A debate about the estate agent’s role is brewing after it emerged that a Canadian realtor had created their own system for ranking local schools and was showing the league tables created to clients.

While most parents are happy to rely on official information from government sources to help them decide on desirable school catchment areas, one estate agent seemingly felt that they had a superior knowledge of the issues affecting the school in their local area, and so created a new system for ranking education establishments that reflected this local knowledge.

Education Pros Say Ranking Schools in not Estate Agent’s Role

In a piece for the Globe and Mail educational psychology professors Tracey Derwing and Kelleen Toohey said:

A real estate agent is not an education expert. Would you rely on the advice of an education professor as to the state of a house’s foundation, subfloors, roof, or skylights? No. Would you trust an education professor to advise you on how to best stage the house for quick sale? No. So why would you trust a real estate agent to assess the best school for your child…?”

However, while their article clearly outlines and backs up their reasons for discounting the estate agent’s published opinion, the debate does raise some interesting questions for property marketing pros about the estate agent’s role when it comes to selling and explaining the community around a property on offer.

Home Sales Pros Know What Matters to Buyers

Working closely with estate agents on a daily basis, we here at Photoplan understand how home sales professionals develop an instinct for the details that matter to their buyers.

Local estate agents are well placed to understand the intricacies of a community, and have always offered house hunters advice on infrastructure such as schools and health provision in the area, so to suggest that agents should stick solely to selling homes on the merits of what is contained within the area delineated by deeds or floorplans is perhaps naive.

While homebuyers would always do well to remember that estate agents are, first and foremost, marketing professionals who focus is on closing a sale, they would also do well to remember that an agent may well be able to fill them in on details of the area that may influence their decision.

What Can an Estate Agent Advise on?

If you are in the process of searching for a home it can be helpful to research the following areas independently, as well as seeking the advice of your estate agents:

-Education: school catchment areas should be important to everyone, not just parents. The quality of local schooling will have an impact on property prices.

-Health Provison: are there doctors and dental services available in the local area? How far is the nearest accident and emergency department?

-Transport links: again, these are important to everyone, not just commuters – as transport links can affect house prices, while and future upgraded connections can change the whole identity of a neighbourhood – it is the estate agent’s role to know about these things in advance.