How to register with an estate agent when buying a property

Last updated: April 2024 | 4 min read

Finding and purchasing your dream home, tailored to your needs, can pose a considerable challenge. On this road, an estate agent’s services prove invaluable. In this guide, learn how to register with an estate agent to make your home-buying journey smooth and fruitful.

The process of purchasing a home involves evaluating many factors such as knowing the costs of buying a house, understanding precisely what is a buying agent and his role in helping with the search, and contemplating which location would be most suitable to live in.

Steps to effectively register with estate agents

Start by meeting estate agents in person

Estate agents are more likely to want to help you find a property if they can remember you. Face-to-face encounters establish much more rapport than you might imagine, even if you only make small talk.

So, before you do too much house hunting, arrange meetings with several estate agents in the area you want to live in.

While you might spot tempting houses online, an in-person introduction allows the agent to understand your preferences. It's also a chance to gain local knowledge and insights that aren't immediately available on the web.

Show genuine interest and commitment

Estate agents meet a lot of potential buyers on a daily basis. They want to put their effort into people who are likely to buy quickly.

To stand out and get them to show you the best properties as soon as they're on the market, demonstrate you're serious about buying. How? Have a mortgage in principle and a clear vision of what your next home might look like.

If you've already sold your property or are a first-time buyer, share this. It positions you in a good spot in the agent's eyes.

You might gain mental clarity by looking at some of the tips and questions given in our article about how to find your dream home.

Provide clear property requirements and budget

Estate agents aim to match buyers with the properties in their inventory. So, help them to help you.

Specify what you're looking for – be it a family home with a garden or a chic city apartment.

Additionally, state your budget upfront. Avoid vague ranges. By clarifying these details, agents can tailor their search to homes fitting your criteria, making the process efficient for both.

Don't be embarrassed to be honest. You might feel that your budget is low, but agents see a lot of people with different budgets and lots of properties pass by them.

Keep in regular contact for suitable properties

Agents see a lot of properties come and go, and a lot of potential buyers. Keeping on the theme of making their job easier, make sure you call them up regularly to check whether anything new has come on the market. It may not have. But if they know who you are and how keen you are, you'll be the first person they call when it does.

If they will call you regularly, agree on how often you'd like updates – perhaps weekly phone calls or daily email alerts. This ensures you're in the loop.

Be open and responsive

Speed is of the essence, even when the housing market is depressed.

If an agent contacts you about a property, respond promptly. Whether you're interested or not, timely feedback aids them in refining their search (which is something they're doing for you) and an active dialogue fosters trust.

Be flexible for property viewings

Some houses receive a surge of interest, prompting agents to organise viewings swiftly.

To get a fair chance at viewing such properties, show flexibility.

If an agent suggests a viewing time, try to accommodate it.

Being adaptable increases your chances of securing a good deal.

Share insightful feedback after viewings

Post-viewing, share your thoughts with the agent. Was the asking price reasonable? Did the property meet your expectations? Or were there deal-breakers? Your feedback offers two-way information exchange, helping agents refine their search for you, and helping the agent sell the property to someone else.

Again, you can be honest. An agent won't expect you to love everything about the first property they show you. Be positive about what was good, but tell them the deal breakers.

Moreover, it sends a message – you're actively invested in finding your new home.

The estate agent's perspective

Why estate agents appreciate committed buyers

Estate agents value their time. Time spent on non-serious buyers is time lost.

A buyer demonstrating commitment often lands higher on an agent's priority list. When agents spot potential buyers who show genuine interest and preparedness, they're more inclined to offer them the best houses available.

Committed buyers are more likely to close deals swiftly, resulting in a successful sale for both the seller and the agent.

Making the estate agent's life smoother

Helping an estate agent work efficiently goes a long way. It means fewer obstacles and more focus on sealing the deal.

Offer up-to-date contact details, be punctual for viewings, and communicate clearly.

Every small gesture towards the agent's convenience can translate to them putting you first when the ideal house hits the market.

The 'hot buyers' list

Estate agents often maintain a list of 'hot buyers' – individuals ready and eager to purchase property.

Hot buyers have their finances sorted and aren't tangled in long chains.

Gaining access to this list can significantly increase chances of viewing and securing dream properties before they even reach the open market.

Conducting research, getting mortgage advice, and ensuring you have the necessary finances in place can get you onto the list.

Expertise and insights from estate agents

Key benefits of a strong agent-buyer relationship

Part of the job of local estate agents is to foster relationships - for now and for when you're ready to move again. When you forge a bond with an agent, a world of opportunities arises:

  1. Insider information: Agents frequently come across properties not yet advertised. A strong relationship might mean that you hear about a potential opportunity to buy a property that hasn't yet gone on the market.

  2. Negotiation leverage: Good rapport means the agent works diligently on your behalf, potentially securing properties at a more favourable asking price.

  3. Tailored advice: Every property market fluctuates. Agents provide timely advice, adjusting to market dynamics, ensuring you’re always in a good position to buy.

  4. Priority status: Stand out amidst a sea of potential buyers. Agents prioritise those they trust.

Maximise your chances in a seller's market

In a seller's market, where demand outpaces supply, competition between buyers soars. Here’s how you can turn the tide:

  1. Act quickly: In such markets, good houses don't stay for sale long. Ensure you're among the first viewers. Express genuine interest, and if it aligns with your expectations, don't hesitate.

  2. Mortgage in place: Secure a mortgage agreement in principle. Demonstrating your readiness to proceed instils confidence in both the agent and seller.

  3. Expand your search area: Consider expanding your property search area. Sometimes, neighbouring regions offer equally splendid homes, without the heavy competition. Alternatively, the different search area might be characteristics and not just location. You might consider a property with only two bedrooms instead of three, if there is potential to add an extension.

  4. Clarity on other costs: Be clear on additional costs like stamp duty, legal fees, and survey costs. Being financially prepared eases the purchase journey.

Ask the right questions to get ahead

Engaging with estate agents isn't merely about viewing houses or discussing prices. It’s about understanding the underpinnings of the property. Pose these questions to stay a step ahead:

  1. Reason for sale: Why is the seller moving out? This offers insights into potential issues or benefits of the property.

  2. Duration on market: How long has the property been up for sale? A long duration might point to hidden problems or an overestimated price.

  3. Valuation history: How often has the property been valued? Frequent valuations may indicate fluctuating market conditions or challenges in selling.

  4. Neighbourhood dynamics: What's the local area like? Schools, amenities, transport – a holistic view ensures you’re making a well-informed decision.

  5. Price negotiations: Have there been offers? If so, why were they rejected? This provides clarity on the seller’s mindset and their flexibility on the asking price.

Beyond traditional estate agency

Discovering properties online

Property online portals serve as valuable reservoirs of listings, and they offer more than just photos and floorplans. Such platforms often boast user reviews, neighbourhood insights, and virtual tours.

Before pouring your money into a property, it's worth spending a bit of time surfing these platforms.

However, keep in mind the property details. Ensure the listing provides complete clarity on the asking price, property size, and any fees.

Remember, most agents list their properties online, so it’s possible to engage with both traditional and online channels in tandem.

The allure and risks of property auctions

Property auctions can be exciting. They offer a chance to snap up a property, potentially at a lower price.

However, they also come with their pitfalls.

Before you assume you're getting a steal, you should familiarise yourself with the auction process.

On winning a bid, you'll need to pay a deposit immediately. Shortly after, you'll sign contracts and then, of course, come the fees.

The thrill of bidding can be enticing, but ensure you're well-prepared, legally and financially, before raising that paddle.

Finalising your property purchase

So you've found the property that checks all the boxes. But how do you transition from browsing to buying?

Make a compelling offer

Making an offer on a house is more than just naming a price.

Ensure your offer showcases your best interests, backed by a clear understanding of the property's worth and the current market conditions. Agents appreciate a buyer who's done their homework.

It might seem tempting to go low initially, but a well-reasoned offer can put you in a favourable light. Being prepared to pay what a house is truly worth while demonstrating you respect the seller’s position can set the stage for smoother negotiations on other issues.

Sealed bids

Sometimes, a house has so much interest that the seller requests sealed bids. While it feels like a shot in the dark, there's a method to this.

Firstly, determine your absolute maximum – the highest sum you're willing and able to pay. Ensure you account for any additional costs, like fees or necessary repairs. When you seal that envelope, ensure your bid reflects the house's value, your budget, and your desire to make it your home. It’s not about outdoing every other bid but making a considered and genuine proposal.

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