If you’re looking to sell a house or an investment property, you might’ve heard of sellers hiring estate agents to handle their transactions. One of the most important decisions you’re going to make when selling a property is whether to sell it through an estate agent or sell it directly to a prospective buyer.
There’s also the consideration of estate agents and solicitors fees for buying a house. But before you can decide on which path you want to take, you first need to understand what estate agents do and what you can benefit from them.
What are Estate Agents?
The short and obvious answer to this question is that they sell your house instead of you doing the actual selling. Estate agents are in charge of marketing and selling the property, and basically all the leg work involved in the sale. Some of the work they do include:
Preparations for the sale: This includes room measurements and arranging for professional photography services to attract interested buyers.
Market research and pricing: Agents are likely to have existing knowledge of your neighbourhood and the housing market, including price levels based on the type of property and location.
Marketing and sales: They also list the property for you and could have a list of potential buyers on the ready that they contact any time.
Paperwork: Some estate agents will also liaise with solicitors and conveyancers on your behalf. However, this adds solicitors fees for buying a house or selling.
How Can Estate Agents Help Property Sellers?
While those are just an overview of what estate agents can do, they also offer a couple more benefits that sellers like you can take advantage of. Here’s what you can expect your estate agent to do for you when it comes to selling your home.
Setting the Value of Your Home
By hiring an estate agent, you get expert advice on how much your house is worth, which can help you set it at just the right price for your listing. These professionals draw upon their experience and knowledge of the local property market to give you an accurate picture of what homes like yours are selling for. They also base it on the selling prices of local houses within the same location, which can be found on the Land Registry. All this information will help you arrive at the best pricing and why you might pitch for more or less.
You may already have a price in mind for your property, but it would be best to do a bit of research on your own. There are free home valuations available online where you can just put the property’s general location and features. Once you’ve done your research, you can ask your estate agent about their own valuation of your property. You can then compare notes and see what considerations your estate agent took into account when they arrived at their proposed valuation. Ideally, you should get valuations from three different estate agents to get a good grasp of how your house is priced based on the current market conditions.
Marketing Your Home
Part of an estate agent’s duties is to arrange for your property to be professionally photographed. This will be used to promote your property and entice any potential buyers. Estate agents will also draw up an accurate floor plan and write an accurate and comprehensive description of your home to be used in the brochure or property listing portals.
This is a necessary step in the selling process and could prove to be a little challenging and time consuming if you’re planning to do all these on your own. However, you don’t have to pay any extra cost for the photography and other services as they are already included in the estate agent’s commission, which is a small percentage based on the property’s final selling price.
Arrange Property Viewings
Viewings are also a crucial part of selling a house as it gives potential buyers a chance to see your property up close. Estate agents arrange property viewings to guide potential buyers around the house and answer any questions they may have. It is also up to your agent to make sure that the property is secure before and after the viewing.
While viewings are primarily by appointment, your estate agent can also arrange an open house for your property where numerous buyers visit during a specific time period. Some estate agents prefer to arrange back-to-back appointments that work very much like an open house.
The advantage of having an estate agent conduct the viewings on your behalf is they are seen as a somewhat neutral party. Buyers won’t have any trouble asking questions that they would be embarrassed to ask the owners themselves. The best part is, you don’t have to show up every time someone wants to look at your property.
A vital part of an estate agent’s job is managing negotiations and act as a go-between for any potential buyers and the owner. Interested parties will post their offers to the estate agent, who will then pass them to you, the owner. The agent will also submit any response from you to the buyer. Good estate agents are helpful to their buyers, but they always put your interests first and get you the best deal possible for the property you’re selling.
Closing the Deal
Once you’ve accepted an offer from a buyer through your agent, they will then issue a Memorandum of Sale to the vendor, buyer, and their solicitors. This includes all the information they need on each other and each party’s solicitors.
Most people expect their agent’s job to end once an offer has been accepted. However, a competent estate agent will make sure that the offer moves forward and helps make the transaction go smoothly. Your agent will monitor any issues that come up from both parties and even work at critical stages of the deal, including exchanging contracts and setting a date for completion. They basically perform the role of an adviser as you negotiate the sale until its completion.
What Are the Disadvantages of Hiring an Estate Agent?
The main disadvantage of selling your property through an agent is the commission from the proceeds of the sale. An estate agent’s commission is based on a percentage of the property’s selling price, which can get very expensive. The commission rates vary depending on the estate agency involved. It’s best to do your research before settling for an agent, as this will also influence your property’s selling price.
An estate agent may also wish to refer you to a solicitor firm after the sale has been negotiated. This process may also incur solicitor’s fees for buying a house or selling it.
Hiring an estate agent can be a costly decision to make, but it can also save you a lot of time and effort in finding a suitable buyer for your property. More often than not, the cost of hiring an agent is worth it, but you need to be vigilant of the estate agent you deal with. Do a lot of research first to make sure that you only hire a reputable agent for your property sale.