Prime movers in the world of property

January 13, 2024
2 mins read

How hiring an agent can make your search for a home easier

By Hannah Ricci

If only buying a house was as easy as on TV – you’d invite some property gurus round for a cup of tea, tell them what you’re after, and off they would go, coming back half an hour later with the perfect house at the perfect price. Property search agents claim to offer such ease, taking the legwork out of looking and the hassle out of haggling. They basically find you a fabulous property without you having to lift a finger.

While search agents are often viewed as an exclusive service for buyers at the higher end of the market, more and more house-hunters are turning to them for help. For the time-pushed, inexperienced, or those wishing to relocate, property search consultants or ‘homefinders’ promise to save you time and money, by providing a stress-free professional service.

First off the mark

So what can these professional house hunters offer, that you couldn’t do yourself? The process starts by meeting with a search agent – face to face or over the phone – to discuss your requirements; the areas you are interested in; your budget; and how flexible you are prepared to be. They will then arrange a schedule of viewings, and accompany you if you wish.

As consultants have so many contacts, they’re often the first to view properties – sometimes before they are advertised – and find out about those being sold privately, or discreetly by agents. And because estate agents, developers and private sellers know that only serious buyers hire brokers, they frequently offer first refusal.

Preview benefits

The agent will do all the leg-work. Consultants’ expert knowledge of markets and localities also avoids wasting time looking in unsuitable areas. For example, they’ll look out for traffic problems, noise pollution and what the neighbourhood is like. Some property search consultants include all this in the service, whereas others charge extra.

If you have spotted a potential property yourself, you can also make use of the ‘property preview service’ offered by many companies. Usually for a fee, the agent will provide a detailed, unbiased report on the property, with photos. Again this is useful for people who are incredibly busy, and saves time for those who might travel miles to see a property that looks good on paper, but in reality could be a disappointment.

Smoothing the way

The majority of homebuyers who use search consultants, find a home they want to buy relatively quickly. Once they’ve found a property you like, your agent will start negotiating on your behalf. “Unlike homebuyers we don’t develop emotional attachment to properties, so are open to hard negotiation,” says Ayre. “Depending on the value of the properties we’re dealing with, we can save anything from £5,000 to £50,000.”

Once an offer has been accepted it doesn’t end there. On your instruction, search agents can contact solicitors to arrange contracts, and ensure everything goes smoothly through to legal exchange and completion. They can also help recommend mortgage and insurance brokers, architects and planning consultants as well as interior and garden designers, builders and removal companies. RSJ Property Search in Dorset offers a move-management service, where the firm collects the keys, opens up the property for the removal firm and looks after utility meter readings.

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