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What is a Property Search Agent?

Thursday, May 1, 2014
10:12 AM

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Nearly all of us use an estate agent when selling a property in Cornwall. The proportion of vendors managing the process privately remains very small indeed. Why is it that buyers, whether upsizing or downsizing, do not look for professional help more often, bearing in mind that the estate agent is paid solely by the seller and is therefore totally justified in working with their interests in mind?

Buyer’s agents have existed for decades but were historically seen as a service for the very wealthy. Changes in the property market and the overall pace of life have led to a rapid increase in use of buyer’s agents in the UK. It is highly probable that if you put your home on the market in the South West one of the interested parties will be represented by a property search agent so it is important to understand their role.

What does a buyer’s agent do?

A buyer’s agents role can be divided in to two distinct parts, finding the property and then making sure you succeed in purchasing it.

In order to identify the perfect property they will spend considerable amounts of time taking a detailed brief, often travelling long distances to meet you in your own home. They need to know far more than just the type of house, for them to work most effectively they have to understand how you think.

Thanks to their in- depth local knowledge a Homefinder will be first to hear of both property available for private sale and those heading towards the market via an estate agent. As suitable properties come to their attention they will arrange to view them straight away and pick up the phone to you as soon as they have viewed anything that matches your requirements. They will take you to view the most appropriate properties and subsequently answer any questions that may arise. Should you wish to proceed they will advise you on the best way forward, agree an action plan and then conduct the price negotiations on your behalf.

The second part of their job is to work alongside the relevant professionals, estate agents, solicitors, surveyors etc, to ensure that the process is as stress free as possible for the buyer. Thanks to their considerable local knowledge they will be able to point you in the direction of local services that may be required before exchange of contracts can take place. This can include anything from solicitors and surveyors to builders and letting agents.

Why are so many more people using a buyer’s agent?

If you are house hunting a long way from home employing an independent agent may significantly reduce the travelling while keeping you up to date with relevant local information. They will view properties on your behalf, talk them through, and only bring you down to see something that closely matches your needs. They will often pick you up at an agreed location and drive you to and from the properties including a drive around the local area if it is not familiar to you.

If the property you seek is likely to be in high demand a buyer’s agent will often be able to get you through the door of a house before it formally comes to the market.

Anyone using a buyer’s agent will pay a retainer fee to employ his or her services, followed by a percentage of the purchase price. From a sellers point of view this is strong evidence that accepting an offer from this buyer is both 100% “serious” and will be managed by the buyers agent to ensure timeframes are met.

Property Search Agents have a strong relationship with the estate agents. A private buyer will usually only buy one house from an agent so the agent will not be anticipating repeat business. Buyer’s agents will work for a small number of clients at any one time, often conducting a number of purchases from the same estate agent each year.

Do I need to use a buyer’s agent?

Work out what you could gain by using a Relocation or Buyer’s Agent, not everyone lives a hectic life but most of us will find large elements of the service that we could benefit from.

It is important to bear in mind that you have nothing to lose by having a conversation with a Buyers Agent. Much of their business comes by word of mouth from other satisfied customers so it is not in their interests to sell you a service that you do not need. The key to the most effective use of Home Search is to choose someone who you have met face to face, who listens, considers your requirements, asks questions and understands your needs.

For property buyers in Cornwall purchasing anything from a bungalow or cottage to a farmhouse or smallholding, the savings of time, money and heartache that a Property Search Agent can deliver can be hugely important - the difference between being able to afford and secure a property or not.

For further information about Property Search in Cornwall please contact Nicola Oddy, Regional Director of Stacks Property Search nicolaoddy@stacks.co.uk 07770901348

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