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Estate Agents - Undervalued?

The job of a good estate agent isn’t an easy one, but we hear all too often ‘all they do is stick your property on a portal, it sells, and they collect their fee’. This just isn’t the case, but could agents do more to explain what they actually do and explain their value?

To win instructions agents often seem to rely on the value of the property, their fee and any awards from any number of publications, the vast majority of which will only have been heard of by people working in the property sector. Could or should agents provide vendors a list of actions that they will take to try and achieve a smooth, timely sale?

The average sales process from beginning to end is often complicated due the age and complexity of the housing stock and despite this, UK estate agents are some of the cheapest in the world.

We believe that if property sellers understood the process of selling a house a little better, they would appreciate the work of their agent and realise they really are worth their fee in a lot of cases.

*We’ve made an abbreviated list of the selling process from the agents point of view -

- Valuation Booking: This is when you’ll express your interest in the agent and request for them to visit your property to provide a valuation. You may have a discussion about when you’re thinking about coming to market, and they’ll add your information into their booking system. They will go through their diary and book a day that suits you both.
- Valuation Day: The agent will generally come to your property with information regarding recently sold properties in your area. They will go through your property and note down features that stand out. They should also point out any things they recommend you update/fix before placing your house on the market. The agent will then advise you what they consider your property to be worth, taking into consideration the current market, recently sold properties in the area and the current condition of the property. Following this they will discuss their fee and contract. All of this work is done before they are even instructed, so if you decide to go with another agent following this, all that work is free of charge!
- Instructed: Once you choose your estate agent, this is when the real work starts! The agent will go over any jobs they recommend you do before they send round a professional photographer to take photos of your property. You both want to sell the property as quickly as possible and get the best offer, so you want to make sure it looks its best.
- Your property is live!: Now your property is live on the agents website and other property portals (Rightmove, Zoopla, etc) the agent will go through all property viewing requests to ensure that they’re only showing your property to people in a position to purchase. This can be very time consuming as you’d be surprised how many people request to view a property when they haven’t sold or got a mortgage in principle!
- Viewings: Generally, your agent will take care of most if not all viewings. This itself is very time consuming. Travel to and from your property as well as showing the possible buyers around the property. They really need to know your property and feel comfortable answering any questions they may have.
- Offers: If a buyer puts an offer in on your house the agent is legally obliged to tell you, even if it’s wildly below the asking price! This is another time consuming part of the process. They will deal with all negotiations between you and prospective buyers.
- Once you have accepted an offer the agent will issue a memorandum of sale to the vendor, buyer and their solicitors. The agent will then help collate all the information they need on each party and ensure the channels of communication are open.
- The agent will continue to follow up and chase solicitors, acting as a go-between with you and your buyer to make sure any issues are dealt with quickly to ensure the sale progresses and gets to the point of exchange of contracts and completion.
We hope this helps you understand not only the process, but also the work of the agent. If you’re looking for an agent to market your property, please head over to netanagent.com and compare agents in your area.
*The list above is purely a guide and is not the contractual obligation of each agent.
Christine McLaughlin

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