So what does an estate agent really do

Chelton Brown

1st July 2019

News

Chelton Brown

Whether you're a private homeowner looking for a change, or a landlord making changes to a portfolio, when you decide to sell, bringing in estate agents pays dividends in terms of peace of mind and taking away the stress of what can be a protracted and complicated process.

YOU'VE put your property on the market and selected an estate agent to market and sell the home. Now what? A lot of homeowners don't realise is that on average, for every hour that an agent spends with them, they will spend approximately nine hours working on the seller's behalf to get the property sold.

There are several things that estate agents do behind the scenes when working for a seller:

Research

Agents spend a fair amount of time meticulously preparing for valuations they are attending each day to ensure they provide clear evidence and the correct advice to each seller. A lot of an agent's time is spent researching changes in legislation and looking at property sales prices and data to ensure that they know their area well and have a good handle on the market. To accurately price a home, an agent will need to fully understand their market and what buyers are prepared to pay. Aspects that an agent will need to consider include recent sale prices of similar homes and comparative prices of other properties that are still on the market. This information will help establish a reasonable price bracket for the property.

Networking With Estate Agents

Many agents have a referral network of other agents such as The Guild, that they use to find buyers and potential clients. Agents often spend time helping each other to match the right buyer with the right home. Often agents will refer buyers to other agents if they know that agent has the house that ticks every box on their wish list.

A good agent will add value to the property transaction and earn their keep.

Marketing And Promotion

Estate agents will pay to have their listings advertised both online and in print media to ensure they receive the appropriate exposure to their target market. Agents will also pay to have flyers and brochures printed, have photos taken of the home and place the property on search portals. Not to mention, using the services of a PR and marketing team to engage with targeted media, posting listings on social media and holding show days.

Conduct Viewings And Show Days

An estate agent will arrange viewings and open houses for potential buyers to see the property in person. This is a fantastic way for an agent to engage with buyers, guide them around the property and answer any questions they may have.

Engage With Buyers And Handle Offers

Agents spend a lot of time engaging with their network of potential buyers to ensure that they can match the right buyer with the right property. To achieve this successfully, the agent must have in-depth knowledge of their listings, as well as the needs and wants of the would-be buyers in their network.

Another crucial factor is acting as a go-between handling offers made by buyers, as well as any counter-offers or replies that the homeowner may have. It is at this vital stage of the property transaction that an estate agent can net the seller thousands through their negotiation skills.

Check Whether A Buyer Is Serious

Under the Property Ombudsman Code of Practice, an estate agent must take reasonable steps to find out the source and availability of their funds for buying the property from a potential buyer. Once obtained, this information should then be passed on to the homeowner. The agent will need to know if the buyer needs to sell a property first, requires a mortgage, is a cash buyer or a combination of these. It is common practice for an agent to ask the buyer to show an agreement in principle from their mortgage lender to prove that they can purchase the home.

The code stipulates that all offers must be presented to the seller, regardless of whether the buyer has been financially qualified or not. If an offer is accepted, an estate agent will regularly monitor the buyer's progress in achieving the funds and will keep the seller up to date.

Ensure The Transaction Runs As Smoothly As Possible

Once the homeowner has accepted an offer, the agent will issue a Memorandum of Sale to all parties involved, which will give them all the information they need on each other and each party's solicitors.

An agent's job does not end once an offer has been accepted. The truth is that not every property sale will go according to plan, but a good agent will try to ensure that it keeps moving in the right direction by unblocking issues and working to the critical points of exchange of contracts and a date for completion.

Advising And Guiding

A property transaction can be stressful, and people get emotional. A good agent will need to be a problem-solver, keep a positive approach and come up with a constructive solution to any issue.

Chelton Brown