Why use an Estate Agent ?

PUBLISHED: 10:45 12 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:51 20 February 2013

There isn't an estate agent in the country that hasn't been told by a member of the public at least once that homeowners have no need of his or her profession. It might be very temping thought, but the reality might just be very different indeed

There isnt an estate agent in the country that hasnt been told by a member of the public at least once that home-owners have no need of his or her profession.It might be very temping thought, but the reality might just be very different indeed.

Mark Rimell of property specialist Strutt & Parker says, 'What you are paying for when you employ an estate agent is firstly that firms expertise and experience in assessing the right guide price at which to pitch your home, and then controlling the sale from start to finish. Secondly, you are paying for the access to the market through their database and marketing abilities something that we have been building up over many years.'

Estate agents start earning their keep right at the beginning of the sale process.A home owner might ask three or four agents for appraisals of the propertys value, and although the temptation may be to opt for the highest this isnt always the best route to take.If you offer the house for sale at too high a price then the property might stick on the market for months and then be tarnished with the 'there must be something wrong with it' brush.

The biggest factor in achieving a good sale is to pitch the asking price at the right level; in a strong market the seller might well see offers above that price, but the starting point has to be in the right place. The best person to do that is a knowledgeable agent who knows the area.

One of the most important and one of the most often overlooked reasons to use an agent is the estate agents database.As Rimell says, 'Your agent will invariably have marketed homes like yours in the past and of course each home will only have been bought by one person.So if 25 people viewed a property then there are still 24 out there who are looking for a house or apartment of that style in that price range.Thats a very valuable pool of potential purchasers.'

Its almost stating the obvious, but different estate agents cover not just different geographical areas but also different sectors of the market. When someone is looking for a home in the middle and upper parts of the market they know that an agent such as Strutt & Parker is most likely to have the kind of property they are looking for.

Once a sale is agreed, Rimell adds, a good estate agent will play a very important part in managing the sales process. It can be a difficult and emotional experience for both buyer and seller researchers always say that its second only to divorce in terms of stress and no matter what problems occur you can be sure that an experienced agent will have come across them before and will know the best course of action.

Its also true to say that there is no substitute for using a trained negotiator when you are reaching that final price. There is an art to negotiating, and agents know the value of patience and not losing sight of the objective. It is always, always in your agents interest to get the very best price for your home.

A lot of sales arent straightforward unfortunately, but thats where good estate agents really earn their fees. We act as the middle man between buyer and seller, and we have the expertise and the experience to do so. If a vendors temper starts to fray then we act as a buffer and make sure that isnt communicated to the purchaser. You would be surprised how many sales nearly fall through over the negotiations over the koi carp in the pond or the washing machine.

Its also important to remember that most estate agents do operate under strict legal controls, and are answerable to professional bodies. If we get it wrong we pay a price.

I know that some vendors are tempted to act as their own estate agent, but believe me, more often than not it ends in tears. Very few people try it a second time!

Strutt & Parker

4 St Peters Street, St Albans AL1 3NA. 01727 840285

49 High Street, Harpenden AL5 2SJ.01582 764343

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