Buyers Guide to Estate Agents

Despite their bad reputation and many peoples aversion to using their services, estate agents remain the most common channel for buying or selling property in the UK; the exception is Scotland, where solicitors are more commonly used.

When you are looking to buy a property, the likelihood is that you will end up using an estate agent and so the aim of this guide is to offer some suggestions that will make the experience as pleasant, efficient, and successful as possible.

Compare Mortgages >>>

Why use an agent?

Using an estate agent to help find yourself a property is worth doing as they will essentially do the searching for you and will help to make sure you are immediately aware of, and therefore do not miss, anything on the market that might be suitable for your requirements.

It is a free service and so you should aim to register with as many different agents as you can to increase the range of properties that will be brought to your attention. This in turn will increase your chances of quickly finding the right property for you.

Ignoring the sales patter

Estate agents are essentially salesman and so you should expect a certain amount of exaggeration and bias towards the properties they are representing. It is worth reminding yourself once in a while that, although the property belongs to the seller, the agent is working for the seller and you should therefore take anything that they say with a pinch of salt; after all, they will benefit directly from any sales and it is heavily in their interest that you chose one of their properties.

The estate agent will of course be bound by law in terms of being deliberately misleading. However, with a little experience in putting a positive spin on things, an agent can get extremely competent when it comes to being economical with the truth. It pays to be cautious, for example, when reading about cosy living spaces if you do not want to waste your time and energy viewing a flat that is more cramped than cosy.

Be wary of the agent's offers of financial help

When using the service of certain estate agents they will ask you whether you require any assistance in finding a mortgage. The finance arms of an estate agent are likely to offer you the most competitive deal, but only from a very limited sample. It is therefore much more likely that you will get the best deal available from an independent mortgage broker who has access to all the deals on the market and then offer you the best one.

The agent's legal and surveyor recommendations

Most estate agents will also recommend solicitors and surveyors who will probably offer a cheaper service than one from the Yellow Pages as a result of all of the work that the estate agent sends their way.

As with any solicitor though, it is still in your interest, regarding comeback in case of an unforeseen problem, to check that they are members of the relevant Law Society. You should also check to ensure that any surveyor you work with belongs to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

You are by no means obliged to use the solicitor or surveyor that is recommended by your agent. Feel free to compare the quotes from the recommended legal workers and surveyors with the rates charged by other independent solicitors or surveyors to ensure that you are, in fact, getting the best deal available.

Get the agent on your side

Getting in early on a property can be just the advantage you need over other potential suitors. It is therefore in your interest to make sure that your estate agent takes you seriously and sees you as a reliable customer so that they instantly think of you if a new property matching your criteria comes onto their books.

To get your agent on side, or to ensure that they are taking you seriously, be sure to organise your finances in advance and let them know exactly where you stand, promptly arrange viewings when a potential property comes on the market, and always turn up on time for viewings.


  Read more mortgages guides >>>

Speak to an adviser

Our trained expert advisers have access to the UK’s leading lenders and using their knowledge and skills will place you with the most suitable leader and product for your needs.

01244 264 866

How can we help you?

So Smart Money are specialists when it comes to mortgage and insurance. We have access to the UK’s leading brokers and using their knowledge and skills they'll place you with the most suitable lender and product for your needs.

Speak to an expert for mortgage advice, life insurance cover, to protect your income, insurance your home or contents and private medical cover.

trust pilot

"Matthew at So Smart found me the best deal for my first Mortgage, he was extremely helpful! I would highly recommend this company!"

"I've been looking to switch mortgages recently to secure a better rate and the guys at So Smart Money helped me do just that."

"My mortgage enquiry was dealt with swiftly and professionally. I would highly recommend So Smart Money to others."

"I've used sosmartmoney a couple of times now, I checked my old mortgage with them and it encouraged me to get a better deal."


Winner of AI Finance awards 2015 for:
Best personal finance comparison site &
Best online price comparison platform

  • How do SoSmart Money make their money?
  • Which products can I compare with SoSmart Money?
  • Who are SoSmart Money?
  • Will I be contacted by other companies?

latest news View All News

Sign up to our newsletter