When it comes to buying or selling a home most of us automatically turn to an estate agent, right?
After all, property negotiations can be a confusing and complex business.
However, some people choose to go it along and transact without employing an estate agent.
There are pros and cons to using an estate agent which I’ll explore here to help you make an informed decision.
Pros of using an estate agent when buying and selling property
Professional knowledge and expertise
One of the most significant advantages of using an estate agent is their professional knowledge and expertise.
Estate agents are trained and experienced in the real estate market and can provide valuable advice and guidance throughout the buying or selling process.
They can also offer market insights and data to help you make informed decisions.
Remember they talk to buyers and sellers all day long, and keep constant tabs on the property market.
Marketing and advertising
Estate agents have access to various marketing and advertising tools, including online listings, social media, and print media.
In fact, in certain places they’ve effectively pressured online property portals into refusing to accept advertising from individuals or services that bypass estate agents.
For this reason, estate agents have a distinct advantage in helping you to market your property effectively, reach a wider audience, and increase your chances of finding the right buyer or property.
A good estate agent knows how to create an effective advertising campaign that reaches the right target market.
They’ll also have a list of buyers/sellers who are actively looking to transact in the property market.
Estate agents are skilled negotiators and can help you to secure a good deal when buying or selling a property.
They can negotiate on your behalf to get the best possible price or terms for you.
With their knowledge and experience, they can also help to resolve any issues that may arise during the process of buying or selling a property.
It’s important to keep in mind that estate agents have their own interests to consider as well, so always be sure that the route the negotiations are taking fits with your requirements.
If you sell your home yourself you’ll have to deal with the negotiations as well which some people are not confident in doing, especially when emotions are involved.
An estate agent will act in a dispassionate way and should mean cooler heads prevail.
Buying or selling a property can be a time-consuming process, and using an estate agent can free you up to do other things.
Estate agents can handle many of the administrative and legal aspects of the process.
They can also take care of arranging viewings and communicating with potential buyers or sellers, which can be a time-consuming process.
If you’re selling, they’ll give you feedback after each viewing which will help you form a strategy if you’re struggling to sell your home.
Access to a network of professionals
Estate agents often have access to a network of other professionals, such as solicitors, surveyors, and mortgage brokers.
They can provide you with a list of recommended professionals, which can be helpful if you’re unsure where to start or if you’re new to the property market.
This can save you time and effort, and ensure that you’re working with reputable professionals.
It’s still important to do your own research into any companies you’re planning to use, including reading online reviews, but it could save you a lot of time.
Cons of using an estate agent when buying and selling property
While many people choose to work with an estate agent when buying or selling a property, there are some potential drawbacks to consider.
Here, I’ll explain why using an estate agent may not be the right choice for everyone.
High fees and costs
One of the biggest cons of using an estate agent is the high fees and costs that can be involved.
Estate agents typically charge a commission based on the final sale price of the property, which can add up to a significant amount.
This can be a major consideration for those on a tight budget or who are trying to keep costs low.
There have also been a number of high profile cases where rival estate agents have colluded on fees to effectively rule out any negotiation.
I’ve never encountered this personally, and from my experience estate agents are always willing to negotiate on their fee, especially if they know you’re talking to other agents and your home is in good condition and in a popular area.
Limited control and involvement
Another potential drawback of using an estate agent is that it can limit your control and involvement in the buying or selling process.
You may have less direct contact with potential buyers or sellers and may not have as much say in how the process is handled.
This can be frustrating for those who want to be more hands-on and involved in the process.
Additionally, you may feel pressured by an estate agent to accept a lower price for your home than you would have done otherwise.
Potential conflicts of interest
Estate agents have a duty to act in the best interests of their clients, but there is still the potential for conflicts of interest to arise.
For example, an estate agent may be more interested in securing a quick sale or commission than in getting the best possible price for your property.
This can lead to disagreements or disputes down the line.
Lack of personalised service
Some estate agents may offer a less personalized service than others, which can be a turn-off for those who want more one-on-one attention.
Some agents may have a large client base, which can make it difficult to provide individualized attention or respond to all inquiries in a timely manner.
You might also find it difficult to coordinate with your estate agent when it comes to booking viewings which can become frustrating if it happens often.
While using an estate agent can offer many benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider.
On the one hand, they can offer professional knowledge and expertise, help with marketing and advertising, negotiate on your behalf, save you time, and provide access to a network of professionals.
However, high fees and costs, limited control and involvement, potential conflicts of interest, and a lack of personalised service are all factors that may make an estate agent a less desirable choice for some buyers or sellers.
It’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully and choose an approach that works best for your individual needs and preferences.
For most people, working with a trusted estate agent is the best route as it’ll help you navigate the complex process of buying or selling a property with confidence and ease.