Harpenden agent asks: is it really worth hiring an estate agent?

Nick Ingle of Savills, Harpenden

Nick Ingle of Savills, Harpenden - Credit: Archant

Registering with an estate agent - here’s why you should do it...

The gradual rise of online property portals may question whether there is the need to register to buy through a high street estate agent at all. Is it still necessary?

The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Of course, being an estate agent I would say that, but in all seriousness there are sound reasons why people should register with an active estate agent such as Savills.

Agents are in the strongest position to be able to advise on what is currently available but they also often know what is about to become available. Furthermore, there are occasions when properties are offered ‘off market’ – something only the agent handling the sale will know about.

This often means that somebody has decided to sell their house but, for whatever reason, doesn’t want this to be publicly known. There are certain tangible benefits. First and foremost, being selective about telling people that the property is available can help dispense with time wasters. Secondly, if there is a delicate reason why the property is being offered for sale, such as a death in the family, debt or a divorce, discreet marketing significantly reduces the possibility of neighbours and friends getting to know.

From a buyers perspective, there are also occasions when offering a property privately is preferable to making it fully available as buyers often like the element of exclusivity.

The one draw back to both sellers and buyers is that by marketing a property ‘off market’, you will never truly know how the market would react to it – in other words it could be sold for more or it may not be sold for quite as much.

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However, it can also work to the mutual benefit of both buyers and sellers – especially in terms of making the overall transaction process smoother. Buyers of properties that are available privately are far less likely to withdraw from a sale.

Anyone serious about buying property should always register their interest with a knowledgeable and credible agent.

Nick Ingle is head of sales at Savills Harpenden.