Questions you need to ask your estate agent, including 'does the blueprint allow for a home extension?'

RICS has called for the compulsory regulation of estate agents – here are some questions your estate agent should be able to answer!

Since the government’s various initiatives to assist first time buyers were introduced, the UK has seen an increase of activity in the property market, with more and more people being able to get their fair share of the housing pie. However, new statistics reveal that almost a third of first time buyers do not have a good understanding of the purchase process, despite it being perhaps the biggest and most important purchase they’ll ever make. Almost a third also claimed that their agents failed to advise them of the process during the transaction.

There is currently no statutory regulation in place to make sure that agents are suitably qualified to sell property. What this means is that consumers could be dealing with agents who are providing inaccurate advice. According to RICS, real estate agents should be required to join a professional regulation scheme that ensures consumers are dealing with agents that are suitably qualified to broker sales and advise on the often complex processes involved. 77% of the first home buyers surveyed agree that this would lead to an increase in consumer understanding and 89% believe that it would better protect them.

We’ve come up with some questions that you should ask your estate agent before signing up to their services and making the biggest purchase of your life, including asking for references, getting an idea of what the closing costs are going to look like and finding out if there is room for a home extension from Chartered architects. If they are unable to answer these important questions, you might not be dealing with a qualified agent and should consider going with another agent or enlisting the services of a professional inspector (which you should do anyway!).

Questions you can’t afford not to ask:

  • What is your average List-Price-to-Sales Price Ratio? Knowing the agent’s average ratio speaks volumes. A good agent should be able to negotiate a sales price that is lower than the list price, and should have a record of past results available for you to look at.
  • Do you have references? Everybody has references. Ask to see some that are not related to the agency and ask whether you can contact them.
  • What sets you apart from your competitors? Most homeowners want an agent who is honest, communicative, available around-the-clock, assertive, analytical, friendly and good at negotiating.
  • What is your best marketing strategy for my needs? You should know upfront how the agent will go about searching for your new home, how many homes you are likely to see, how you will be competing against other buyers and how offers will be presented.
  • How much can I afford? This is possibly the most important question to ask your agent when looking for a home. Generally speaking, how much you should spend on a house depends on how much money you have in the bank, your salary and any debt that you may have. If any major work needs to be done to the property, real estate agents should also factor this in when narrowing down the search for you.
  • What will the closing costs be? Many people are often taken aback once the deal has been finalised and the closing costs set in. Knowing what these costs might look like upfront may affect your final decision.
  • What is the average selling price for houses in the area? Knowing this will ensure that you are getting a good deal. Also, if the house you are considering is already one of the most expensive ones on the block, and if you are planning on undertaking renovations, it will serve as an indication that it may not be a good investment.
  • How many bedrooms could it potentially have? This is an important one because the size of your family may change and a little way down the track you could find that your new 2-bedroom home needs to be a 3 or 4-bedroom home. Does the property’s blueprint allow for a home extension? If it does, it might be wise to get a quote from home extension architects to get an idea a home extension cost and how much a home extension could add to the value of your home.

Of course, there are many other questions that you should ask your real estate agent (and yourself!) before you make your decision. The key is to do your homework and ensure that you are dealing with professionals every step of the way.

Check out this useful video about how to buy a house, which covers everything from narrowing down an area to negotiating a favourable price.


If you would like any more information about a loft conversion or home extension before you go ahead with the most important purchase of your life, contact the team at Landmark Architecture.

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