Estate agents aren’t always held in the best light, but they play a vital role in every aspect of the property sale. So, what does an estate agent do exactly?
They don’t just advertise property for sale, they also hold things together for a seller, throughout the conveyancing process. This guide has everything you need to know about the role of your estate agent.
Before instructing an estate agent, you need to feel confident they’re the right one to sell your home.
One way to gain that certainty is during the property appraisal stage. This is when an estate agent recommends how much your home should go on sale for. To do this, the agent will use their local area expertise and suggest a value they believe is achievable.
Good estate agents are honest and realistic in their suggestions – they don’t merely go for the highest price to appease the vendor.
They will look at property data, such as local-house price history for your home type in the area. And they’ll also consider previous sales they’ve made. Estate agents set a price using their insights and begin the process of putting your property on the market.
Picking a local agent that is a member of a professional organisation like Propertymark, means you’re in safe hands. Why? Because Propertymark regulates its members’ activity with a code of conduct, regular training to keep them up to date and high standards to protect you and your money!
Ask about their professional qualifications.
It isn’t currently a legal requirement for agents to have a vocational qualification, but they are likely to be guiding you through the sale of your biggest asset and being qualified means that they have studied the legal framework and are competent in all related practices.
If they’ve achieved a Level 3 qualification, it’s a level equivalent to A Level or a Level 4 is equivalent to a certificate of higher education.
Market your property
Once you’ve instructed the agent, they will begin the process of getting your property on the market. This typically involves:
- Create a property description, detailing the main features of your home
- Arranging photos and a floor plan with a professional photographer
- Adding the home to their website and various property portals
- Reaching out to potential buyers they may be aware of (more in that soon)
- Promote the property in marketing collateral, including across social media, on the high-street agent’s window (if they have one) and emails.
Marketing your property is one of the most important aspects of selling a home. During the valuation, ask the agent how they plan to find a buyer and what they’ll do to facilitate a smooth sale at market value.
Suggest solicitors or conveyancers
Estate agents can also offer advice across a range of property-related matters. You will need a conveyancer or solicitor to handle the legal side of the sale. They can recommend a local solicitor if you don’t have one in mind.
You may also need to get an energy performance certificate (EPC). Again, your estate agent can recommend the right professional to perform the EPC check, as this is a requirement for selling a home.
A buyer decides whether or not to make an offer after viewing, so you want to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible.
Your estate agent can be helpful here, as they conduct the viewing showing prospective buyers around your home.
They will answer any questions the buyer may have about the property and will ensure the home is safe and secure once the viewing finishes (assuming you’re not present).
Your estate agent might also suggest an open house viewing, if you give them the green light. This is when more than one buyer visits the property on a selected day during a specific time.
Under the Property Ombudsman Code of Practice, estate agents need to take reasonable steps to determine the source and availability of the buyer’s funds and provide you with the information. This includes whether the buyer needs to sell before they can buy or if they have finances in place.
Other aspects include if they are a cash buyer or using a combination of sources to purchase the home. For instance, if a buyer is purchasing using a mortgage, the agent will usually ask them to provide a mortgage in principle (MIP) from the lender. Essentially, the agent has a duty to connect you with a serious buyer who is in proceedable position to buy your home.
Once the offers start coming in, your estate agent acts as the mediator and negotiates on your behalf.
They will inform you about all the offers and can provide advice if you need it. Agents will also return to the buyer on your behalf, telling them whether the offer has been accepted or rejected.
If you go back with a counteroffer, your agent will also relay it and try to find an agreement between both parties. Of course, they’re negotiating with your best interests in mind as they work for you.
Keep on top of everything
Estate agents keep things moving during the sale process, and good ones stay in contact with the seller and buyer at all times.
Once you’ve accepted an offer, they should issue a Memorandum of Sale to you and your solicitor informing you about the buyer’s solicitors.
They will also provide updates on the conveyancing process and can chase solicitors if something is taking longer than it should.
Your estate agent can help unblock issues and act as a focal point all the way up to the exchange of contracts.
Finding an estate agent
Every seller wants to make sure they instruct an excellent estate agent who goes above and beyond to secure the sale of their property.
Using Propertymark, you can search for a member agent who adheres to higher standards than the current laws demand. As a result, you’re more likely to find a high-level estate agent that helps you sell your home.
Last Updated: November 22nd, 2023