“We would like to thank you for all your support with our house purchase, particularly in helping to manage the process over the last few weeks…. We got there in the end and we really are very grateful for all your help.”
We are frequently approached by buyers who have been looking for months and simply can’t find what they are looking for. In the days before computers, a selling agent would probably concentrate on a ‘hot box’ of no more than 50 to 100 applicants – now, with buyers increasingly focussing their search through internet property portals, agents have a data base of buyers which can run to the thousands.
No – as we are confident that we will be ‘first with the news’! Obviously, we would want to make clear to agents who our clients are (to avoid them concluding that they had two purchasers, not one!).
There are always a few properties that are kept ‘under wraps’ for a marketing launch – but even they are often released to search agents a few days before open marketing begins.
In common with all the main search agencies, our contract is ‘exclusive’ (in other words, entitling us to our commission no matter who sources the property) but it would be highly unusual if it wasn’t through us – and we wouldn’t dream of charging a full fee if our client sourced a property which we could not have found (although such personal circumstances usually mean that our clients prefer us to act in negotiations).
We think so. We act entirely for you and our primary focus is to acquire the property you want. . Our competition – many of whom are the ‘buying arm’ of established national estate agencies – can sometimes find themselves straddling both sides of the fence – we believe that buying and selling within the same organisation can cause blurred vision!
Over the years, we have established a track record for absolute discretion; selling agencies and our contacts know that we will respect confidential information.
We take great care to steer clear of any likelihood of a ‘conflict of interest’ by avoiding taking instructions from two clients with a similar brief. Indeed, over the fifteen years we have been acting, such an event has never happened. In theory, as there might always be some overlap between clients’ requirements, it is not impossible that this could arise – in which event, having brought the property to both their attention, we would declare our conflict to both parties and recommend another agent to help whichever client had instructed us later than the other (we would waive our fee in the event that their purchase was successful).
Not at all – we focus as much on what our clients don’t want, as on what they do (for example, in fixing the boundary of their search area, or on factors such as an aversion to busy roads or low beams). We try to advise our clients as soon as a potentially suitable property comes up, preview it for them (with additional photographs, etc), before exploring whether they both feel it is worth viewing for themselves.
Recommending that a client makes a journey of possibly thousands of miles, to view a property, does concentrate the mind – so we try to ensure that they know as much as possible about its attractions (and pitfalls) before they decide to fly. We have been known to video apparently suitable houses, so that they gain an impression of how the house ‘flows’.
We are quite happy to collect clients from Gatwick or Heathrow – indeed, we have handled day-trip viewings from the other side of the world.
As planning consent can take three or four months to obtain, few vendors will wait for our clients to obtain absolute assurance on extensions or alterations. That said, Permitted Development Rights allow extensions that do not require planning permission, in certain circumstances – and we know a wide range of professionals – architects, planning consultants, etc. – who are likely to give them an opinion or undertake the right enquiries with the local Planning Department.
The right professionals can frequently give an opinion as to the likely outcome of a Listed Building application (normally an area so subjective it is difficult to anticipate an answer).
The old adage: ‘A house is only worth what someone is prepared to pay for it!’ remains as true now as it did a century ago – and as buying a house is always a tussle between heart and head, there is no ‘right’ answer.
What we can do is provide you with research to help point you in the right direction:
We watch the market continuously – we know how long a property might have been for sale and what price adjustments might have been made over that period. As well as advising on the right approach to value, we assess the history of the marketing of the property, the vendors’ motivation to sell and the approach being adopted by the selling agent.
We agree with our clients what they intend to be included within their offer – whether fixtures and fittings (such as carpets, curtains, light fittings etc.), or in building in an option to purchase additional land, etc. We try to think beyond the frame.
In communicating with owners through their agents we always build their confidence by underlining our clients’ ability to proceed and by emphasising that they have factored into their offer the further costs likely to be highlighted in a survey.
“Thank you for all your support, particularly over the last three months as you helped wrestle our purchase to the ground…. We have really enjoyed working with you. You have provided boundless energy and enthusiasm and have been a great source of advice. House buying is such a complicated and stressful process. Your experience and balance has been invaluable and I am not sure we would have managed t without you. We will recommend you unreservedly to family and friends.”