How do estate agents work? Are they really worthy of the poor reputation many of them have? These are the questions I look to answer in this helpful tips article on how estate agents work.
Firstly, I’m well aware of that and that is one of the reasons I gave up my legal practice in 2000 to become one, although we have always considered ourselves a property marketing company, we are always lumped together.
As a result of my legal background, I am not a typical estate agent, so I can’t tell you about some ‘tricks’ of the trade other, more scrupulous agents use. Still, I hope this guide on how estate agents work gives you a small insight into our job and why it’s important to use an estate agent to sell your house.
How do estate agents work and what are the important things to look out for?
Any product doesn’t just sell itself! If it did,, Topshop would have exactly the same performance figures as every other high street clothing chain. To help you get into the mindset of how estate agents work without any scruples, here is a brief list of some of the most important jobs that should be done when overseeing the sale of a property:
Preparing to go to market
Our staff will advise you what you can do to help prepare your house to go onto the market for sale. My personal favourite is to de-personalise the house: remove personal photos if there is a lot of them, pack away beauty products in the bathroom so they are out of sight and remove ‘clutter’ that won’t be used until after the move. This can be the start of the packing process, but ensure any boxes go away in the loft before the estate agent takes the photos.
Comply with money laundering requirements
This is a little bit boring, but it is an important part of how estate agents work now. We are required to ensure identification is provided for both buyers and sellers. We take the legislation side of the job very seriously and hold National Association of Estate Agent propertymark accreditation and we do so to protect the people who we buy and sell houses for. If you deal with an agent that doesn’t do this, then they are cutting corners.
Negotiate on the sale
At the top of the priority list for how estate agents work and probably the single most important part of the job is ensuring we ge you the most money for your home. We love negotiating, it’s very enjoyable agreeing a sale and making sure both buyer and seller are happy. And it’s not always that the most money is the best offer, it’s about knowing your clients, finding out what motivates both buyer and seller and picking the right match.
I am a great believer that if we push a buyer too hard and force them to increase above a level they are comfortable with the property sale is more likely to fall through before completion. Estate agents negotiate offers on houses every day and are used to dealing with the emotions people experience during this time, even if you negotiate for a living yourself I would recommend using a professional as buying and selling houses is completely different to buying and selling any other product.
This is the reason I earlier wrote that negotiation is arguably the most important part of the job. And that’s because I would argue sales progression is more important because it is where the process starts to cost you serious cash. It’s no good accepting an offer and taking the house off the market if the purchaser then doesn’t take any action for 6 weeks, ‘one in the hand is worth two in the bush’ and that’s why progressing a sale to completion as quickly as possible can not be underestimated.
A good estate agent will have contacts with reliable solicitors and be able to recommend one suitable for you depending on your circumstances. The agent will then keep all four parties updated: the seller, their solicitor, the buyer and their solicitor. Often solicitors need a little nudge to move things forward or it might be the seller that needs a reminder to return the paperwork he has had on his table for a fortnight.
Remember a house sale is not legally binding until exchange of contracts so a good estate agent will work with all four parties to get you to that point as quickly as possible. Why are Topshop more successful than most? It’s not just one thing, but a lot of little things and that’s how estate agents work in my opinion and something as a seller it is very difficult to judge on just one meeting.
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