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Estate Agents

The Estate Agents role in the house buying process, is a fairly complex one and we offer here some top tips for dealing with them as a home buyer.

For most people searching for a property to purchase, the Internet is the first port of call. Why trudge round the high street in the rain when the Internet is so much more convenient and open 24/7.

The same can be said of mortgages, why visit several lenders to find out what’s on offer when we can connect you to the whole marketplace in an instant.

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When you make an offer for a property the estate agent must pass it to the seller promptly and in writing. The only exception to this is if the seller has specified, in writing that some offers are not acceptable, such as below a certain amount.

The estate agent does not however have to give the buyer details of other offers that have been received by the vendor.

Remember it is not always the highest offer that wins. The seller may, for example, decide to sell to the person who can proceed most quickly. Cash buyers or people with a mortgage already agreed are always in a strong position. Mortgage brokers or lenders can give you an "agreement in principle" (AIP) This shows a seller that you should be able to move quickly.

Estate agents must treat all buyers fairly. They must not hold back offers from people who do not want to use their services. For example, you should not be treated differently because you do not arrange a mortgage through the estate agent.

The unscrupulous estate agent will imply that the sale will proceed quicker and easier if you use their mortgage adviser. They will also try and steer you towards using the solicitor they recommend for the same reason. However the money that can be earned from the sale of mortgage products, life cover etc can be more than the commission on the house sale.

A lot of Estate Agents mortgage advisers are not truly independent as they only recommend lenders from their approved list, not the "whole market". They might also only recommend life assurance etc from one Insurance Company.

If your offer is accepted, the agent should send you a letter confirming the details, but this is not a legally binding contract. Other offers can still be received and accepted in preference to yours and both you and the seller can renegotiate the price and or conditions of sale right up to the point when contracts are exchanged. (The process is different in Scotland).

The haggling over fixtures and fittings can sometimes get a little heated and sales have been lost over a £10 curtain rail. Therefore it is often better to negotiate through the estate agent not direct with the vendor.

A big cause of re-negotiation is very often when the property gets valued. (See Valuation Section)

If you feel that you have been treated unfairly in any way by the estate agent contact the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) at naea.co.uk; the Ombudsman for agents at oea.co.uk; or the Office of Fair trading at oft.gov.uk.

Who Are The Best Estate Agents?

If you are looking to sell your house and buy another one you will sadly need to engage the services of an estate agent yourself. So who are the best?

Well it depends in which area of the country you are in of course and often finding a really good local estate agent who concentrates solely on your area can be a good idea. Though often people feel they should go with a really big firm that perhaps has greater coverage.

Dixons Estate Agents

Dixons estate agents are one of the largest agents in the Midlands, and have about 34 branches and are part of the Countrywide Estate Agents group. 

Connells Estate Agents

Connells opened its first branch in Luton in 1936. It now has over 150 branches throughout the Home Counties, South, West Country, Midlands and East Anglia.

Romans Estate Agents

With there head office based in Wokingham in Berkshire, Romans have 17 branches from Aldershot to Woodley and were voted best estate agent of the year for 2011.

Countrywide Estate Agents Group

The Countrywide Estate Agency Group is a UK estate agency group with around 1200 branches and is part of Countrywide plc, formerly Hambro Countrywide plc.

Countrywide Estate Agents owns some of the best known estate agency brands in the UK. Such as Bairstow Eves, Mann & Co., Taylors, Dixons, Bridgfords, Beresford Adams, Abbotts, Palmer Snell, Fulfords, Carsons, Gascoigne Pees, Entwistle Green, Stratton Creber, Sykes Waterhouse, Stimpsons, Frank Innes, Alder King and London specialists, John D Wood and Faron Sutaria. 

Independent Mortgage Advise

If you are buying through an estate agent it is always best to get independent mortgage advice as the mortgage adviser who works for the estate agent is obliged to have the sellers interest foremost in their minds not yours. For free mortgage quotes fill out our quick quote request.

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