Advantages of using an estate agent

It’s not necessary to use an agent to sell your property, you can do it privately, although most sellers choose to in order to ensure they attract the best range of potential buyers.

Choosing an agent can be difficult as there are many different types operating in the UK. They range from agencies who offer a listings-only service and promote the property online through portals like Rightmove, through to the full-service agencies where the agent will conduct the viewings and manage the sales process for you from beginning to end.

The agent will normally:

  • Provide you with a property valuation and marketing price
  • Market the property through their chosen channels
  • Identify potential purchasers and organise and conduct the viewings.
  • Negotiate the terms of any potential offer between you and your new buyer
  • Advise throughout the process to ensure that you reach your chosen goal
  • Help keep the momentum of the transaction moving and help resolve any problems as they arise

The cost of the service will depend on the agent and the type of service you have chosen but typically they will charge either a fixed fee or a percentage of the final sale price, which can range from about 0.5% to 3% + Vat.

Many agents operate a business model that only makes a charge if they successfully sell the property, however, upfront charges for marketing a property are becoming more popular with increased price competition and agents looking for new ways to work.

When you agree to instruct an agent to market your property you need to enter into a contract with them to do the work.  More traditional agents often offer two types of contract:

  • Sole agency – Under this arrangement you will agree to market the property exclusively with the agent for a minimum period of time and will not be able to instruct other agents to market your property. Before signing make sure you are clear on how long you are committed to the agent, the process involved if you want to bring the contract to an end and if there are any associated costs if you subsequently sell the property through someone else.
  • Joint agency – Here you are able to instruct more than one agent to market your property. Typically, the fee that is charged is higher, as with more than one agent working on the property there is a greater risk to the agent that someone else might sell it. Under this arrangement the agent that introduces the buyer initially will be the agent that charges the fee but always check the detail of what would be charged if both agents were to introduce you to the same buyer.

You don’t have to use an agent to sell your property but some of the advantages of using one are:

  • They are experienced in the field. Most people sell a home once every seven years, agents do it day in day out and understand how to deal with the problems. A good agent will know the intricacies of the local market and will be able to provide evidence of the prices and type of properties they have sold locally.
  • They will give you professional advice on how best to reach your goals.
  • They give you access to their market knowledge and a network of contacts looking to buy.
  • They take on the stress and hassle of dealing with potential buyers.
  • They help take the emotion out of the transaction. This is especially important when you are selling your own home as it is so much more personal.
  • They act as a safety net if something goes wrong and guide you through the problems.
  • You will get your property onto portals like Rightmove to get the best exposure across the market and the country.
  • They can reduce the risk of making a mistake during the transaction, as they have more knowledge and experience.