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The buying agent

Buying agents are, says James Greenwood, a great go-between for buyers and estate agents, guiding the buyer, smoothing the path to completion.

James Greenwood

Thatched cottage imageMost estate agents go out of their way to make the buying/selling agent relationship a constructive one, but, historically, there was a level of suspicion amongst estate agents. Were buying agents in competition with them? Would they expose overpricing? Would their interference ‘spoil’ a sale?

Clients appreciate the value of professional advice, assessing value and negotiating terms.

These days, buying agents are mainstream and estate agents are generally enthusiastic about working with them, recognising the benefits. Once a sale is agreed, it’s in both the buying and the selling agent’s interest to see the transaction through to a successful end. Both are after a fair and sensible outcome on behalf of their clients. When both parties are professionally represented emotions are much less likely to upset the process. 30-40 per cent of agreed sales fail to reach completion; the fall through rate amongst Stacks buyers is just three per cent.

THE BUYING AGENT’S ROLE

Buying agents are very useful to selling agents at an early stage in the selling process. It’s not uncommon for an estate agent to have a buying agent’s viewing day, often before marketing material has been produced. Buying agents represent a good source of buyers and their reaction and comment is helpful, and input can be utilised when preparing marketing material.

There are many ways in which the involvement of a good buying agent ensures a smooth and successful transaction.

James Greenwood image

James Greenwood

We can give the vendor and their agent a balanced view of our client’s position and the depth of their commitment to a particular property. Prior to a search starting, we qualify our clients and have a full understanding of their circumstances, requirements and ambitions. This information is cemented in professional terms and largely shared with the selling agents. Our aim is to find solutions to difficulties before they become a problem. Highlighting issues that may need some resolution at an early stage gives everyone time to get them resolved. We also ensure that surveys and other inspections are undertaken quickly, reporting back to the estate agent promptly, finding ways to resolve issues raised by these inspections.

We maintain good communications between all parties, observing and respecting all established protocols. We keep the selling agent fully informed at all times, working with them around delays, problems, and the usual ups and downs of the buying process. Solicitor speaks to solicitor, keeping buying and selling agent, and their own client informed; and principals (buyer and seller) speak to each other. This system has been proven to work well time and time again; if an anxious, uninformed buyer starts trying to speak to the vendor’s solicitor, a good system can go awry.

Buying agents can come in handy when agents are struggling to progress a sale because the vendor can’t find anything they want to buy. It’s not uncommon for a vendor who has found a buyer, but hasn’t found a property to buy, to panic and decide to pull out of the sale. Third party independent advice, and a view on the market from a buyer’s perspective, can provide the encouragement they need to stick to their plan. 90 per cent of the people we speak to about their buying needs go on to buy a property, whether they use us or not.

CHANGING TIMES

In the early days of the industry, buying agents were seen as exclusive advisors, usually the preserve of the very wealthy, or overseas buyers who simply weren’t in a geographical position to find their own property. But as the size of the market has grown, buying agents have refined their product, and offer more diversity and better value for money. 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.

It’s anticipated that an ever-increasing number of purchasers, recognising the benefits of being professionally represented at an early stage in the buying process, will be represented by a buying agent over the course of the coming years. The search process, and the buying agents’ knowledge of ‘off market’ properties, used to be the main incentive for a client to instruct a buying agent. Now they appreciate the value of the professional advice on offer, including analysing the property, assessing its value, negotiating the price and terms, securing the deal, and progressing the sale in such a way that it reaches its conclusion successfully and with minimal drama.

It’s ironic that buying agents are often considered the preserve of the super-rich, for whom surgically negotiating the very best price is not necessarily that important. For buyers working under normal financial conditions, the savings of time, money and heartache that buying agents deliver can be hugely important – the difference between affording and securing a property – or not.

www.stacks.co.uk

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