The internet and the advent of a myriad of web sites and property portals, has enabled both buyers and sellers to act independently. To cut out the estate agent if you like. But recent research indicates, that cutting out the estate agent does not help vendors or landlords.
Why the agent is still your friend:
Property portals – any decent property portal will not allow you to market your property independently. Although the “for sale by owner” market is more widespread in the US, less than 5% of people in the UK have adopted it. So, you need to be where the traffic is. And most people on the property portals are there for a reason..they are looking to buy or rent somewhere.
Estate agents (bona fide ones that is!) not only provide much wider coverage than one can hope to achieve on their own; but can provide a much more qualified customer as well. On the buying side, through understanding the needs of the customer, estate agents are in a much stronger position to offer something from the portfolio of properties available, that matches their needs more closely.
When having any product to sell, the more people that can see it, the more chance you have! And not only that, estate agents can help you ascertain the true worth of your property and to assist in tenancy checks and the like. And with rent arrears on the increase, good estate agents will take a lot of potential headache away from you, by managing rent collection.