How to get the best from estate agents when buying a property

It's vitally important when you are buying a property to get to know the estate agents who have the best properties for sale, whether you're after a house, flat, cottage, bungalow or studio apartment.

  • Our guide contains some advice and tips on how to get the best from estate agents if you're looking for property to buy and how to make the process as smooth and efficient as possible.

    Why are you looking for a property to buy? Are you relocating due to work, to be within a school catchment area, to up-size or down-size, for lifestyle reasons or for investment purposes? Whatever the reason, the chances are, you'll be using estate agents to find a home to buy.

  • Dealing with estate agents

    Although estate agents are paid by the seller, the buyer's relationship with the estate agent is vitally important, too. Read our how to buy a house guide for further information on searching for houses or flats to buy and on using the right estate agents.

  • Discuss your requirements face-to-face
  • streetAn obvious way of making your mark with estate agents is to go into their offices. Don't just ring up and give your details - go in, sit down and discuss your requirements face-to-face. Then, when you phone them, they'll have a face to match the name. It might sound obvious, but it makes a big difference because when a suitable home for sale comes in, you will be more than just a name on a list of people to phone. Here are some tips to help you get the most from estate agents when buying a property:

    • Demonstrate that you're serious - a 'hot' buyer will be top of mind for estate agents when suitable properties to buy arise, so demonstrate how keen you are and how serious you are about your intention to purchase
    • Tell the estate agent which of your property requirements are fixed and which aspects you may be a little more flexible about
    • Don't waste time - avoid looking at properties that are out of your budget range, or that you have no intention of buying, as this will not endear you to the estate agent
    • Give feedback - after viewings, provide as much feedback to the estate agent as possible, so that he or she gets the best possible idea of what you like and dislike.
    • Be prepared
    • Are you a first time buyer or someone who has nothing to sell and has a mortgage or funding in place? If so, it's worth asking if your agent offers a Premium Buyer Service. This means that you will get early access to new instructions and viewings, which can make the difference between securing a property and never even seeing it.

      Some estate agents offer to leaflet potential vendors in streets within your chosen area, so it helps if you have done your homework and know which areas and streets are right for you. You should also register your details on Primelocation.com to get regular property alerts. Once registered, you'll receive details of the latest relevant properties for sale by e-mail, directly to your inbox.

      Find out more about what to look for and questions to ask when viewing properties to buy. You can also find an estate agent on Primelocation.com.

    • Keep in touch
    • Once you have found your new home, and the offer has been accepted, make sure you keep in touch with the agent to arrange access to the property for surveys, mortgage valuations and so forth. The agent is the lynchpin and should liaise between you and the vendors at every stage of the property buying process.

    • Making a complaint
    • Very occasionally, things can go wrong. If you have a complaint about the conduct of an estate agent, you can contact the Ombudsman for Estate Agents (OEA). The OEA provides an independent service for dealing with a dispute between member estate agents and consumers who are actual or potential buyers or sellers of residential property in the UK.

      The OEA will advise on alternative routes to take if the estate agent you wish to complain about is not a member. You can also contact the local Council's trading standards department.

    • The content provided in the Primelocation.com guides is for information only. In all cases, independent and professional advice should be sought before buying, selling, letting or renting property, or buying financial services products.

    Although estate agents are paid by the seller, the buyer's relationship with the estate agent is vitally important, too.