Ten reasons why you need an estate agent

Do we really need estate agents?

Gone are the days when selling your home without one meant nailing up a badly-painted board and buying a tiny advert near the death notices in your local paper.

The internet has changed everything. Every touchscreen is a potential shop window for your property. So why not take advantage of the virtually free market? Why not take your own pictures, write your own blurb and let your perfectly presented home - "surprisingly spacious…close to all the amenities in an up-and-coming area" - sell itself on an online property outlet or ten?

Why not save yourself some cash, do-it-yourself and cut the silver-tongued middleman or woman out of the deal completely?

Because a good estate agent gives security, value-for-money and much else, says Carl Smith - Estate Agency Manager for the Nottingham Estate Agency.

Going it alone carries risks and hassles you might not have considered.

Here are Carl's 10 good reasons why it is still the right move to employ the services of a trained and regulated property professional.

1. "Buying or selling a house is probably the biggest financial transaction you will ever make. Do you really want to get into that without professional expertise and advice?"

2. "The personal touch is important. People buy people. They build bonds and develop trust. You can't get that from a nameless, faceless online estate agent."

3. A real, trained estate agent has their head firmly in the local market. They know how much your home is worth and will be able to value it correctly. Relying on someone else for a valuation risks letting your property go for a song - or, alternatively, it gathering dust in an online window for months because it is over-priced.

4. "An estate agent will advise you how to present your property. They will tell you all the little things you can do to make it more attractive to buyers."

5. A good agent won't wait for a buyer to find you. They will know who's in the market for a home like yours and they'll be proactive in arranging viewings.

6. "At The Nottingham we have a team to progress sales. We'll speak to buyers, sellers, solicitors and other estate agents to keep chains moving. If you sell online, everything will be done mostly via email. An estate agent can keep a chain together, deal with expectations and manage expectations."

7. A professional agent is trained to sell a property in full compliance with the law. "If you put your home up online are you sure it's being described in accordance with consumer protection regulations?"

8. An estate agent is a buffer between the buyer and the seller. People will inevitably haggle over an asking price. Your agent will stop those negotiations descending into bitterness and recrimination. "They take the hassle away."

9. "We filter out time-wasters. An estate agent will want to see a mortgage Agreement in Principle. If it's a cash buyer we'll want to see proof of funds."

10. You can complain and be compensated if a properly regulated estate agent lets you down. Reputable agents belong to the National Association of Estate Agents. It has powers to take action against agents that breach its Rules of Conduct & Code of Practice. The Property Ombudsman also regulates agents and resolves disputes.

*Coming soon: Carl's tips on finding the right estate agent. Generic News Story

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