Estate Agents vs. Buying Agents : The Insider’s Guide

  • July 17, 2023
  • September 21, 2023
  • Shaz Nawaz
  • 5 min read

UK real estate industry has always been an attractive asset both for domestic and international investors alike. This is because of the stability and strength of the UK market and the smooth functioning political system. Undoubtedly, profitability is also one of the many factors behind the ever-evolving and expanding spectrum of the UK property industry.

But like any other industry, there are also a lot of technicalities and terminologies without understanding which one might have to struggle with and receive setbacks.

This article will share with you research-oriented facts about property investment taken from multiple and incredibly authentic sources to find out the most relevant information about the UK market so that you don’t have to struggle with unfamiliar things about UK property.

The First Post of Call

Once you have researched the chosen areas and worked out budgets, it is time to look for properties. Apart from various property websites, usually, the first port of call is an estate agent who will show you different available properties for sale. Alternatively, you have the option to use a buying agent who will find the right property on your behalf and negotiate on price.

When it comes to UK property, hiring estate agents is standard practice for sellers who market their properties and facilitate sales, acting as the go-between for property owners and buyers in the transaction process.

Who are the estate agent and buying agent?

Titles and terminology in the property market can be confusing for many. With complex jargon like property buying agents, listing agent, selling agent, estate agent, and more, sometimes it becomes difficult to know which service you need. This article will explore the differences between each of these figures, including their responsibilities, remit, and who they work for. Buying a property can be easy for you.

Who Is Property Buying Agent?

This is the most common question we often come across from many new buyers and sellers. Simply speaking, a buying agent works like a resource for the buyer, who provides the buyer with practical and trusted assistance to support him in the property-purchasing process. There are many reasons for buyers to enlist the help of a property-buying agent, including but not limited to cost efficiency, convenience, and access to a bank of trusted advice and experience.

Estate Agents vs. Buying Agents what you need to know

For whom do they work?

As we have above mentioned, a property-buying agent works on behalf of the buyer. Generally, the buyers contact property buying agents who are seeking help from experts in some aspects of the process of hunting houses.

The role of buying agent is to find, analyse, and secure properties for buyers.

What are the responsibilities of a buying agent?

Each buying agent possesses an in-depth understanding and expert knowledge of the local property and provides end-to-end services.

What is an estate agent?

By contrast, an estate agent (or selling) agent is another term for an estate agent who acts on behalf of the vendor and external clients to achieve the sale of the property. Additionally, the selling agent lists the property for the seller, and during the process of the sale, he represents the seller. The selling agent acts for the sellers as the buyer does for the buyer.

What is the difference between an estate and a buying agent?

There is a fundamental difference between estate agents and buying agents, says Jeremy McGiven, Founder of Mercury Homesearch.

‘The estate agent is paid by the seller and is legally obliged to achieve the highest price or best terms possible – conversely, the buying agent is paid by the buyer,’ he says. ‘Buying agents are also there to protect a buyer’s best interests and give access to the entire market. And they’re able to source off-market properties, give objective advice on valuations and negotiate the lowest price and best terms possible.’

Yet, both buying and estate agents have important and complementary roles to play in the home-buying process.

‘People often use buying agents if they are based abroad and struggling to get over to the UK for viewings, or don’t have a huge knowledge of the areas they want to buy in,’ says Richard Gutteridge, co-head of Prime Central London at estate agent Savills.

‘Buying agents will hold your hand through the whole process. But equally, an estate agent plays a key role for the buyer. They can steer you through and manage some of the expectations of sellers.’

Camilla Dell, Founder of Central London buying agency, Black Brick says, ‘clients of buying agents are often seen by estate agents as more committed – they have already paid an up-front registration fee and gone through ‘know-your-customer’ procedures – most buyers don’t do that unless they are serious about buying.’

Both buying and estate agents are mostly proactive and responsive. They are experts in negotiating, timing, pricing, and finalizing the deal.


Given all these points, it is important to use an expert agent when buying and selling property. If you selected an agent wisely, greater chances are, based on his expert knowledge of the local property, he will help you in identifying and giving you the best deal by saving a great deal of time and money.

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