Would you be an estate agent? they come in for perhaps more than their fair share of stick, don’t they, estate agents? the mere mention of the role seems to spark a look of doubt and mistrust, if not one of outright derision. But is the popular stereotype of an estate agent more than a little unfair? More to the point, is it a very helpful way to view the role of someone who could prove to play a pivotal part in finding the property you want to buy or in finding the right buyer when you have one to sell?
Of course, there’s no law to say that you’re obliged to engage the services of an estate agent, whether you want to sell or to buy a property. Yet the simple fact is that the vast majority of transactions will have involved such an agent at some stage in the process. Somewhere along the line, therefore, it is clear that estate agents are adding value. In what respect? How are they doing so?
It might be worth taking a brief look, in other words, at the range of services any self-respecting estate agent is likely to offer:
- If yours is the property for sale, for example, the principal role you see for your estate agent is likely to be the one of advertising and marketing your home. Even in this process of promoting your property’s sale, however, there is likely to be more than meets the eye;
- Critical to a successful sale – from you, the vendor’s, point of view, maximising the price you receive – is the estate agent’s valuation of the property. If it is under-valued, you won’t achieve what it is fully worth on the market – if it is over-valued, it is unlikely to sell;
- Competent valuers, in other words, need to keep fully abreast of developments in the property market in your area – in terms of both residential and commercial sales;
- When choosing an estate agent, you might want to remember that this is the person or firm who will be representing you and your interests when it comes to talking to potential buyers and negotiating prices with them;
- Indeed, the agent is likely to be the principal actor in ensuring that the price that is eventually agreed is the one found to be acceptable both to the vendor and the purchaser;
- Property transactions, of course, are typically very complicated transactions. A good estate agent is likely to be an important coordinator, therefore, liaising with and bringing together the wide range of other professionals often involved in even the most straight forward sales – people such as mortgage lenders, property surveyors, legal representatives and even other estate agents.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all of the services, functions or actions likely to be undertaken by the typical estate agent. Nevertheless, the estate agent that performs well on just a handful of such performance indicators may well convince you that the sales commission charged has been worth every penny.