The term estate-agent is a generic term and refers to any person or company that deals in the selling, buying, renting, and managing of property. In the UK, people and firm that deal with renting and managing rented properties are known as ‘Letting Agents’.
Originally, the term estate-agent referred to a person who was managing a landed property. Those who dealt in buying and selling of houses came to be called housing agents and those who dealt in buying selling of land were known as land agents. In America, the term real estate broker is used for estate agents.
There is a lot of competition among estate-agents and they are not the most trusted by the people. In the UK, an estate-agent has to be registered with the Office of Fair Trading and their activities are defined by this office as well. Individuals and property developers use estate-agents to help them sell their property.
The estate-agent evaluates a property and puts a price on it. He or she will then inform the owner of the price they can expect to get for the property. They also inform the seller of the terms at which they will be ready to handle the sale of a property.
Registered estate agents are required to use the services of a registered surveyor to evaluate property. A number of regulations in the UK protect clients against fraud by estate-agents. Then, there are a number of unregistered estate agents also. When a property is sold the estate agent is required to arrange the necessary papers and the transfer of the property.
Estate agents have further divided their roles in the UK. Some only deal in commercial properties, others in houses and apartments. Some estate agents only work with property developers and help them sell their upcoming projects. In addition, estate agents have divided the areas in which they operate. Like an estate agent in one suburb of London will be unaware of property prices in another area. You have to be careful when selecting and dealing with estate agents as their livelihood depends on commissions and they try to maximise that. So if you need the services of an estate agent make sure you run a background check on them. An estate agent’s business depends on their dealing and if their dealing is unfair, they gain a bad reputation very fast.
People don’t have the time to get their property surveyed and try and put a price on it. You will know how much you bought it for, but you won’t know its current market value. Market prices are a factor that is determined by estate agents. They look at property price trends, the age of the property and its build qualities. It’s the value of the land that forms a major factor in determining the price of property and not the house built on it. It’s the area that determines the price of properties and several financial conditions. It’s a common knowledge today that due to the financial crunch property prices have plummeted.
Estate agents have been badly affected by the financial crunch as there are very few buyers in the market today.