Should You Employ an Estate Agent?

Should You Employ an Estate Agent?

12:58 PM, 12th March 2014, About 10 years ago 11

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Should You Employ an Estate Agent?

When you’re selling your property, you naturally want to get the most you possibly can for it. Paying expensive estate agents fees can sometimes seem like a waste. It can be tempting to go it alone but the benefits that an estate agent offers could very well make up for the fee they charge.

You have to look at your personal circumstances and be realistic about what you can and can’t achieve before you make your decision – we have the perfect pros and cons list to help you work out if you’re ready for the task of selling your home without assistance: Should You Employ an Estate Agent?

In favour of an estate agent

Experience – There are so many things that an estate agent will be aware of that you may not. There’s a lot more to it than putting up the iconic ‘For Sale’ sign. They will advise you on things like the repairs or redecoration necessary to secure a sale, help you fix an asking price and give you advice on what you should include, such as furniture as well as pre-empting a whole host of seldom-considered questions.

Contacts –  As well as the potential purchasers registered with their agency, agents will have a list of publications and websites just made for publicising your sale and because they advertise in bulk, they’ll get much cheaper advertising space than you will.

Time – The real advantage an estate agent has over most of us is time. While we are sat at our desk at work, they are ready to answer any enquiries and book in and conduct viewings so if you have a demanding job, you might want to consider handing the reins over to them.

Against an estate agent

Commission –  Estate agents normally charge a commission of between 1% and 3% of the selling price and that adds up to quite a figure. If you do go ahead, make sure you read the contract carefully before you employ them so you avoid popular pitfalls like giving your agent ‘sole selling rights’, which allows them to charge commission even if you find a buyer on your own.

They won’t be totally focused on your home – With plenty of other clients to think about, your home may soon slip to the bottom of your estate agent’s pile if doesn’t attract a lot of interest.

In favour of going it alone

Cheaper – You’ll save a substantial amount on commission if you sell your home on your own. If you can dedicate a substantial amount of time and energy to selling your property and are willing to read up and make yourself an authority on selling houses, then why not make a saving.

More control – If you do sell your home independently you have complete control over how your home is portrayed and to whom. You’ll be in a great position to take calls and do viewings as you know your home inside out and your sales pitch will be authentic, which can make all the difference when you’re trying to make a sale.

Against going it alone

It’s a massive undertaking – people do this as a full-time job so if you don’t have the time and inclination to sell your home independently, you should probably be employing an estate agent to do it for you.

So I pose these questions:

What are your thoughts on hiring an estate agent? And how do you work – together or alone?

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Michael Pollard

13:18 PM, 12th March 2014, About 10 years ago

95% of purchasers find their property online, so if you go it alone you massively restrict the market that might be looking for your property. And there's a lot of evidence that buyers don't like looking round a property with the owner. So IMHO I'd always go with an agent, but one who is honest, and an expert

13:21 PM, 12th March 2014, About 10 years ago

We used an estate agent to sell one of our properties. He used to be with a chain, went it alone, gave that up to do something else for a while and came back into estate agency. We put the house on the market late last year and didn't expect anything to happen in the run up to Christmas, which it didn't. But just after New Year, literally, an offer came in just a smidgen under our asking price which we accepted. His charge was 1% which was lower than anybody else and the sale went through smoothly. I would use him again as he and his staff were efficient, friendly and professional. The solicitor used was equally so. We received the monies the same day as completion and is now sitting in our bank account offsetting the mortgage on our abode. At this sort of level I would use an estate agent but if the charge had been any higher than say 1.5% then they would not be on our list. Not sure if we would have got the buyers that we did of we had been advertising privately.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

13:54 PM, 12th March 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Michael Pollard" at "12/03/2014 - 13:18":

Interesting perspective, I see it a bit differently, expect for a property in Florida where the agent insisted we were out!

Whenever I have sold my home the estate agent has expected me to do the viewings.

I was looking at online Estate Agents the other day and there are some great deals out there, without mentioning any names, the one that caught my eye charged £99 for advertising on Rightmove and Zoople, they arrange the viewing, contracts etc. and I would pay a further £500 on completion.

For the average homeowner that's a MASSIVE saving and no real difference apart from no High Street agency presence, which as you say is considered by most people as being very old fashioned these days.

Glenn Ackroyd

21:53 PM, 12th March 2014, About 10 years ago

Industry surveys point out that your more than TWICE as likely to get an offer with an estate agency accompanied viewing. If you are paying for an estate agent, you should make sure that they do the viewings.

Agents can also help (if they are good...) by;
- Providing quality photos (62% of people choose to view based on photos)
- 2D and 3D plans
- Quality marketing descriptions


13:51 PM, 13th March 2014, About 10 years ago

I've sold my last three properties privately, obtained the full asking price each time and avoided chains completely......

Where do people get this idea only agents can advertise on the property portals???

There are agents that will happily advertise for you - just search the web - and the last one charged me just £40. I saved more than £6k on my own private house sale.

I was being completely messed about by the third successive lazy, ineffective agents so I decided out of frustration to go the private sale route. I had my property up for sale and had nothing but professional time wasters viewing. The agents made no effort to vet these people and kept ringing at the very last minute while we were in the bath or having dinner attempting to arrange immediate viewings. Half the people never even bothered to show and those that did, were shown around by "twits" of agents who clearly didn't really want to be there. They made no effort to "SELL" the property and when I challenged them they stupidly told me they felt it was better to let the customer make their own mind up - WHAT ????? Well, that was like a red rag to a bull. What exactly did they expect to do for their fee I asked? They came up with the old twaddle they had all these wonderful buyers just queuing up, spent fortunes on high profile ads etc., etc., waffle, waffle waffle.....

That was it, I decided to go private and told the current agent that I had my own ad running (you are perfectly entitled to do so and don't let any agent tell you otherwise) and would make a private sale if they didn't get their finger out. I ran my ad on all the same "professional" sites as they use via a competitor agency who simply advertised under their name then passed all responses immediately through to me. I wrote up a specific list of questions such as "Have you already sold your existing property", "where are you currently living - rented or private", "how well do you know this area?", questions about children & local schools, plus whether their finances are in place for the additional mortgage etc. If they were not willing to answer any questions I simply dumped them as I am a busy man and hate having my time wasted. Surprisingly, most people found this approach quite refreshing as most had been viewing totally unsuitable properties through agents who simply believed the more people they got through the door, the more likely a sale.... Doh...

Within one week of my own ad appearing and after having seen just three people, a second viewing and an offer below the full asking price was received. I could have accepted it as I had no agent fee to pay, so would still have been quids in but I stood my ground and tried the good old Estate Agent lie that there was another interested party making a higher offer. They came straight back with an offer of the full asking price, had no property to sell and guess what?????, they were registered with the self same estate agent that had the house on their books for more than two months but had never returned their calls!!! talk about not seeing the wood for the trees eh? Hahahahahahahahaha. The sale went through like a dream because I was able to control everything. I drew up the terms of agreement of sale and took a deposit too to make sure they were serious. It is a complete piece of cake and anyone can do it just as long as you have a clear sales plan and ask all the right questions to avoid timewasters - something experience teaches me the agents singularly fail to do. The value added bonuses which the buyers and I agreed on were that the buyers had no pressure from agents to use their legal, mortgage or removal services and being able to talk direct with the seller saves a massive amount of time and trouble, so we were all very happy bunnies and completed without a hitch.

No - I won't be using agents again unless I've already tried privately and failed or become totally desperate, because the truth is we only use agents because we have become lazy. I suggest anyone who doesn't believe me go to the library and look at newspaper ads from the 1960's when agents only used to sell agricultural land & uber high value estates. There are some wonderful ads offering a porsche for sale with a free semi-detatched house - lol.

The moral - "if you want something doing properly, do it yourself"

Of course, if you sell hundreds of properties a year, dotted all over the country you have no choice but to use agents but if it is a local sale try selling yourself. In my opinion, if you put sufficient forethought into the marketing you can't fail in such a sellers market as we have right now. But of course the estate agents will all disagree with me - but then they would, wouldn't they?


Jeremy Smith

0:30 AM, 14th March 2014, About 10 years ago

I have just had a REALLY bad experience with an estate agent in CAMBRIDGE.

He/They will know who they are if they read this......

They advertised the property on thursday and friday, 6th /7th March, and advertised saturday open house, but you needed to ring them for the time, they didn't put it in the advert. They were closed sat. afternoon.

When I spotted it, I rang them monday morning, they promptly told me, since I hadn't seen it inside, I wasn't allowed to offer on the property (- it is a full reno/decoration case.)
They refused to allow me to view it, saying they had several offers already.
They refused point blank to take an offer, even arguing with me over the matter.
I could see it needed 'the full works'.

This is terrible service for the seller, 2 days advertising and one visit by the agent.
Then refusing to take any more offers nor do any more viewings.
The sellers had lost a relative.
Sellers who almost never sell a property need to be guided by the estate agent to get the best price for their property.

I found out who they were acting for, went to visit the sellers at home, and they contacted the agent who told them to let me view it.
I viewed it and later made an offer, we tested them again for a viewing one hour after I had viewed it, before any offers, and they again point blank refused to let my friend view it !!

FYI: In my opinion, they had put the house on the market for around £20-30k less than it's real price, taking into account other houses currently getting offers in the area.
- Why would they do that ?? !!

...Draw your own conclusions as to why this all happened .

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

7:03 AM, 14th March 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jeremy Smith" at "14/03/2014 - 00:30":

Hi Jerry

Thank you for not naming and shaming and respecting our policy on this. However, please feel free to do so via this website >>>

I would also be very grateful if you would email the name of the agent to me privately to

Jeremy Smith

10:43 AM, 14th March 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "14/03/2014 - 07:03":

Thank you Mark for your suggestion,
I will write a review once we have the property "in-the-bag" so to speak.

I have not seen them on this forum to date, but they are very welcome to come and defend their position if they wish.

Jeremy Smith

12:44 PM, 17th March 2014, About 10 years ago

I seem to be having some problems with threads updating.
Just posting this to see if it appears.
tried using ie7 and chrome.
I press "forum" button and get threads only updated to 14th.

This thread says Mark is last poster,post number 7, but I know I was and my post is there to see, number 8 !

...Yes, this post appears, but front page still says Mark is last poster, is anyone else having problems? - I guess I won't be able to read anyone's reply anyway !!

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

18:41 PM, 17th March 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jeremy Smith" at "17/03/2014 - 12:44":

Hi Jeremy

I'm using Google Chrome and it looks fine for me, yours is the latest comment showing on the forum page.

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