Updated: Sep 24
Estate Agents are engaged by the seller to sell their property. They will 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/buyers and 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 in 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In reality this is an outdated view, estate agents work long unsociable hours with low basics in a target orientated environment.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.
So, Estate Agents work for the seller and not for me?
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 the whole way through to completion 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.
TOP TIP -
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 / weeks later. This is how you stay in the estate agents’ mind and get into properties sooner than anyone else!
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 2/3 fantastic money making options at the very least!
Here are the 3 main ones -
Most agents will use Rightmove and either On the Market or Zoopla, not all though.
Rightmove is by far the market leader but sometimes information about 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 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 agents opinion and don’t be put off by photo’s – go and have a look! Sometimes you can be surprised.
Starting to look at property - we’ll need to make you offer ready.
A prospective estate agent will want to make sure that your offer is a proper one and 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 agreement/decision in principle (AIP/DIP) mortgage.
Along with that and having a solicitor / 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.
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 or SSTC and the conveyancing process can start*. For a step by step conveyancing guide please click here.
* Source: https://www.gov.uk/buy-sell-your-home/
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/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!
They 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**
Choosing a solicitor/conveyancer
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 / estate agent can be good as it means that they’ll more than likely hand hold you through the whole process.
We would always recommend a local solicitor and one that can communicate by phone as well as email is good. Talking to a legal representative can sometimes be much easier than 10 emails bouncing forwards and backwards. They can always confirm information in an email afterwards.
Cross reference with reviews from Google, Facebook and any of the review platforms could help you decide which could be best for you.
Estate agents are there to help broker a deal between a prospective purchaser and the seller. Estate agents may have an outdated “untrustworthy” reputation, but they are professionals that have a wealth of knowledge and are eager to share it with you, all you have to do is ask them!