accepted it should be marked as Sold Subject to Contract (SSTC) and the conveyancing process can start.*

For a step-by-step conveyancing guide please click here.

Checking you as a buyer

When putting forwards an offer the estate agent will want to confirm your position. They’ll ask for proof of funds for the full amount or proof of deposit and an agreement/decision in principle (AIP/DIP).

They may also want to know your chain details and what you’re buying the property for i.e. will you be living in it or renting it out?

This means when they are speaking to the seller or vendor they can give them the full picture of the offers on the property and their prospective positions.

What the estate agent shouldn’t do - Conditional Selling!

An estate agent shouldn’t put your offer forwards on condition of using a service they provide such as their chosen solicitor or mortgage broker.

Other types of conditional selling include putting clients on a VIP list for viewings or any other type of condition for viewing or offering on the property. The official wording for this according to the Code of Practice for Residential Estate Agents - Clause 9c states;

By law you cannot make it a condition of passing on offers to the seller that the person wanting to buy the property must use services offered by you or another party. You must not discriminate, or threaten to discriminate, against a prospective buyer of the seller’s property because that person declines to accept that you will (directly or indirectly) provide related services to them.

Discrimination includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Failing to tell the seller of an offer to buy the property.

  • Telling the seller of an offer less quickly than other offers you have received.

  • Misrepresenting the nature of the offer or that of rival offers.

  • Giving details of properties for sale first to those who have indicated they are prepared to let you provide services to them****

How to choose a solicitor

Choosing a good solicitor can be the difference between having a great purchasing journey or somewhat of a horrific one!

Recommendation is a great way of finding someone pretty good but taking advice from someone in the game such as your broker or estate agent can be great as it means that they’ll more than likely handhold you through the whole process.

We would always recommend a local solicitor and one that can communicate by phone as well as email.

Talking to a legal representative can sometimes be much easier than 10 emails bouncing forwards and backwards. They can always confirm the information in an email afterwards.

Cross-referencing with reviews from Google, Facebook and any of the review platforms could help you decide which could be best for you.

Starting to look at properties? We’ll need to make you offer ready.

A prospective estate agent will want to make sure that your offer is a proper one, that you’re able to follow it up and that you’re basically good for it!

Showing that you can afford it means showing you have the cash for the deposit (or the whole purchase price) by producing a bank statement or other proof of deposit and an arranged mortgage agreement in principle (AIP).

Along with that and having a solicitor or conveyancer ready to go means you can sell yourself as a great buyer and the vendor is more likely to accept when compared to a faceless figure.

Ready to get on the property ladder? Get an agreement in principle with our brokers and start the mortgage process today.


Approved by The Openwork Partnership on 04/05/2023



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