The do’s and don’ts of property hunting with estate agents


Looking for property that suits one’s taste and needs can be daunting and that is why people often enlist the help of estate agents. Typically, an estate agent works with both buyers and sellers – very much like how a matchmaker works on a dating site, to match the perfect home and home owner.

Some arrangements result in happy new home owners while some end in frustrated almost-buyers and agents. Here are some tips to make property hunting worth the time and effort, for both you and your agent.

Do your homework and let your estate agent do theirs

With the power of the internet, it is now easy to search for listings and immediately see what is on offer in a potential purchase. Because estate agents are equipped with technical knowledge and experience in buying and selling houses, they can offer advice and insight when a selection of digital images and a wall of text aren’t enough. Listening to your agent when being given the technical details of the properties you are considering will save you a lot of trouble.

Don’t overwhelm your agent with list after list of properties you want to see. Doing so can damage your agent’s ability to find the right property for you; chances are your agent has already checked out the same properties you have and picked out the ones which best suit your requirements.

Ask questions but avoid mistaking your agent for a counsellor

An agent will start looking for a property once you’ve communicated what you want. Additional questions when viewing houses may be necessary and helpful, but try to limit it to questions regarding the property that fall within your agent’s expertise. An agent can suggest renovation ideas to match and echo your feedback. They can also suggest alternatives if a certain property has not met your expectations. However, they are not there as counsellors to answer inappropriate questions regarding lifestyle choices or career options. While house hunting, you may also want to do your own research to find out more about structural warranties, party wall insurance and any other requirements needed for any renovation works you may carry out on a property you have bought or will buy.

Trust your agent

Trust is the key in any relationship. By choosing an agent to help you find a new home, you’ve already placed a certain level of trust in them. You need only to be specific in what you are looking for in a property, and trust your agent to find properties that match these details. It is not uncommon for a property to have problems that will only appear at a certain time of the year, for instance, or for legal and technical problems to arise, so it will be unfair for you to lump these issues on your agent.

Agents have sellers’ information but they are not clairvoyants and will not have ways of knowing what is behind the property walls or underneath it. Good estate agents will focus on recommending properties with details matching your stated requirements as they do not want to waste their time and energy, and yours too. Remember that the agent is working on your behalf and will not be paid until a house is bought or sold.

(Photo by ColinBroug)

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