Purchasing a stunning house with gardens running down to a beautiful sandy beach or a large country mansion surrounded by acres of parkland may be your dream but it is not a matter of searching on property websites or contacting an estate agent to fulfill that vision. Whilst in London and other cities there may be a numerous luxurious properties to choose from, perfect properties for sale in the country, and particularly on the coast, are few and far between and local knowledge is essential. This is when you may need some expert advice and guidance. Here are a few things to consider:
- Often the very best coastal and rural properties never hit the open market but change hands quietly without people ever being aware they were for sale.
- Even if they do reach the property portals, the distance to travel to view them may mean you miss the boat as someone else gets there before you.
- Then there is a question of price – do you know the local market and what an acceptable offer is likely to be? Once you have had an offer accepted on a property, how do you know who to trust to carry out a reliable survey or, once purchased, carry out any necessary repairs or renovations, etc.
The solution to these problems may lie in the hands of a property finder; otherwise known as a buying agent. A good property finder will know the local market inside out and be able to advise you on everything you need to know in relation to buying a property in their patch. They are acutely aware of what to look for and the right questions to ask. They will also know if a property is overpriced; the quirks in the local market which makes one location more desirable and, therefore, more expensive than another; and the areas most suitable for your requirements; whether you are looking for proximity to the finest restaurants, best beaches, good schools, etc. As well as finding you the perfect property, they will conduct the negotiations on your behalf, recommend surveyors, solicitors, tradesmen, etc. and micro-manage the process for you right through to exchange of contracts; thus saving you time, stress and money.
A good buyers’ agent will have strong relationships with local estate agents, land agents, solicitors, surveyors, estate owners, letting agents, tradesmen, and more. Appoint one and you’re not just getting their knowhow, you’re getting their whole team’s.
A firm grip on the past means also an educated forecast for the future. And while no one can know what’s going to happen, you’re better off in the hands of someone with an informed opinion who can steer you in the direction of what will be a good investment.
If the place you buy needs some renovation, or if there’s an issue that needs delving into more thoroughly, they can help connect you with the right experts, recommend tradesmen, etc. to get the job done.
Finally, if you’re buying an investment property, many buyer’s agents will also have strong contacts within letting agents which can make for a smooth transition from purchase to rental (it’s in everyone’s best interests to find the perfect property and get it rented as soon as possible).
Carol Peett, Managing Director of West Wales Property Finders, has specialized in the market in West Wales for 14 years and has an extensive network of contacts throughout the area. Almost 90% of the properties she finds for her clients never hit the open market, ensuring they get the pick of the crop. “There is no substitute for local knowledge and superb contacts”, she says. “When we are looking for a particular type of property in a certain area for a client, we will notify all our contacts on the ground in that particular area, including estate agents, land agents, builders, etc. and physically search the area for suitable properties matching the search criteria. We will talk to local trades people, farmers, publicans, postmen; anyone with good local knowledge; pick their brains and, once we have identified a suitable property, we will approach the owners and go all out to secure it for our clients”.
She recalls discovering a lovely Arts and Crafts riverside manor house set in 15 acres of glorious Pembrokeshire countryside which she knew would be ideal for one of her clients. She knocked on the door to ask if it might be for sale. Its elderly owners wanted to downsize but were worried about the fate of their two donkeys, Caper and Pickle, that had resided in their field for years and so felt unable to sell their house. Rather than miss the opportunity of the perfect house for her clients, she asked around until she found a local family willing to adopt the pair. Once the owners were satisfied their animals would be happy and settled for the rest of their lives Mrs Peett was able to arrange the purchase of the property for her clients.