Hiring a Real Estate Agent – How to Get More Bang for Your Buck
What is an estate agent?
An Estate agent works independently or with an agency. They specialise in the sales and letting of a property. These may be residential or commercial properties and land. They negotiate on behalf of their clients.
They study the property – its size, location, condition, etc., then compare it with the commensurate properties in the area and value it. Then they pitch them to a prospective tenant or buyer to get the best price for the client.
How to search them
Inquire with your friends, family and acquaintances to get a personal recommendation. Or expand your search by consulting the yellow pages offline and online. A real estate agent should have a license and register with the local authorities as they deal in a costly commodity, i.e., someone’s property.
They should have the prescribed education and training (covering sales, customer service and public relations) besides a good knowledge of local property market. The education qualifies them to conduct a full survey and valuation of properties. They should also have a good network to know which properties are on the market to show you the best options.
What do estate agents do?
They facilitate the complete process from the time the property goes on the market till it is sold or rented. They are involved in every step of the way as they liaison with clients to market the properties. They try to maximise the sale or rent for the landlord while getting the best for the tenant.
They visit the landlords and value their properties. Then draw up a list of commensurate properties as a part of their database. They handle the enquiries from potential clients and promote sales by producing brochures, reports, etc. They arrange the appointments for viewing these properties and share the feedback.
These feedbacks are used to negotiate the price or rent of the property. They usually have an in-house lawyer who manages the sale, mortgage or lease license for the said property. Besides handling the disposal and acquisition of properties and concerned documentation the estate agent may also handle auction sales.
To get the most out of your estate agent
Study your requirement and pen it down. Find yourself an estate agent and tell if you want to buy, sell or rent property. If you want to sell or rent out – invite the estate agent to value your property. Consider the suggestions they make to enhance the sale or letting. Inform them of the kind of people you would like to sell or let out to – such as companies or individuals. State your expectation and their commission.
If you are looking to buy a property or a tenancy, share the requirements list and your price range or budget. Go over their database, discuss the pros and cons of these properties. Then shortlist them to view them with the agent. Consider their opinion but make your own observations and decisions.
Last but not the least, after you have sold or selected the property to rent discuss the legal details and payment procedure. If you have rented, then the landlords accept monthly direct debits or cheques against a deposit and leave license. In both the cases, the agent earns a commission from both the parties.