ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Plight of the Modern Day Estate Agent

Updated on March 19, 2014

The term ‘Estate Agent’ can often lead you to think rather narcissistically about men (or women) you've never even met! For some reason, they are grouped alongside the likes of traffic wardens as people who ‘it’s fine to unite in hatred for’!

But do they deserve this reputation? Where did this profession spring from? Are they just a parasite feeding off our property culture, or are they deserving of the high earning status they've come to acquire? Was it always such a profitable employment option?

Estate Agent History

The term ‘Estate Agent’ as we know it across England refers to ‘an agent concerned with the valuation, management, lease, and sale of property.’ Historically, the term referred to the person or agent who managed a ‘landed estate’ – so the properties and land belonging to a wealthy family and attached to their own main residence of a grand country house. In the past, it would be such a family as this who owned many of the residential properties in the surrounding villages, and their workers would live in them, or other people would, and be paying rent to the family, via the ‘land agent’. The estate would be passed down within the family via the oldest male heir, and in the absence of a male heir a female heir’s husband would take on the estate – you only need to watch Downton Abbey to see the variety of different legal rights and how the stories played out in such families!

In the early half of the 20th Century, the shift of aristocratic Lords reigning supreme over the land and local villages began changing the face of residential property agreements. As these huge estates struggled to earn enough to pay for their expenses, various parts of the land, and property on the land, were sold off.

And so began the rise of the modern day estate agent! As properties within a geographical location started to be owned by different people, and tenants were able to agree private rents with their landlords on a case by case basis, the property market became much more diverse.

It has been said that in the earlier years, working as an Estate Agent was like being in the Wild West! The main responsibilities of the agents were to know the local area in which the properties they managed were situated. They would be expected to be honest and give sound advice to potential tenants or buyers on any upcoming changes or incidents which may affect the desirability of the property. Furthermore they would be expected to be able to forewarn clients of future price rises or falls.

The estate agent would be in charge of giving a property a value or a suggested rental fee, based on other similar properties’ prices in the local area. It would be up to the agent to know all of the required information to be able to answer questions for potential tenants or buyers on the back foot, whilst showing them around the property. They would need to have accurately inspected and assessed the entire property in advance to avoid being caught out during a viewing.

In order to avoid being reprimanded for low conversion rates, and also to avoid awkwardness or embarrassment in front of potential clients, estate agents historically have been generous with the truth to say the least – avoiding mentioning the noise from traffic, trains or planes, or neglecting to mention the property is prone to flooding or damp etc.

Leica Disto Laser Measure
Leica Disto Laser Measure

The modern day Estate Agent

These days, estate agencies by law have to belong to their preferred ‘redress scheme’, so whether this is RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors), NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents), or INEA (Independent Network of Estate Agents) – you can be assured that if your estate agent doesn't adhere to the regulations set down then they will face being fined or even struck off.

Individual Estate Agents now have to take exams. So as well as being better educated, the modern day Estate Agent enjoys the benefit of modern technology, reducing the need for them to ‘make up’ information on the spot to avoid those awkward silences in front of clients. From Disto Laser Tape Measures removing the embarrassment of hopping over a couch and faffing around with metal tapes, to having property information available electronically so that amendments can be updated and emailed to clients. Properties listed online have revolutionised property search, greatly reducing the number of wasted visits as clients can be more selective prior to booking viewings.

How are Estate Agents viewed abroad?

In other countries, from those close to us like Scotland and those farther afield such as South Africa, Estate Agents actually do the legal side of rentals and sales too. I wonder if as the profession becomes more respected in the UK, whether Estate Agents will diversify and become one stop shops for the full range of property advice and services.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)