Buying through an estate agent (for properties in England and Wales only)

8 ways to get them on your side and keep them there

Most people buy through an estate agent which means they play a key role in helping you get your dream home. As a profession, they get a lot of bad press - but it's important to remember that they're people too. They've got great experience of the market, they understand the area and they know the properties you're interested in. To get the best out of them you need to know what to do and what to ask.

It's all about understanding your relationship

The key thing to remember is that they work for the seller and ultimately their job is to get the best price for that property. So if they spot the perfect buyer, they're likely to go that extra mile.

We show how you can become that dream buyer, whether you're responding to property ads, going on viewings or making an offer.

How to make the relationship work for you

  1. Meet them face to face

    First impressions do count. So rather than just phoning or emailing in your details, drop by the estate agent's office in person and chat about your requirements face to face. Then when a suitable property comes in, they're more likely to remember you and call you.

  2. Show you're serious from the start

    If you get a mortgage decision in principle before you start house hunting, estate agents know you can move quickly. It's also a good idea to be upfront and realistic about your budget so you don't waste anyone's time viewing properties outside your price range.

  3. Swap contact details

    You don't want to get lost in the system and it's quicker and easier to deal with an individual. So get your estate agent's name, mobile number and email and give them yours so you always have a direct point of contact.

  4. Tell them what you're looking for

    Be clear about what type of properties you're looking for, the area you're looking in and how flexible you're willing to be. As well as demonstrating you're easy to work with, you're more likely to find the home you're looking for.

  5. Ask lots of questions

    A good estate agent is a fount of knowledge, but they can't include every last detail in a property ad or description sheet. The more you ask, the more valuable information you'll have and these questions are a good place to start:

    • Why is the owner selling?
    • Is there a chain?
    • How long has it been on the market?
    • Have you had any offers?
    • What's included in the sale?
    • How much is the council tax?
    • What's the neighbourhood like?

  6. Be polite at all times

    It always pays to be pleasant and courteous - especially when you want an estate agent to deal with you as opposed to another potential buyer.

  7. Keep in regular contact

    Whether you want to arrange a viewing or negotiate on an offer, don't be passive - take control. If they don't call you, you call them. Be friendly, but persistent, as it could mean the difference between moving or losing your dream home.

  8. Keep records of conversations

    Note down who you spoke to, when and what was said. This will help avoid any misunderstandings or disputes further down the line.