It wasn’t long ago that using a buying agent was considered rather avant-garde. Hiring a professional to do something that most people believed they could do perfectly adequately for themselves seemed a luxury reserved for the cash-rich-time-poor, or for those relocating from overseas.
While buying agents have become increasingly mainstream, they’ve never been so much in demand as over the last year. Established buying agents find themselves reluctantly having to turn away clients whose requirements clash with existing clients; and new buying agents are cropping up all over in the country, especially in high-profile hotspots such as Devon, Cornwall and the Cotswolds.
If you’re in the market for a buying agent to help you secure a property, how can you choose? What does a good buying agent look like? What’s the difference between a buying agent that earns every penny of their fee, and one that is an expensive mistake?
James Greenwood of Stacks Property Search, a buying agent that has been in business for over thirty years, and has a network of twenty offices throughout England, says, “The ‘search’, ‘buying’ and ‘relocation’ product offered varies dramatically from one company to another. Many small ‘kitchen table’ organizations simply offer a finding service, while other more established companies offer much more.
“While the ‘search’ element of the service is important, much of the value comes before the search starts, and after a suitable property has been found. As a starter, buyers should seek out an agent that’s experienced, an excellent negotiator, well informed, well known in the industry locally, and is a member of the ARP (Association of Relocation Professionals). They should have associated qualifications and they should know the area they cover inside out. They should be registered with the various regulatory bodies, and they should do all the background and money laundering checks.
“These are the minimum requirements. But to further narrow down your choice, you’ll need to look a bit closer.