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A number of our clients in London and the country are turning to the services of a property buying agent, not only to purchase £1million+ houses and apartments but also more modestly priced properties, for residential and sometimes investment purposes. Property buying agents’ fees are in line with the commission you would expect pay an estate agent to sell your home. So what do you get for your money?
1. See properties that never make the open market
Property buying agents often hear privately about newly available properties before anyone else does, being shown around a property before it is fully prepared for sale, because they have a personal contact or because the seller wishes to avoid publicity.
As Ed Foster, buying agent for Middleton Advisors in the northern Home Counties, puts it “We are constantly in the market place and have such good working relationships with the selling agents that they will speak to us before they call anyone else.”
2. Save valuable time
If you are moving to the country, do you have several weekends spare, plus a budget for hotel bills, to travel hundreds of miles to see relatively few properties?
“We’re in easy reach of the regional centres of Norwich, Ipswich, Cambridge, Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds so can offer an active search and acquisition service for anyone who wants to relocate to the area,” says Lisa Dawson of Jackson-Stops & Staff’s Bespoke
Property Search service in East Anglia.
If you are moving within London, how do you begin to select from the large number of properties available?
As James Geddes of Private Property Search notes, “In London, it’s not a geographical issue; you will probably be searching in a relatively small area. It is more the sheer volume of properties, especially in the £500,000 – £1million price range. We see over 100 properties a month so are well placed to offer a complete service from establishing the client’s brief to handling the search and acquisition process up to completion.”
A property buying agent will save you time, whether you face geographic challenges or a bewildering choice of property and don’t know where to start.
3. Save money
A property buying agent will negotiate on the buyer’s behalf; it’s their profession, they are not emotionally involved and can stand their ground.
“Finding a home is such an emotional thing. Agents can be the voice of reason as well as being absolutely on your side,” says Lisa Dawson.
4. Access to local knowledge
If you are moving area, you might not know the local amenities, villages, schools or whether planning permission has been granted on new developments. By listening to your detailed list of requirements, a property buying agent can direct you to the few places that fit your wish list. This is especially true of rural searches where the geographical area can be huge, but can be just as true of London searches, where long term initiatives such as Crossrail and HS2 will affect the infrastructure in various parts of the capital.
“We have just moved a client into a house where some of the adjacent land was being looked at for development in the local plan,” says Ed Foster. “Through our local network we found out, before the council meeting had even happened, that none of the immediate sites were being put forward for approval to the council and the recommended site was going to be 5 miles away. This gave our client the comfort they needed to purchase the house, where an unrepresented buyer could have pulled out for fear of the unknown.”
5. Personal support throughout the buying process
It is the property buying agent’s job to present their client as the best buyer so that it is their offer that gets accepted. To be a good buyer, you need your finances in place; either the mortgage needs to be ready or the cash immediately available. Buying agents work with leading independent mortgage brokers such as Private Finance, in order to ensure you get the right finance for your individual requirements. Agents also connect you with recommended surveyors, architects and builders (to give you accurate estimates for planned alterations and extensions) plus removal firms, decorators and local tradespeople who can quickly help to get you settled into your new home.
“With 15 years of experience, I act as a consultant, steering the client’s decision-making as well as the house-buying process,” says James Geddes. “People come to us because they don’t know exactly what they want, but they do know that they don’t have time.”
Always ask for references from someone who has already used the property buying agent you are considering. As with most professional services, the best agents rely on word of mouth referrals for the majority of their business.