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Choosing An Estate Agent

Property sellers have mixed feeling towards Estate Agents; while some have even fallen into disrepute due to the unsatisfactory service they offer.

Nevertheless, over 90% of properties are still successfully marketed and sold by means of hiring an Estate Agent. It’s a given fact that there is no independent body regulating all Estate Agents (except from the OFT), so these Agents do not require any qualifications to practice their chosen profession.

However, The Property Ombudsman (TPOS) had already presented a ‘complaints procedure’ that should cover most estate agents. You can also go over the Office of Fair Trading should you have any complaints regarding your agent.

Hiring an Estate Agent can truly help you sell your property, particularly if you’re a first time seller or if the property you’re trying to sell is kind of unusual in any way.

A good Estate Agent should provide the following (and sometimes more):

  • A great value service
  • A number of prospective buyers
  • Genuine help and useful advice
  • Marketing of the property as extensively as possible

On the other hand, it is still advisable to know some basic rules when working with Estate Agents.

Estate Agents’ Services

Estate Agents can accomplish the whole selling process from the start to end, but if you’re the type of person who do not want to sit back and let the Agent handle everything; then you should make this clear before hiring them. In order to keep a good working relationship with your Agent, it is vital to let them be aware on how much you want to take part of the process.

Propose an Asking Price

The first thing your Agent will do is to recommend an asking price. Just remember that you should not take their recommendation at face value, but get your own individual idea of how much your property is really worth. Take your Agent’s recommendation into account, but then again do not solely depend on it.

Advertising and Presentation

This is one of the most important factors of an Estate Agent, as they will take photos of your property and gather a list of details to place into a standard format for presentation.

Be sure to mention about all the plus points of your property which the agent might not notice in one visit.

Additionally, confirm the property description and presentation materials before posting them on websites and listings.

A great Estate Agent will ensure that the advertisement reaches the appropriate target audience. These days, most buyers start their search for a property online, so it is more significant than ever to be sure that your estate agent advertises broadly on the web.

Arrange Viewings

If you want your Agent to organize and accomplish the viewings, make this clear to them from the start, or else you might incur added charges. Then again, you might prefer to show prospective buyers around the house yourself, so as to emphasize all its advantages.


Most Estate Agents are professionals when it comes to negotiations, though some complications may arise. An Agent’s motivations might compromise his working performance.

He might be more apprehensive about obtaining a quick sale and recommend you to take the first offer that comes along, or he might be so keen on boosting the price up to the point that he scares away prospective buyers with his negotiation methods.

It is advisable to have a reasonably good idea of how much you want to sell your property, and stick to it. If your property does not sell, then you can still make some necessary modifications at a later date.

The Cost

Normally, an Estate Agent will charge you between 2% up to 3.5% of the selling price as a commission, though their fees are usually negotiable.

It is not quite logical to go for a skilled and certified Estate Agent with the lowest asking fee. Be sure to read the contract and ensure that the quality and amount of advertising is satisfactory enough for you.

If the Estate Agent is the sole agency, which means they have the exclusive right to sell your property, the commission will most likely be lesser than if you have a joint sole agency (you hire two Agents to work together and share the commission); in which case two different Estate Agents compete to sell your property and do not share the agreed commission.

Remember that you will be charged with 20% VAT so if your property is sold for £300,000 and your Agent charges 2.5% commission; you’ll end up paying £1,500.00 all in all.

The Contract

Here’s some practical advice: before you sign the contract, be sure to read even the smallest print and negotiate any argumentative terms.

You should also make certain that the time frame for the agreement is appropriately set; which does not commonly go beyond 3 months. After which, you are welcome to switch Agents if you are discontented with the previous one.

However, if you have a sole agency agreement, it is advised to push their term to approximately 6 weeks.

Table Of contents

  1. Home Selling Guide Intro
  2. Knowing When To Sell Your House
  3. Expenses Involved In Selling Your House
  4. Who Will Sell Your Property
  5. Valuing your Property
  6. Choosing An Agent
  7. Selling Your Home Privately
  8. Selling A Property At Auction
  9. Preparing Your Property For Sale
  10. Property Viewings
  11. Negotiations
  12. Conveyancing For Sale
  13. The Sale Completion