Many potential buyers these days turn to the internet when they’re ready to buy a home. While property portals like Moovshack help you see the type of property available in your area, actually visiting an estate agent in person is also surprisingly helpful.
Why? Well, primarily, you can let them know in person what you need from your chosen property and explain in-depth your precise requirements from your new home. Knowing how to deal with estate agents when buying is essential though.
The best estate agents will then be able to suggest the most suitable properties for you to view in your area, saving you a lot of time and effort. Not only that but meeting your estate agent in person will help you to build up a working relationship.
They’ll be able to put a face to your name, and you’ll be more likely to come to their mind when a new property at the right asking price that’s perfect for you comes onto the market, and they’re on the lookout for suitable serious potential buyers.
Various estate agent tricks in use today are well-known in buying circles and have been publicised on the news, so those interested in buying a property are keen to avoid getting sucked in, not least so they can save money long term.
So, how can you avoid potential problems that could end up costing you money? Read on and discover our top tips, expert advice and opinion to point you in the right direction so you can get the best deal and find the perfect house for you.
In this article, you’ll find:
- What are common estate agent tricks?
- Choose the right estate agent
- Questions to ask my estate agent
- Researching before making offers
- Learn moving lingo
- Don’t reveal too much
What are common estate agent tricks?
Estate agents are known for their sales tactics when they try to sell your property. Here are just a few :
Creating a bidding frenzy
An agent might try to give the impression there’s considerable interest in viewing a specific property by arranging viewings close together. This puts pressure on buyers to make an offer on the property more quickly and without taking too much time to really consider their offer in-depth.
Another frequently seen practice is to try introducing sealed bids or arranging open days, so buyers are encouraged to act speedily to make an offer and enter bidding wars.
If you’re a buyer, our advice is to remain focused without allowing yourself to be influenced by the estate agent’s selling tactics. Remember, the estate agent is being paid to get a high asking price for the seller – it’s their job. You shouldn’t allow yourself to be swayed into making offers higher than you can afford to pay. No house – dream home or not – is worth risking financial difficulties for, however good your mortgage brokers are!
Read more: how to make an offer on a house or flat?
Inventing fake offers
Let’s imagine that after viewing a property, you’ve decided to make an offer below the asking price that the seller wanted. To your delight, you discover that your offer has been accepted, and the seller has taken the property off the market.
You’re all ready to speak to your financial adviser about the mortgages you would be eligible for and are gearing up to arrange surveys with your solicitor.
However, a couple of weeks down the line, the estate agents contact you. They make you aware that a buyer from one of the property’s earlier viewings has now put in their own offer to buy the house, and it’s a few thousand pounds more than your own.
While it’s possible that what they say is true, it’s important to be aware that it’s also possible that the estate agent could be pulling a trick on you. They may be fabricating the other buyer and their bid in an attempt to persuade you to increase your own offer. Therefore, if you believe that there might be no alternative buyer, you should ask the estate agent for evidence that the other party exists and is definitely willing to buy the property at a higher price. If the estate agent cannot give you proof of the higher offer and bid, the sale can still go ahead at the price you’ve agreed on.
Whether gazumping is real or turns out to be a ruse, it can still be a stressful experience. You may want to use an estate agent that uses a Good Will Charter in which both the buyer and seller pay a deposit that is lost if the sale doesn’t go through.
Another option to eliminate the problem is a lock-out agreement during which the seller takes the property off the market for a specified period during the completion of the deal. You should talk to your solicitor or legal adviser about this since there are benefits and disadvantages to consider.
Putting pressure on you to use their own mortgage broker
Often, estate agents try to pressurise buyers into using their own mortgage brokers. It’s important to know that this isn’t a legal practice. You can certainly feel free to get a quotation from your estate agent’s mortgage adviser before you shop around, but you are not under any obligation to accept it. You might have to pay a fee upfront for the advice they offer, and you may have less choice of mortgage types to pick from than a mortgage broker can offer you.
Think about it carefully before you commit to anything, and always do your research in-depth before choosing the right mortgage for you.
As you can see, estate agents have many tricks up their sleeve when dealing with buyers. It’s their job to sell properties, and they often do everything in their power to achieve their selling goals.
Fortunately, we have some top tips for you to help prevent you from becoming a victim of dodgy estate agent moves, and you’ll find out about them in the next few sections of this article.
Read more: what is a guarantor mortgage?
Choose The Right Estate Agent
Choosing the right estate agent can help to eliminate many of the possible issues you might encounter. When you’re in the market for buying a home, you need to do your research into the various estate agents in your local area who sell the type of property you’re interested in buying. Family or friends may be able to share their recommendations with you.
Once you’ve chosen the right agents for you, it’s important to always stay in contact regularly. This will keep you in the forefront of their mind, and when they’re selling a house that meets the criteria that you’ve told them you’re looking for, and that’s within your specified price bracket, they’ll think about you and give you a call to tell you about it first before other buyers get around to finding out about the sale. This can clearly offer you a major benefit.
Questions To Ask My Estate Agent
When you’re ready to purchase a property, there are a few things that your agent needs to be told and a few things you need to ask.
- Sellers are often keen to attract first time buyers who have mortgage offers in principle. If you fit these criteria, always tell the agent since you’ll be well-placed to move forward rapidly.
- Ask how long the properties you’re interested in have been up for sale.
- Ask whether any works are expected to be carried out on the property.
- If it’s a new build property, ask to find out what the process is for creating your own snagging list.
- Ask what will be included in the sales – furnishings, light fittings, carpets, curtains etc.
- Check that you won’t be paying fees and commission too. Usually, high street agents only charge a commission on sales. Online agents usually charge fixed fees when you sell a property through them, both of which are sellers’ responsibility. As a buyer, you should have no fees to pay to your estate agents for purchasing a property.
Researching Before Making Offers
Unless you’re buying a new build home, you’ll need to do some research to find out what kind of price sellers in your area are looking for.
You can’t always rely on your agent to have in-depth local knowledge, especially if they’re an online company that is using a valuation that may have been done years ago.
Take the time to research the area, so you have the information you need at your fingertips about the price that nearby properties sell for so you are well-armed with the kind of details that will make it more likely to get your offer accepted by the seller.
It won’t take long to check out sites like Rightmove and Zoopla, and taking the time to do this can save you a lot of financial stress when determining a price to offer.
Helpful tip: if you’re ready to buy your property and your offer has been accepted, it’s time to start planning. Make sure you’ve organised the right size moving van (and understand any additional costs).
Learn Moving Lingo
When estate agents are selling a house, they need to do what it takes to get a sold sign outside the door. After all, that’s what they’re being paid their fee for! This often involves using creative language to describe homes.
If you’ve never had to move house before, you may be inexperienced in the kind of lingo used, which can be misleading. As an example, “homely” often is code to mean “tiny”, and “ripe for investment” usually means that it’s going to cost a lot of money to make the property suitable to live in!
Spend some time looking into the synonyms that agents use, so you don’t get a nasty shock when attending a viewing, or worse, when you arrange your survey.
Don’t Reveal Too Much
You’ll be asked screening questions but be aware some may be unnecessary, and if you reveal too much, they may have the upper hand over you. It’s especially important to be wary when talking about how much money you have coming in or how much your mortgage provider has offered you. Why is this the case?
Imagine your agent is aware your mortgage offer is for £250,000, but you only offer the seller £200,000. They may hold out for more money just because they know you’re able to afford it.
Your agent needs only to know the rough amount of money you’re prepared to spend so they can match you with homes that are most appropriate.
Hopefully, you’re now armed with all the information you need when dealing with an estate agent when you’re buying a home so you can save money and enjoy a better and smoother experience all round.