Everything you Need to Know about Estate Agents

Have you ever wondered what estate agents do, or considered a career as an Estate Agent? Well, estate agents take up the role of marketing and selling property on behalf of property owners. That is, they monitor the chain of buyers and sellers, liaise with the solicitor, negotiate with sellers and buyers as well as deal with all the paperwork.

Estate agents may also recommend to solicitors, surveyors as well as mortgage brokers to quick house buyers and sellers. Thus, you may talk to them even if you will not use their services. Unlike a popular misconception that estate agents double up as property valuers, this is not true. While some estate agents may give you a valuation of your property, the only valuation that is admissible by financial institutions is that done by professional surveyors.

Estate agents have a way of adding a positive spin on the description of properties, the same way a marketing expert may spin a title tag, or description of a website for seo purposes. This is a great way of selling property without offending clients. However, you need to be cautious because there is a degree of opinion involved in the description of the property.

Estate Agent Regulation

The definition of estate agents is solely the mandate of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). Further, the Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007 and the Estate Agents Act 1979 regulate the operations and conduct of estate agents.
Additionally, estate agents may also subscribe to certain bodies like the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). This is the principal body for UK property professionals dealing with commercial, residential as well as agricultural property. In fact, estate agents are legally required to belong to a redress scheme to trade as an agent. Consequently, agents who do not belong to any redress scheme as this governs agents.

Estate Agent Fees

When buying property, you are not required to pay estate agent fee. However, property sellers will pay between 0.75% and 3.5% of their property’s selling price in estate agent fees unless you are selling with a fast house sale agency. This can significantly have an impact on the amount that is due to you at the end of the transaction hence the need to consider negotiating for better rates. It is advisable that you check if the fee is inclusive of VAT, otherwise you may end up adding another 20% of the fee.

Overall, estate agents are an important link between property buyers and sellers. However, you need to understand that they may not always have your interests as heart as they are in business. Therefore, you will do well to research widely and understand the process so that you do not become a victim of estate agent traps.

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