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Running an Estate Agent – Services and Fees

Estate agents are an important link between property sellers and buyers. As such, if you are thinking of using an estate agent to sell your property, you need to know the qualifications that a suitable agent must have as well as the nature of services that you should expect from them. This will help you to get the most from estate agents and it certainly helped sell my house fast!


Estate Agent Qualifications

Although estate agents need to have professional qualifications, not all the estate agents have them. This is because their exams are not mandatory like those of chartered surveyors. As such, it is possible to work as an estate agent with minimal or no training.

The professional qualifications that are available for estate agents include levels 2 and 3 of NVQ, in sale of residential property.

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) also provides technical awards at level 3 in Residential Letting and Property Management as well as the sale of residential property. These qualifications comprise of a section of an apprenticeship program that is usually run by an agency.

Estate Agent Services

Estate agents are not independent of the market and they exist to make profit. Consequently, they benefit directly from a quick turnover of properties. As such, potential customers can consider the services offered by these agents. Some of the services that estate agents offer include the following:

  • Establish the asking price of your property – When the estate agent has surveyed your property, they will begin by offering a suggested asking price. This is usually based on the price that the agent considers appropriate for the property.

In cases where the agent has done a research on the area as well as other comparable properties then the suggested asking price will be based on actual prices of properties that are similar to yours. Even then, there is a risk of the suggested asking price being higher than realistic as the estate agents strive to win business.

Thus, you may want to consider getting a second opinion on the worth of your property from a second source. This should be based on recent prices of sold property within the area. This way, you can determine the range of potential sale prices for your property that you can then compare with the advice from the estate agent. Besides, you can also shop around for a second and third valuation to ensure that you have realistic expectations.

Most importantly, you must keep in mind that the valuations that are done by estate agents is will usually differ from the valuation that is done by Chartered Surveyors. The estate agent valuation will focus on the potential worth of your property on the market hence it is unlikely that lending institutions will accept it as valid if you are applying for a mortgage. Generally, building societies and banks demand a valuation that is done by chartered surveyors, as it is comprehensive compared to that of the estate agent.

  • Marketing and Publicity – When you engage an estate agent to sell your property, they will be responsible for marketing the property with the aim of finding a buyer. This will entail taking photographs of the property and coming up with publicity materials.

They will also have to advertise it in their window, vial mail outs, through the For Sale boards, property portals and even newspapers. Even then, it is important to discuss this with the agent on the outset so that you are aware of what to expect.

This is because some agents may not advertise through all the channels listed above after all. Alternatives, others may ask for an additional fee to advertise your property through other channels.

  • Managing viewings – Estate agents will organize appointments for prospective buyers as well as show people around the home. This is usually disruptive with most prospective buyers preferring to view the property in the evenings and during weekends. In the case of daytime viewings, you may need to hand over the keys to the agency. Even then, you must be security conscious.
  • Brokering the deal – This is perhaps the most common of all the estate agent services. They play the role of a broker effectively negotiating the sale on your behalf whenever an offer is made.

Estate agent Fees

Are you then wondering how must you need to pay the estate agents for all these services? Well, estate agents earn a commission whenever they sell property. Generally, they are paid between 0.75% and 3% of the selling price. Even then, you need to ask them the services that are included on their fees so that you do not end up incurring additional expenses.

My husband runs a small business selling Bushboard Omega and Odyssey laminate kitchen worktops and estate agents often ask whether they can get free advertising from him in exchange for lower sale prices for his own property sales, or a commission if he brings anyone across to them. So it’s always worth an ask if you have something to barter with!

This should be spelt out clearly in the contract alongside the roles of the estate agent. Remember, some agents charge an additional fee for services like conducting viewings thereby increasing the cost significantly.

Estate agents are indeed a useful link in the property market. However, it is important that you ensure the terms of engagement are clear so that you do not end up paying more that you are actually supposed to pay.

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