The Facts about Buying Agents
Forgive me if I’m stating the obvious, but a buying agent works on behalf of the buyer. And it’s worth remembering that, however helpful an estate agent is being when you’re buying, he or she is working on behalf of the seller. When it comes to such a substantial purchase as a property, having someone working on your behalf makes sense. And that’s why the market has grown so dramatically over the last 20 years.
The ‘relocation’ product offered varies dramatically from one company to another. Some simply offer a ‘finding’ service; others, including Stacks, offer a full search and acquisition service including finding, analysing, negotiating, and pursuing the purchase through to a successful conclusion.
Buying agents are for anyone and everyone. They generally charge a fee that’s based on a percentage of the purchase price, so the less you spend, the less you pay. In some areas of the country, where demand for a particular kind of property is very high, using a buying agent has become very mainstream.
What should you expect from a buying agent?
Buyers benefit from their agents ability to find the right property quickly, often before it comes onto the market, but this is only the tip of the iceberg, and buyers should carefully check the extent of the service offered by individual agents that may include assessing value, negotiating price and terms, closing the deal, and progressing the sale in such a way that it reaches its conclusion successfully and with minimal drama.
The savings of time, money and heartache that buying agents deliver can be hugely important - the difference between being able to afford and secure a property or not.
How to choose a buying agent
• Make a shortlist of agents that properly cover the area in which you are looking to buy. Make sure there is a local representative, based in the region, who knows the area inside out.
• If the area you are looking in is extensive, is there a neighbouring representative who will contribute to the search?
• Do they do much in the price band you are interested in? Don’t use an agent who specialises in country estates to find you a cottage, and vice versa.
• What is their experience? Generally speaking it would be unwise to choose a buying agent who doesn’t have extensive residential property experience in some capacity.
• Are they members of the ARP (Association of Relocation Professionals) and do they have the associated qualifications?
• Do you like them?! It’s really important you get on well, and have an affinity, with your buying agent. You need to know that you’re being understood.
• Will they put effort into getting to know you? You should expect a buying agent to visit you at your home so they can gain an understanding of the way you live.
• What and how do they charge?
• Are they independent? Choose an agent without a conflict of interest your best interests are paramount.
• What support do they have? Individuals may have the search element of the service under control, but a network of experts who share experience and specialised knowledge is a useful asset when it comes to the intricacies of the negotiating and buying process.
You will gain plenty of insight into a buying agent by looking at their website and literature, but don’t make a final decision about who you use until you have established their strengths and weaknesses, and preferably met them.
A buying agent shouldn’t charge you for an initial consultation, so even if you’re still in two minds about whether to use one, there’s nothing to lose by meeting or phoning for a chat.
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