Your search for a new home can be made much easier if you use the services of an estate agent. Agents make it their business to provide every service connected with your search for a home – from expert advice in the early stages, to careful monitoring of your settlement. The more closely you work with one agent, the better your needs become known and the more effectively they can help you – saving you time and possible trouble. All agents are bound by law to deal fairly and ethically with both the buyer and the seller. Because the seller typically hires the agent, the agent is legally obliged to represent the seller’s interests. This means you must decide what offers to make and what counter-offers to accept. Don’t be bullied by the estate agent into accepting an offer you are not completely comfortable with. The benefits of using an estate agent are as follows. The agent can help you to set up a plan of action through an analysis of your needs and finances, the current housing market, homes available in your price range and mortgage options from the banks. The agent personally conducts your search to find neighbourhoods and homes that fit your requirements. The agent can guide you through making an offer on a home and presenting it to the seller. The role of the estate agent can be summarised as follows. The estate agent is the link between the buyer and the seller. The agent will negotiate an agreement of sale acceptable to both parties. An offer to purchase is drafted by the estate agent. This must be signed by the agent, the buyer and the seller. Once signed it becomes a legal binding contract of sale. A copy of this document must be attached to the loan application form. For this service, the estate agent charges a fee or commission paid by the seller. Do not allow estate agents to pressurise you into purchasing a property. This is an important decision you have to make, take your time looking for the right house. There are a number of professional bodies within the UK for Estate Agents. One of these associations is The National Association of Estate Agent. The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) is the UK’s leading professional body for estate agency. Its 10,000 members practice across all aspects of property both in the UK and overseas, including residential and commercial sales and letting, property management, business transfer, auctioneering and land. Founded in 1962 by estate agent and entrepreneur Raymond Andrews, the NAEA was established with the goal of upholding good practice and high professional standards in UK estate agency. This struck a chord with the industry at a time when there was little representation for estate agents and has allowed the Association to grow phenomenally over the years. Today, its key roles include providing help and guidance for property professionals across a broad spectrum of disciplines while continually campaigning to make the property market more efficient and user-friendly for the home buying and selling public. As a leading player in the UK property industry, the NAEA offers significant benefits to both estate agents and consumers.