Buying a property can feel like an overwhelming and time-consuming process. The upheaval of trying to search for the right property that meets your requirements, getting ahead of other purchasers and finding properties before they do, or the challenges of trying to find a new home if you are based abroad. It’s no wonder that a growing number of property buyers are turning to a Buying Agent to help relieve some of the stress.
Buying Agents are not just used by those with a lavish budget. Not everyone wants to spend their weekends viewing endless properties, and those with very specific requirements may need to scout homes that aren’t on the market. Using a Buying Agent not only alleviates a lot of the time and stress of home hunting, they can also find properties that don’t even make it to the property portals.
If you’re thinking of using a Buying Agent and want to find out whether they’re the right fit for you, we’ve put together eleven questions to ask them before you engage them in your quest to find your perfect home.
What is your knowledge of the local area?
Your Buying Agent should have in-depth knowledge of the local area you want to move to. They should have good knowledge of properties, house prices and a network of estate agent and other professional contacts to make sure they are the first to hear about any new properties. It helps if they live locally to the area too, so that it’s convenient for them to view properties as soon as they hear about them.
How many clients do you work with at any one time?
A good Buying Agent will only take on a certain number of clients at any one time. It’s important to ask about their current capacity for taking on new clients to ensure you receive a personal and high quality service where your needs can be fulfilled. You should also ensure that they are not working for clients with very similar requirements to avoid any potential conflict of interest.
How do I know the Buying Agent is reputable and professional?
A reputable Buying Agent should be registered with The Property Ombudsman (TPO) and follow their code of practice for Residential Buying Agents. In the unlikely event that you have a complaint that can’t be resolved internally, TPO can consider complaints against TPO Members against these obligations. Buying Agents are also required to register with HMRC for anti-money laundering purposes.
Is my budget realistic?
Asking this question will demonstrate how well the Buying Agent knows the local market and whether they understand what prices are being achieved in the current market.
Do you hear about properties that are not on the market?
More people are choosing to sell their property privately or discreetly, and it’s vital that your Buying Agent can source both on-market and off-market properties that fulfil your requirements.
What role do you play in the negotiation process?
The vendor usually has an estate agent to represent them so using a buying agent makes the negotiation process more balanced. Once your Buying Agent has found the right property for you, negotiating the right price and seeing the deal go through smoothly right through to completion is an integral part of the service and can be key to a successful purchase. Your Buying Agent can be dispassionate in the negotiations because they are not emotionally involved in the purchase, and this can work to your advantage.
Even in a highly competitive market, they can make real savings for their clients; advising on best offers and strategy to secure the most advantageous deal possible for you.
What other services do you provide as well as finding the right property?
Finding the right property is only once piece of the jigsaw. Depending on your situation, you may need your Buying Agent to give you a tour of the area you’re moving to, or you may need help and advice choosing the right local schools, a solicitor or surveyor. This extra support will all help ensure you make the right choices for you and your family.
Meeting your Buying Agent in-person
It is always recommended to meet your prospective Buying Agent in person so you can have a relaxed and open conversation about what you are looking for and your expectations. A home is such a personal purchase – and it’s important that your Buying Agent really understands your likes and dislikes before starting the search so that they can view through your eyes. Building a rapport and a strong working relationship from the outset is crucial to success.
How much do you charge?
It’s important for your Buying Agent to be transparent about their fees. Most will charge an initial retainer and a final fee payable on success.
Can I speak to one of your past clients about your service?
We all know how important it is to hear feedback and read reviews before deciding whether to purchase a product or service, and hiring a Buying Agent is no different. Don’t be afraid to ask whether you can speak to one of their past clients who can give an honest and fair view about their experience of working with you.
Do you offer advice on solicitors?
Buying Agents deal with solicitors and other professionals on a daily basis so it’s helpful to ask their recommendations. There should be no obligation to work with a particular company but it does help if they have a good working relationship with them to help your purchase complete smoothly.
It’s worth speaking to a number of Buying Agents before making a decision, as it’s important you work with someone you get along with, has good knowledge of the area you are moving to, and you feel has a clear understanding of your needs.
Contact us today to see how we can help you and decide whether we’re the right fit for you.