The estate agent works for the seller – but if you get them on your side, it can get you to the front of the queue when viewing houses. But if you are in their bad books, you can fail to get a deal.
1. Start with a face-to-face visit to the Estate Agent's office.
This is important because you will then be a person looking for a home rather than a faceless name with requirements. You should see all the local estate agents in the area you are interested in.
2. Demonstrate that you are serious from the start
- Lots of people mess estate agents around. Show them you aren't a time waster. Ensure you get a mortgage in principle before you start house hunting. This means they know that you will be able to act quickly, and will put you right at the front of the estate agent’s mind when new properties come in.
3. Swap contact details
- Get the individual agent’s name, mobile phone number and email. This will not only ensure you always have a point of contact, but will also allow you to develop a relationship with them. It is easier to deal with an individual if possible, rather than a whole office.
- Give them your all your contact details.
- Give them a rough estimate of what you are looking to spend.
4. Ask them for advice
- Rather than telling them exactly what you want, ask for their advice.
- Estate agents have extensive local knowledge and usually enjoy sharing it.
5. Give them your requirements
- In the first meeting tell them what type of properties you are looking for, and which exact area(s) you would most like to live in.
- Make clear which requirements you will not change, and which you are happy to be flexible about.
6. Give specific feedback
- After each viewing tell the agent what you did and did not like about the house. This will allow the agent to build up a better picture of what it is you’re looking for.
7. Don’t waste their time
- Looking at properties outside of your budget will just annoy the estate agent, and will also make you dissatisfied with your final choice.
8. Keep in regular touch
- If they do not call you, call them every few days to tell them that you are still on the hunt, and ask if they have any news of new properties coming on the market. If they don’t hear from you, they will assume you are no longer looking.
- Equally, always respond to their emails and telephone calls even if it is just to explain why you are not interested in a property.
- Even after you have put in an offer make sure you keep in touch to gain access to the property for surveying, mortgage valuations and so on.
9. Free up time to view properties
- Good houses are sold quickly, so make sure you are available to look at them. If you are never available, the agent won’t think you are serious.
- Do not miss a viewing. It is rude and is likely to turn the agent against you.
10. Be nice
- The vast majority of estate agents are decent people who work hard in a very competitive market.
- So be nice to them. If you charm them, they might well respond favourably.
11. And if this is all too much…
…you can always use a buyers' agent, who will do this work on your behalf!