Using Estate Agents – What Do They Do?

The role of the estate agent is to match prospective buyers with properties for sale. They market properties, show prospective buyers around, and help buyer and seller come to an agreement on the purchase price. They get paid commission from the seller for achieving a successful sale. best LLC services 2021

Basic Services

The main role of the agent is to help you find a property you want to buy. To enable him or her to do this, he or she will want to know exactly what sort of property you are looking for, where you want to live and how much you are prepared to pay. The agent will then come up with several properties that suit your needs.

If they have nothing on their books that matches your criteria, they will put you on their mailing list and contact you when they have. Or, if your expectations are unrealistic, given the amount you have to spend, they are likely to try to convince you of this. If you want a three bedroom flat in the centre of town and have £120,000 to spend when prices are nearer £175,000 for that sort of property, for example, they will try to make you see that this is not a realistic proposition.

If they do have properties you’re interested in, the agent will show you around, answer any questions you have and advise you on the price you should offer. If you make an offer, the agent also acts as go-between with the seller until you both agree on a price.

Many estate agents offer mortgages, either through an in-house specialist or by referring you to a broker with who the agent has an agreement. Because the agents strength is in negotiating sales, not arranging financing, I advise you to steer clear of these. You’re unlikely to get the best rate because you’ll probably be offered a mortgage from a tiny panel of lenders. Going with the agent-recommended broker may be more convenient than shopping around, but you won’t necessarily get the best deal. The best place to find a mortgage is through an independent advisor.

You’re not obliged to take a mortgage from an agent so don’t be pressured into it. Say, straightaway that you have already arranged financing (even if you haven’t) because this stops the agent trying to persuade you to take on of their deals.

Most agents can also recommend surveyors or solicitors. If you haven’t already got people to do these tasks, it may be worth finding out what rates they charge. They can be quite competitive because of the volume of business the agent passes on, plus they might be quite good as they have been vetted by the agent. Nevertheless, try not to feel pressured into employing an agent-recommended surveyor or solicitor, and don’t commit yourself to anything until you have shopped around for quotes.

Finding a Good Estate Agent

Finding a good estate agent who has plenty of properties that meet your criteria and who isn’t going to mess you about can be hit-and-miss. And if the record number of complaints against agents is anything to go by, more people miss than hit. In 2009, more than 8,000 home buyers and sellers complained to the industry Ombudsman about the service they received from their agent – a third more complaints than in 2008.

However, a good agent can make all the difference between finding the home of your dreams easily and paying the right price for it, and a far more stressful home-buying experience. To make things go more smoothly, do all you can to find a good agent.

Checking out an Agent’s Credentials

Personal recommendation is a good place to start when choosing an agent, so ask friends and family whether they can suggest one (or one you should avoid!). And if an agent you used before did a good job, consider using them again if you are buying in the same area.

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