Busting the myth about who uses home search

Phil and Kirsty’s ‘Location, location, location’ got many of us got hooked on property voyeurism. We watch them helping couples who have been unsuccessfully searching alone for years to find the ‘one’, who as a last resort apply to a TV show, in the hope that they will find what they’ve been unable to alone.

Despite the profile boost the home search industry has received from programmes like this, most people still think that home finding really only exists on TV or that it’s the domain of the super wealthy.

When asked what we do, the most frequent response is, “Oh I bet you get to see some lovely houses!”, swiftly followed by, “I wish we’d know about you guys because it was so stressful, we lost out on some really great houses”, or, “It took us so long to find our house because we wasted so much time viewing houses that online had looked so perfect.”

To add to the confusion, what we do is called various things. We can be called ‘property search agents’, ‘home finders’, ‘home search agents’, ‘property acquisition agents’ or ‘buying agents’. There are a number of us dotted around the country and a plethora in London.

In a nutshell, we do what you see on the TV. We find houses that are most suitable for our clients. We view as many as are on the market in the client’s budget. We think outside the box for them too – viewing houses in great locations under budget, that have the ‘potential’ to be the end house the clients are looking for. We open up areas to clients that they have never heard of, but following their brief we know they’ll love. This might be because it has the community and lifestyle they’ve envisaged, or simply because the commute/ school run logistics will work better.

Digging a little deeper, the relationships with the estate agents is invaluable to getting access to the better houses on the market first. With hundreds of names on a database of online applications for estate agents to contact when a house comes onto the market – how can you stand out? That’s where the search agents come into their own. Estate agents know that as a buying agent has been engaged, the client is definitely serious about moving and they are not time wasters, which as you can imagine is the bain of their existence.

Most home search agents will only take you on if you are actually in a position to move or ‘proceedable’. This means that your current home is either under offer or you are in rented accommodation so chain free. If not, most agents will suggest you wait until you are at least under offer before they start house hunting for you. This means that you will have access to properties that are only being marketed to serious buyers, plus it saves heartache down the line when your dream house is sold to somebody in a stronger position to move than you are.

The next layer is the discreet market – who only want serious buyers and ultimately discretion, who often work with estate agents but who don’t want the world and his wife traipsing through their gaff, so again only professional search agents and buyers in good positions will even be notified about these gems.

Finally, there is ‘private market’ which happens at the school gates, at dinner parties and from vendors asking around in their local community.

Without a stroke of luck or maybe a friend in the know in the area you intend to move to, all of these relationships are hard for an ‘outsider’ or newbie to break into. So, having a home search agent on the ground, working for your best interests, does give you an advantage, notwithstanding the fact that speed is often of the essence. If a really fab property comes up, they can be at a viewing in half an hour of being told about it.

Then there’s the negotiation – you may feel very happy to do this yourself but with all these things sometimes having a buffer in between allows you to dictate what you want to happen and let the ‘professional’ thrash it out for you. With years of experience of doing this, your property search agent should be able to get the right price for a property.

You are waiting for the ‘but’….how much does all this cost?
We charge you an upfront fee of £500 for 3 months of house hunting – we often look at up to 30-50 houses for a client in this time frame. If you haven’t found your house within this period of time you can extend as you wish, on a rolling monthly basis. We then charge 1% of the cost of the house when we do find it for you. The service doesn’t stop there – most agents will help you with all aspects of the physical move, which can really help with the stress levels involved with relocating to a new area.

Property Potential Surrey
Maranda 07776 779993
Jen 07776 779998