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Property Hunter: How do I keep estate agents on side?

WHAT is the best approach when dealing with estate agents? They’re not being very communicative and I’ve missed out on viewings because they haven’t got back to me in time…

THE importance of building a relationship with estate agents shouldn’t be underestimated, as they usually sit in between you and your future property purchase.

A lot of home search is electronic these days, so you can be kept fairly up to date on new properties coming to the market and price reductions if you are signed up to the estate agent’s websites and property alerts. However, building a relationship with individual negotiators within each estate agency office will give you a significant advantage.

This is one of the advantages that our clients are accessing when they engage our services as buying agents. Because we know the estate agents personally and we have a track record with them, we will usually be prioritised ahead of other buyers. Once you know which areas you’re looking in and who the key estate agents are for the type of property you’d like to buy, you can start to build a relationship with them.

It’s very obvious, but people do business with people they like, so if an estate agent likes you and you can give them a clear brief of what you’re looking for, they are more likely to work harder for you. Or if you’re unsure about exactly what you want, the more responsive you can be with feedback from properties they send you and viewings you do with them, the better.

What a lot of buyers don’t realise is that many estate agents will have visibility of their new property pipeline weeks or months before a property comes to the market. So, if you’re able to build a very good relationship with them, they will be much more proactive with you. We regularly have calls from estate agents as they’re leaving a valuation they’ve just carried out, giving us a head’s up on a property which could be perfect for a client of ours.

So, if you’re finding that estate agents aren’t being communicative, perhaps evaluate how you come across to them and whether your search is realistic. If you’re pleasant to deal with, and what you’re looking for is achievable for your budget, then they should be responsive to you.

Jo Eccles is a property expert and director of SP Property Group. Got a question for Jo? Email: