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Using a Buying Agent in London

Posted by Ugo Arinzeh on 26th March 2019
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In today’s video we’re going to be talking about why you should work with a buying agent to make sure you get the best property that’s for you.

Now if you liked any of this content or want to know more about the London property market, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel where we’re going to be putting out weekly videos on the London
property market and answer all your questions about buying, selling, renting, or managing property and the things you should think about.

Now, getting into the specifics of working with a buying agent. Now, this is not something that many buyers do in the UK simply because the market’s not set up that way having come over from America we’re very used to both sides working with an agent so the seller has an agent and the buyer has an agent and that means you have licensed professionals who are really looking after you and working on your behalf. So just because the market’s not as formal here in the UK it doesn’t mean that you need that service any less and they can’t bring real values, so make sure that you think about that and consider working with a buying agent instead of going out on your own. Why? Because really you’re buying the most expensive asset of your life so who’s really looking out on your behalf you wouldn’t think about representing yourself in court would you if you’re not trained as a lawyer? So why would you think about buying the most expensive asset of your life on your own.

The seller has an agent looking out for them and their goal is to get the most amount of money for their seller but who’s really looking out for you? And beyond just money, when you go out looking for a property, how do you know you’re actually seeing the best properties? How do you know that you’re
seeing everything that’s going to meet your criteria? Say you’re looking at an area such as, I don’t know, Maida Vale, you’ve got specific criteria and a budget and what you think you’re going to look for but maybe based on where you work or considerations as far as driving out to Heathrow if you travel regularly maybe there might be other neighborhoods that make more sense that have a look and feel of what you’re looking for and that are going to give you the best options.

When I work with buyers I really believe that I should start with what they have told me that they’re looking for and making sure that we have a really good conversation and it’s kind of an initial briefing consultation to really help understand what they’re looking for but also why and what makes that important. If I can understand that then that helps me give context because I can perhaps show them things that they might not have seen. Recently I worked with the buyer who initially said, and he
lived in Oxford, initially said he wanted to find a property more in Fulham and Chiswick, because those were established neighborhoods and really he didn’t want to be in a place that was ultra trendy and hip like East London where he’d lived in the past but I knew that he was going to be often taking the train into Paddington and Marylebone and so with that the neighborhood of Maida Vale made more sense and so we were able to show him how that area might compare, give him that well-established leafy village feel and more and then how why it made more sense logistically and ultimately that’s where we did end up finding him the property and I think he’s super thrilled and has written me a wonderful testimonial to say that.

So that’s one of the things I really want to make sure you understand – that an agent can bring to you is not just taking your initial criteria but making sure you see the whole of market that might suit. When you’re looking as a buyer on your own you’re typically reliant on the national portals like Rightmove and Zoopla but what if there might be properties that haven’t come on the market yet that might be worth your while?

Again, as an agent, we might know properties that have been withdrawn that are no longer available that a seller might still consider if they had a serious buyer. We also know that a lot of properties get sold in the “off-market” space, so they’ve never even come on the market so you want to make sure you’re working with an agent who might be able to show you all of what’s available that might suit your criteria.

One of the other things an Agent can do, particularly when it’s a couple, is really making sure you’re both on the same page as to what you’re looking for and why. One of the things I talk about when working with buyers is to make sure that we have a list of three/four must-haves and that’s the max that’s it. Why? Because London is about trade-offs and if you’ve got a list of ten things that you have to have we’re never going to find you the right property and you’re only going to get frustrated because your list is endless and really not realistic. So if we can establish, upfront, the most important things for you and get really clear on that, then that really helps me as I’m searching on your behalf as an agent to make sure that when I pre-screen and bring those properties to you and we do viewing days, then really we’re starting from the base of this is even in the realm of realistic options. So say for example you need to have off street parking because you have a car there’s no point in me showing you a property that doesn’t give you an off street parking option right? So it’s really clear that that’s important but also some people might say that they have to have a garden or it might have to have a good sized two bedrooms because although there’s lots of two bedrooms out there they’re not not all created equal. It’s really important we get clear on those three or four must haves, an agent who knows what they’re doing, could help you get clear on that up front and it also is really helpful that when we do find those properties down the road that have those three or four must-haves they might have some other things that you’ll have to give up, some other trade-offs but again if we’re clear on those three or four must-haves it makes it really
easy to kind of dismiss things that don’t work but also focus on the things that we said from the beginning were important. Now those can change over time but the role of a good agent is to really make sure we keep ourselves accountable on that process.

The other thing an agent can really do for you is to give you the market information. Now would you agree the more you know about a particular area or market – what’s happening – the more empowered it’s going to make you when it comes to making an informed decision but also a really good offer? One of the things again when working with buyers we make sure we help them understand is what are the dynamics? If it is a buyer’s market, we know we probably are in a fairly strong position to negotiate, but it doesn’t mean we should be unrealistic in terms of the offers we present because one thing I do know is those good properties are selling regardless of what the market is so if we’ve taken the time to find you that right property that when we put together an offer we want to make sure you have all the information you need to understand why we should go in with a really strong offer.

And that actually reminds me, when we even start working with you as a buyer let’s be clear on what that budget is, how much equity you’re going to need, you’ve gotten all that financing together, you’re really comfortable in terms of the budget that we can work with, and then that also helps when we go to make the offer, because my job as an agent is to make sure I position and present you as a really strong buyer who is going to actually complete on the sale. In this market, in the UK unfortunately a lot of properties can get gazumped, or you can fall out of bed over time, so if we have the ability to present you as a strong buyer, who knows what they’re doing, who’s working with an agent, who’s invested in an agent, the seller’s take that really seriously as done the selling agent because now they know that they’re really negotiating and working with somebody who knows what they’re doing. So that’s something really
important and when we present that offer we want to frame it such that the seller is going to give you the strongest consideration.

I’ve sold properties on behalf of sellers sometimes sellers have taken a buyer who has not necessarily presented the highest offer, if they are in the best position to complete and if that’s really important for a seller who’s desperate to sell or it has a chain and ready to buy their next property then it’s really important they’re working with the buyer who can actually complete and that also means helping you be prepared with having your solicitor, having your financing, having everything in place so that we’re ready to go.

The other key thing is just simplifying that whole process. When you go to start looking, navigating with dozens of agents is not a pleasant thing and I work with so many buyers who started it on their
own and have decided and given up and say “look you know what I’m a professional my time is too busy” and that really is the question what is your time worth and do you want somebody who’s living breathing property every single day and walking the streets of London as I say or do you want to have to take precious family time trying to even figure out how to start? So, that’s the rule of a really good agent as well, it’s just simplifying the whole process.

If you have any questions about using an agent to buy your property, and you’re thinking about working with an agent and want to understand the value a good agent can bring then please get in touch.

Make sure to like this video on YouTube and subscribe to my channel to get regular tips on the London property market.

Bye for now!

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