Expert property finders are in the know but can charge up to 3pc in fees
For almost a year, Clare Coode has been working flat out, often waking at 4am and then toiling late into the night. She is a buying agent with Stacks Property Search, working in Cornwall’s frenetic property market.
“I found myself with double, then triple, the number of usual clients before having to start waiting lists and then say no,” said Ms Coode. “This was acutely painful, but you can’t spread yourself too thinly.”
As the housing market continues its gravity-defying trajectory, with countless tales of bidding wars and gazumping, increasing numbers of people are relying on buying agents to secure a home. In 2020, 7,820 homes in Britain were purchased using buying agents, accounting for 0.8pc of all property sales, according to Hamptons estate agency. Between January and April alone this year, they accounted for 4,930 purchases, or 1pc of all sales agreed, the highest share for a decade.
Buying agents were once the preserve of the rich, tasked with finding a luxurious property that ticked all their discerning clients’ boxes – whether that was a 40ft drawing room, perfect acoustics or the correct feng shui. But now people are using them to source more ordinary homes. David Fell, of Hamptons, said the average price of a property changing hands through a buying agent has dropped from £640,000 in 2012 to £428,000, in part driven by increasing numbers of property investors using them.
Another key factor is the huge increase in the number of homes being sold off-market, before they are advertised or listed on property websites. Buying agents will often be the first port of call for estate agents selling these off-market homes, while a good property finder will scour the land and raid their contacts book to find places that were never officially for sale in the first place, such as by approaching buyers they know could be persuaded to sell if they can do so quickly and discreetly.
Carol Peett, of West Wales Property Finders, http://www.westwalespropertyfinders.co.uk said about 90pc of the properties her firm had found for clients over the past 16 years never hit the open market. “This is even more important when there are 50-plus viewings for most good properties,” she said. “Buying off-market also prevents gazumping, as others do not know the property is being sold.”
With the pandemic causing a rush for space and making a daily commute to the office less important, buying agents are increasingly being used by people moving farther afield or to areas they don’t know. The average purchaser using a buying agent this year is moving 25.7 miles, up from just 13 in 2016, Hamptons said.
Some people’s wish lists are so exhaustive they need all the help they can get. Jennie Hancock, of the firm Property Acquisitions in West Sussex, said the most sought-after houses have swimming pools, tennis courts, water views and boot rooms, as well as outbuildings suitable for a home office, yoga studio or for Airbnb rentals. “Many clients also want village amenities, such as a good pub, shop, village green and cricket club. Some even ask for places with an annual fête or dog show.”
Buying agents help to seal the deal, advising on how much to bid, what else to include in an offer and, if necessary, when it is best to walk away. Sellers will often pick people represented by a buying agent over other, higher offers, according to Jo Eccles, of London-based Eccord. “We have won 85pc of competitive bidding situations we’ve entered and in 60pc of those we were not the highest bidder.”
Managing a purchase through to completion, dealing with any issues – from subsidence to septic tanks, flooding to footpaths – and chivvying along surveyors and solicitors, is another important role. Jess Simpson, of Jess Simpson Property Search, said: “Sellers, and sometimes buyers, behave badly – putting the price up at the point of exchange, renegotiating the terms or deciding not to sell at the last minute. Our job is holding the deal together and keeping everyone calm in what is a very emotive experience.”……………………
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/buy/get-access-dream-homes-sold-secret/ The Daily Telegraph – Saturday, 26th June 2021
If you are looking for a property in Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire or Ceredigion, give West Wales Property Finders a call on 01834 862816. We can find your perfect property for you whilst saving you time, stress and often money too.