Could skipping the estate agent be a useful move?

estate agent

When moving to a new house, the first professional that most people choose to engage is an estate agent. These professionals have the sole aim of furthering your interests (as a seller), and they can do this in a number of ways, including showing potential viewers around while you’re out of the house. They certainly have their uses in some contexts. 

However, estate agents aren’t always everything they’re cracked up to be. It can save you significant cash not to use one, and it could also mean that you get a more accurate perspective on things such as your home’s true value. There may be other companies which aren’t estate agencies which could help you – so it’s definitely worth thinking carefully about what your goals are, and who can best help you meet them.

The pros of estate agents

Before delving into whether or not it’s a wise move to engage the services of an estate agent, it’s best to first think about what they could offer you. Often, their main advantage is that they can save you time. Think of all the elements in the process of selling and marketing a property: from taking photographs to uploading them online and circulating them along with a description, they can earn their fee if you’re short on time. You may also be glad to have one when it comes to the viewings, as they can show your buyers around any time of the day while you’re out at work. 

That’s before you’ve even got an offer. Once you have accepted an offer, estate agents really come into their own. Many estate agencies have a position like a “Sales Progressor”, and it’s the job of this person to be sure that the process goes smoothly and that everyone in your chain is on board with progress. So, before you dismiss estate agents out of hand, it’s important to be sure that you aren’t going to lose out materially by not hiring one. If time is abundant in your life, you may well be able to rely on a self-service estate agency which lets you submit your details and then manage the rest of the process. However, if time is a scarce commodity, outsourcing the work to an estate agent could be in your best interests.

What are the downsides?

Put simply, the main downside of hiring an estate agent is the cost. They can take a significant cut of any sale revenues, and this is not to be ignored. In some cases, it can be several percentage points, which can really eat into your profits and reduce the amount that you have available to spend on your next property.

What about the less obvious ways? Estate agents have a negative reputation among many people – and to be fair, this is not always deserved. They do often work in the seller’s interest, although it’s hard to guarantee that this is the case. It’s not unheard of for estate agents to hold up some of the processes involved in selling your home, perhaps out of disorganisation or maybe out of their own strategic self-interest – or a simple desire to demonstrate that they are working hard. If you do decide to engage the services of an estate agent, it’s often worth thinking carefully about this and being sure that you are getting value for money. 

Could other companies help?

When you’re selling your home, it’s necessary to think carefully about how best to spend your money. Budgeting is the name of the game with any house purchase, and it’s worth looking around the market to see who can best help you get your property sold for a decent price. An estate agent is not always the right answer here. 

Take the valuation process: a house valuation from an estate agent could be biased in the interests of the agent, even though they’re supposed to work in your favour. They might choose to overvalue the property in order to inflate their commission, for example, which could lead to big delays in sale. Alternatively, they may undervalue it in order to accelerate a sale and get the cash into their account more quickly, leaving you out of pocket. An independent surveyor might be a better use of the cash you would otherwise spend on an agent. 

Speed is not always the name of the game for an estate agent. If you’re looking for a quick sale, it’s often better to go for a cash buying firm who can snap up your property and get the sale turned around in as little as seven days. Even if you express your desire for a quick or even relatively quick sale process to your estate agent, there’s no guarantee that they will adhere to this – and you could find yourself stuck for a long time.

In summary, estate agents often get a bad rep – and in fairness, it’s only partly deserved. Many agents work hard and deliver for their clients, although it’s not always the case that agents will be right for you. In fact, some agents are less than scrupulous, and may not advise you to do things in your best interests. Even if you have access to a good agent, they might not be able to achieve your strategic goals for you. They might run the risk of overvaluing your property, for example, while the funds you spend on them may well be better suited on some other service such as that of a cash buyer. Before engaging the services of an estate agent, it’s well worth scoping out the other services on offer and working out what best meets your needs. 

Are you on the hunt for a buyer who won’t mess you around and who can complete on your timescales? National Property Trade may well be able to help – click here to learn more.