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Estate agents - What do they actually do?  

Estate agents can sometimes get a bad press especially concerning how much they charge and what they do.
The estate agent takes their instruction from the seller of the property and it is the seller who pays all the estate agents fees. The buyer pays nothing.

Estate agents fees vary but usually they will charge somewhere between 1.5% and 2.5% of the selling price. So for example on a £300,000 property, at say 1.75%, that will cost £5250. If you want to use 2 estate agents they will charge a bit more then split the comission. Usually 3%. Estate agents who charge less might want you to pay additionally for and advertising costs.

There are also a number of online estate agents who will sell your property and charge alot less. Some will even do a fixed priced fee. But be vary as you probaaly won't get the expert local knowledge and support that an established local agent can provide.

Usually you will sign an agreement with and estate agent for them to market your property soley, for an agreed period of time, usually on a "no sale no fee basis".

So what do they do?

Firstly the will value the property. Local Estate agents have expert knowledge of what properties are worth at any given time and you should be guided by them. They are quite competitive with other agents so may tend to flatter a tiny bit with the valuation to get your business. So it doesn't always work to accept the highest valuation if you've had several estate agents around. Especially if they charge higher commision.

Usually they will very quickly come and take professional quality photos. Usually the outside and several room shots.

The estate agent will get together a leaflet with all the details to give to proepective buyers. They will display your property in the shop window and post it on their website

As interest arises they will accompany proective buyers to view your property.
This is very helpful if you work alot and there are lots of viewings.

They will then act as an intermediary between the buyer and selling discussing offers and counter offers trying to get the best price for you the seller. They are very exerienced at handling any issuees that arrive during this phase and should guide you smoothly through. Finally they will liaise with both parties solicitors and hand over the keys to they new owner when they get the go ahead that completion has occurred.