Why should you pick a buying agent to help you buy a property in the Cotswolds?
Firstly, what exactly is a buying agent or a search agent as they are sometimes referred to?
Well, put simply, it is the reverse of a selling agent, or an estate agent, who acts on behalf of the vendor whereas, a buying agent will act solely on behalf of the buyer. A Cotswold buying agent will help level the field. Buying agents or search agents are in close communication with the estate agents and local community all the time and generally will know what is coming to market before anybody else.
Estate agents will work closely with their network of buying agents as they know that the buying agent’s clients are very serious, having appointed a buying agent, with an upfront retainer and a pre-agreed fee or commission. As we all know there are always a lot of time-wasters in the world of property sales, so with buying agents, much of the sifting out of property-gazers, has already been done by the buying agents. Their clients are pre-qualified, with very specific briefs and finances lined up, so both estate agents and private home owners are assured that they are dealing with bona fide, serious buyers.
But why, as a buyer, hire a Cotswold search agent?
Here are 7 reasons why!
1. Area Knowledge
You cannot underestimate a Cotswold buying agent’s knowledge of their local patch, a detailed understanding of the area, in this case the Cotswolds, and what they can bring to the table. We are talking schooling, local infrastructure, planning, planes, trains and automobiles (is the house next to a cut through or is the road very busy at certain times of the day??). Even mobile phone strength and WiFi infrastructure can be key decision-making factors. Where is the “in” village right now or where perhaps more importantly is the next “in” village or the next ‘must live’ area going to be? We have seen North Cotswolds fly, Daylesford, then Soho Farmhouse, Cotswold Distillery, then Diddly Squat….what and where is next?!! You cannot put a price on buying in the wrong place!
How many of us are time poor? How many of us are buying a holiday cottage or a second home in an area where we are at least a couple of hours away? Maybe you live abroad and are re-locating? Leave the communication with your buying agent (who likes calling estate agents anyway!), let them dig out any private owners tempted to sell, appointment-making, property previewing and produce a short-list of the most suitable properties for you to consider. They will also make sure they have worked up a solid brief from you as often a badly thought through brief will end up in wasted viewing appointments. Let’s face it, buying a home, a second home or an investment is a full-time job, so use an expert to take the hassle away!
This is an interesting area and has risen sharply through the pandemic. A good buying agent will be well integrated into the local community, have excellent contacts and should be able to “dig out” a few owners willing to sell off-market. These properties may or may not see their way onto Rightmove or into estate agency windows, but what you are paying for is getting first dibs, first chance to get in the door…..how often do you not even hear about a property until it is under offer? Whether it is off-market, pre-market or on-market, a good buying agent, in a competitive market will make it their job to get you in front of the property as quickly and quietly as possible.
Assessing values, testing the estate agent, again this comes back to a sub-heading we have already explored, i.e. time, but more specifically your buying agent will conduct hours of research into every aspect of a property, the area, the history, the motivation behind why it is being sold, who owned it previously, recent sale prices, historical issues, maybe old structural surveys, and ultimately this research will put you in a far stronger position for next key point, which is either avoidance or negotiation and offer acceptance.
A property is generally the most expensive personal asset that most of us will ever buy, so use a professional who knows what they are doing.They can be worth their weight in gold. In most cases a buying agent will save you money, not cost you money, as they will understand property values better than anyone in their patch, be able to provide good and sensible comparisons, as opposed to what the vendor’s agents will show you! Some agents will tie commission to savings made on asking price and so make sure that both yours and their interests are aligned, make sure that your buying agency benefits from only your commission through their purchase and negotiation on your behalf. And remember, it is not all about price, some deals can be done based on the position of the buyer, and your ability to proceed.
Part of a buying agent’s role is to hand-hold, advise and support you through the process. If you are first-time buyer you may well want someone by your side. A buying agent will bring experience, and remove a great deal of time and stress, to gather information, do the local interrogation, get the facts and ultimately give you the confidence to purchase. A good buying agent will take time to understand exactly what you are looking for and why. As well as buying first homes for clients, many buying agents will understand investor strategy or the holiday home market in their area, in this case the Cotswolds, and be able to advise on return from best in class holiday lets that will generate an excellent yield and ROI.
7. Exchange, completion and post-completion
This is an area often forgotten when appointing a Cotswold buying agent. The job is not finished once the offer is accepted. Now the real process starts, getting to exchange and completion! A good buying agent will help you through many of the conveyancing issues, including recommendation of good solicitors, surveyors/valuers, bankers and mortgage brokers. A buying agent’s “little black book” of contacts should all be part of the service, so once you have completed on your dream property, some agents will also offer advisory services post-completion, such as property project management, planning and development, build and interior design.
Finally, where do you go to find a Cotswold buying agent?
As a holiday let agency, StayCotswold are often approached by buying agents asking our advice on what makes a successful holiday home in the Cotswolds, so we have our own recommended list.
Our first recommendation is to speak with The Cotswold Letting Agency, based in Burford.
01993 684 572