An estate agent is a person or business that arranges the selling, renting or management of property/properties, and other buildings, in Coventry. An agent that specialises in renting is often called a letting or management agent. Estate Agents are mainly engaged in the marketing of property available for sale and a solicitor or licensed conveyancer is used to prepare the legal documents.
The term originally referred to a person responsible for managing a landed estate, while those engaged in the buying and selling of homes were "House Agents", and those selling land were "Land Agents". However, in the 20th century, "Estate Agent" started to be used as a generic term, perhaps because it was thought to sound more impressive. Estate Agent is roughly synonymous in the United States with the term real estate broker.
The job of the agent is to know his or her community and local factors that can increase or decrease property prices. ie if a new road or airport is to be built this can blight houses nearby. Equally, the closing of a quarry or improvement of an area can enhance prices. It is the job of the agent to value based on what has, or has not sold in comparison and to achieve the best price for their client.
The full legal term and definition of an estate agent within the UK can be found on the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) website. Enforcement of these regulations is also the responsibility of the OFT.
In Coventry and the United Kingdom, residential Estate Agents are regulated by the Estate Agents Act 1979 and the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991, as well as, the more recently enacted Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007.
Some Estate Agents are members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the principal body for UK property professionals, dealing with both residential, commercial and agricultural property. Members, known as “Chartered Surveyors”, are elected based on examination and are required to adhere to a code of conduct, which includes regulations about looking after their clients’ money and professional indemnity insurance in case of error or negligence.
For residential property, there is also a trade association, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and others such as INEA (INEA.co.uk The Independent Network of Estate Agents) who are there to guide members. The Ombudsman for Estate Agents Scheme, which obtained OFT approval for the Code of Practice for Residential Sales in 2005 and, as of November 2006, claims to have 2532 member agencies.
There is a legal requirement to belong to either organisation in order to trade as an Estate Agent. Agents can be fined if they are not a member of a redress scheme. The redress scheme was brought in alongside and to govern agents in reference to the HIP (Home Information Pack).
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