As well as listing your house for sale, they will also advertise your property and arrange viewings.
Estate agents don't come cheap, so it's worth shopping around to get the best deal. Get a number of valuations plus information on fees and terms from a few different agencies, rather than settling on the first agent you speak to.
Some agents ask you to sign up for a fixed term, meaning you won't be able to switch agencies if you are unhappy with them. It may be better to sign up for a short term so you can move to another agent if your current one isn't up to scratch.
You should also compare the valuations from several different agents. It's not always worth going with the agent who offers the highest valuation.
When you've decided on the estate agent that's right for you, make sure to get the fees and conditions of the contract down in writing so you know exactly where you stand.
Your agent will value your house, but before settling on the asking price it's worth getting a few more valuations.
Check The Land Registry to see roughly how much your house might be worth as well as how much property in your area has sold for recently.
These estimates plus those supplied by your estate agents should give you a good foundation on which to set a reasonable price.
Remember that it's likely you will have to knock down your starting price (unless you make a very quick sale), particularly in a downturn when the power lies more with the buyer than the seller.
While HIPs (Home Information Packs) are no longer a legal requirement, Energy Performance Certificates are, so you'll need to have yours ready before putting your house on the market.
You need to get a registered energy assessor to do this for you - you can find one via the Landmarks website.
Advertising with an estate agent alone may not be enough, so advertising online could help you attract more buyers.
Check if your estate agent's services includes listing your house on sites like Zoopla.
The next thing to do is get your house ready for viewings. It's at this point that you'll need to stop seeing the house as 'your home' and think of it as a property that will soon belong to someone else.
You can increase the chances of securing an offer by employing the age-old tactics of sprucing up your home to make it as attractive as possible to prospective buyers.
When viewers start knocking, you can start to see the market from a buyer's point of view. You may also want to look at the market yourself to find the new home you plan to move into.
Once you have an offer on your home and you are ready to sell, you'll need a conveyancing solicitor to complete the sale. You can search for a solicitor in your area on the Law Society website.
The buyer of your property will also have a solicitor, and once you have agreed on the sale, the solicitors will draw up contracts for the property's transfer of ownership.
The contracts will be exchanged between the solicitors and a completion date will be agreed. This will be the date that the ownership of the property legally passes from you to the buyer.
At this point the property no longer belongs to you, so there's nothing left to do but set a date for your move. You may want to enlist the help of the British Association of Removers, a body representing 500 of the UK's removal services.
Extend: If you have the money and space, you can convert your loft, basement or garage into a room. You can also add extra rooms to your existing walls, like with a conservatory or a room above the garage. Extending can add value as it increases the space and size of the house.
Install central heating: If your home isn't centrally heated you can increase its value by installing this throughout the house.
Double-glaze: You can easily boost your properties value either by getting an extra pane of glass added to your windows or having completely new windows installed.
Add a parking space: Adding a parking space to your property can increase your home's value significantly. The value goes up even more if you can add a garage, too.
Improve your outside space: Resurfacing your driveway improves the selling potential of your home if you have a smooth, new driveway free of pockmarks.
Redecorate: Changing the décor of your house can raise the value, but be careful or your home could inadvertently drop in value. Choose neutral colours for walls and flooring to make the property more attractive to potential buyers.
Re-use existing space: Try to make use of any extra space you have. For example if you have a walk-in wardrobe that isn't being filled, converting it to an en-suite bathroom could bump up the value significantly.