A house is likely to be the most expensive thing any of us will buy and the process can often be fraught with unexpected delays, problems and wrangles.

With this in mind it is vital that buyers – and sellers – have the right people on hand to support them through such an important process, and this is where estate agents come in.

Sadly, our profession has some negative stereotypes attached to it. Despite these the vast majority of estate agents are passionate, professional and dedicated to helping their clients complete quickly and with as little stress as possible.

So what qualities should you look for in an estate agent?

Experience in the industry is a priceless asset. Every home sale is different but often the same problems can crop up that can scupper or delay the process, such as queries over access or legalities surrounding extensions and conversions.

A long-standing and well-established agent should have the experience to navigate such problems, helping you take the steps needed to take to resolve them.

No recommendation is better than one that has come by word of mouth. Check out agents’ websites to see if they include testimonials (even better if they show details of the house sold/bought) and talk to friends and family – which agent did they use and what was their experience?

There’s a reason estate agents are so keen to put up ‘for sale’ and ‘sold’ boards – it’s great advertising but also an indicator of their success. If you have an agent in mind it’s reassuring to see plenty of their boards dotted about the area you’re looking in.

Boards also benefit sellers as passers-by, who may be in the market, can see what homes are available in their preferred area.

Do they sell the kind of property you want to market? Look in the windows of your local agents – if the properties available match the kind you’re selling then that firm should have the right experience and knowledge for that band of home. 

Don’t be afraid to give agents a test run. The Homeowners Alliance – which provides unbiased advice to UK property owners – suggests popping into a branch and posing as a purchaser who is looking to buy a similar property to your own. From the resulting experience you can gauge the agent’s professionalism, competency and knowledge of the area.

You can check if they are members of a professional trade association, such as the National Association of Estate Agents or Guild of Professional Estate Agents, or members of an accredited independent ombudsman service, such as the Property Ombudsman. This shows they adhere to codes of conduct and are committed to providing excellent service.

A good agent should be open, honest and a good communicator, returning calls and emails in a timely fashion and talking through processes with you that you may be unfamiliar with.

We at Roger Coupe are proud to have served the south Surrey/West Sussex border area for more than 25 years and with nearly 100 years’ combined experience, our team are true property experts. To find out more about how we can help you call us on 01483 268555.

Congratulations Yolanda!

We are delighted to announce the winner of our Star Teacher accolade. Yolanda de la Fuente is a teacher at the Jigsaw School in Dunsfold and was nominated for her always-willing attitude and excellent way with pupils.

Alongside taking the title of Star Teacher, Yolanda was handed a hamper from exclusive London food store Fortnum and Mason by Roger Coupe partner Edward Norman. She was thrilled to take the title.

Our thanks go to everyone who nominated and voted, and our congratulations to our other finalists Dawn Phillips, deputy headteacher at St Joseph’s specialist school and Matthew Kemp, teacher at St Cuthbert Mayne primary school.

The next title up for grabs is that of Star Garden and we are now on the hunt for green-fingered enthusiasts who help keep their community looking blooming lovely.

To make a nomination email starawards@pmwcom.co.uk with a short description of your nominee, why they deserve to win, their contact details and where they live. Please also include your own contact details. Nominations can be made until midnight on April 21.