Five considerations when buying through an estate agent

Buying a new house, whether you are a first-time buyer or you already own your own home, can often involve a process that many people do not fully understand. What role does an estate agent play when helping you buy a property?

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1. Working for the seller

Estate agents represent the seller, not the buyer. Remember this when offering information, such as your income or thoughts on maximum price, in case they use this to the seller’s advantage later.

2. Providing Information

While they may work for the seller, estate agents can still give you a bit of background on the seller and the property. You might want to ask them whether there is anything negative you should know about the property – bad neighbours, regional crime rates – and whether the house has been on the market for long or they are looking to sell quickly.

3. Referring Conveyancers or Mortgage Advisors

While this service may be handy, estate agents can often receive referral fees for recommending particular mortgage advisors or conveyancers. They may be highly regarded, but it is not always guaranteed – it might depend on the relationship between the companies.

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4. Providing Information Available From Other Sources

Estate agents can provide you with lots of information about the property, but try not to rely on them alone to give you this data. You can find out some valuable basic information online without having to go through an estate agent. The property will appear in the estate agent’s online portals, providing you with facts and figures such as how much the owners previously bought and sold it for, and some floor plans are often included. You can even visit the government’s online EPC register to estimate the costs of bills and energy ratings in the property at

5. Passing on your offer

Estate agents are required by law to pass your offer on to the seller so they understand all of the available options. If the seller will not accept an offer that is lower than a particular price and yours comes under this number, it may not be passed on. If the agent fails to pass on a legitimate offer, they could have a legal case on their hands, which they will want to avoid.