HomeOwners Alliance logo

Become a member today to access our home helpline, discounted conveyancing, expert advice & legal service


How can I get estate agents on my side?

The estate agent works for the seller – but they only get paid if they do a deal. If you get them on your side, it can get you to the front of the queue when viewing houses, and can help get a better price. But if you are in their bad books, you can fail to get a deal

1.    Start with a face-to-face meeting

This is important because you will then be a person looking for a home rather than a faceless name with requirements. You should see all the local estate agents in the area you are interested in.

2.    Demonstrate that you are serious from the start

  • Lots of people mess estate agents around. Show them you aren’t a time waster
  • Ensure you get a mortgage in principle before you start house hunting (see How and when should I get a mortgage?). This means they know that you will be able to act quickly, and will put you right at the front of the estate agent’s mind when new properties come in

3.    Swap contact details

  • Get the individual agent’s name, mobile phone number and email. This will not only ensure you always have a point of contact, but will also allow you to develop a relationship with them. It is easier to deal with an individual if possible, rather than a whole office
  • Give them your all your contact details
  • Give them a rough estimate of what you are looking to spend, but don’t give them full details of your financial situation (it could put you at a disadvantage in negotiations if they know you can afford more)

4.    Ask them for advice

  • Rather than telling them exactly what you want, ask for their advice
  • Estate agents have extensive local knowledge and usually enjoy sharing it

5.    Give them your requirements

  • In the first meeting tell them what type of properties you are looking for, and which exact area(s) you would most like to live in
  • Make clear which requirements you will not change, and which you are happy to be flexible about

6.    Give specific feedback

  • After each viewing tell the agent what you did and did not like about the house. This will allow the agent to build up a better picture of what it is you’re looking for

7.    Don’t waste their time

  • Looking at properties outside of your budget will just annoy the estate agent, and will also make you dissatisfied with your final choice

8.    Keep in regular touch

  • If they do not call you, call them every few days to tell them that you are still on the hunt, and ask if they have any news of new properties coming on the market. If they don’t hear from you, they will assume you are no longer looking
  • Equally, always respond to their emails and telephone calls even if it is just to explain why you are not interested in a property
  • Even after you have put in an offer make sure you keep in touch to gain access to the property for surveying, mortgage valuations and so on

9.    Free up time to view properties

  • Good houses are sold quickly, so make sure you are available to look at them. If you are never available, the agent won’t think you are serious
  • Do not miss a viewing. It is rude and is likely to turn the agent against you

10. Remember they are keen to sell

  • Although the agent works for the seller, and are incentivised to get as high a price as possible for the house, they do have a slightly different interest which can turn them on your side: if they don’t sell at all, they get nothing for their efforts
  • If they are the sole agent, they will be worried that if they don’t get a seller to agree a deal, the seller will put it out to multiple agents. If they are already one of multiple agents marketing the property, they will fear that if they don’t seal the deal, another agent will
  • This all means that agents can be keener than the seller to accept a lower price, just to make sure they get a deal. If a property is proving a little hard to shift, and is perhaps overpriced, the agent can effectively end up on your side, trying to get the seller to agree a lower price
  • They might encourage the seller to accept an offer £10,000 lower than asking price because while that might be a lot of money for you, it only equates to £200 in fees for the agent, and it is far better to get slightly lower fees than no fees at all

11. Be nice

  • The vast majority of estate agents are decent people who work hard in a very competitive market
  • So be nice to them. If you charm them, they might well respond favourably

12. And if this is all too much…

…you can always use a buyers agent, who will do this work on your behalf!

Leave a comment

Captcha *


  1. It is totally unfair to the rest of the buyers if the agents work for some buyers and not others. Everyone should get a fair chance and they should not mix their personal preference with professional etiquette. Some people are just not into socialising and this should not make estate agents ignore them. So unfair this housing market is.

    Comment by Nicole Sitwell — February 29, 2016 @ 8:00 pm

  2. I feel for you, and that the 20 weeks sole agency was not pointed out to you seems odd, to put it politely.

    My experience is quite different. Like you, I am a widow and want to downsize. My agents seem to have acted in good faith so far, are willing answer any number of awkward (and daft!) questions from yours truly. I have given them sole agency until April 2016 because although I need to downsize, there are ways that I can adjust this large house to my changing needs and, if I don’t find the flat I would like, I could conceivably stay here.

    The advice given me about looking for flats has varied immensely. I was strongly advised against looking before I had an offer on my house but that sounded counterintuitive. Given that would-be purchasers would haggle over prices, it made sense to me to find out what was out there for the price I have in mind.

    I gather that the Homeowners Association can offer advice about difficulties you are facing. Have you approached them?

    I wish you luck with this.

    Comment by Sue — January 9, 2016 @ 4:42 pm

  3. I am desperate to sell my house as downsizing and found a fabulous flat. The agent selling my house has signed me up to 20 weeks sole agency and did not point this out to me at the time?? Widow on my own, feel vulnerable.

    Comment by Rosemary Cook — November 24, 2015 @ 10:33 am

Sign up to our FREE newsletter for latest advice, services and money saving offers

Sign up now