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How to Search for Property?

April 2020

Full transcript below:

Alex: So, where are you going to search for your next property? As I see it there are four options. You can of course search online with all the array of websites out there. Of curse as we said the estate agents. We’ve got what’s called private approaches. And you’ve got a buying agent, which is one of the services that I do. Online to my way of thinking, two main websites to be mindful of, Rightmove is the biggest in terms of market share online at the moment, a force to be reckoned with. The other website which some people have heard of is On The Market and that launched in January this year. The key with On the Market is it’s actually owned by the estate agents themselves as a big group, as a big entity. The advantage of this is that in some instances properties will be released onto On The Market website earlier than they will any other website. So, if you subscribe to on the market it’s likely that you will hear about properties first before anyone else, which is the key when you come to buy, you want to be front of the queue. That is very much caveated and do be mindful that once a property does appear online you can be 24-48 hours out of date. When you come to search online, I often suggest use a draw-a-search function, don’t just do one of the pre-defined, I want a five-mile radius, actually draw the area that you are interested in. And again, keep your search criteria fairly broad. Price-wise remember a website is not a human, it won’t build in a tolerance level, so if you’re looking up to £700,000 and it probably come on at £715, the website will not send you it. So again, just make sure you get that right. I always put in the bare minimum of bedrooms, so you’ve set the benchmark but leave it open-ended, again you need to calculate and compensate for the human element because sometimes agents do get it wrong, we are all human. They type in the wrong umber of bedrooms, so again you will always be made aware. And of course, go for what’s called immediate alerts rather than daily alerts. It just means you get it instantly as soon as it goes live. Other websites which we’ll talk about in a moment is Net House Prices and this gives land registry, what has actually physically sold in that street. And the other one which you may not have come across is something called Property B. Property B is a little app that sits behind web browsers, I think its Mozilla and Internet Explorer it sits behind, but basically when you’re on Rightmove it just gives you a bit more added information. Next way of searching is of course through estate agents and as I’ve said it’s all about buttering up the right estate agent. I used to see people zig zag across Printers Square going into absolutely every single estate agent, no point whatsoever, waste of your time, waste of estate agents time because he instantly thinks that you’re not being serious. Go into key agents that are seeing and selling the type of property that you’re interested in. Again, personal rapport, go in in person, stay in touch with them. Do keep your criteria brief, the number of times I had full sides of A4 saying our comments saying please can you find use something, goes straight in the bin. It should be 4/5 key criteria at the end of the day. And just with that rapport make sure you are in front of the estate agents mind so that when they go on a pitch or a market appraisal they’re thinking of you, they’ve eaten some of your cakes potentially or you saw them the other day, they’re thinking about you, so when they see the dream property for you they’re speaking with Mr Smith in the kitchen, he’s saying Mr Smith I’ve got the perfect person for you, Alex, I’m going to call him straight after this meeting, done, he steps out the door straight on the phone to you. It makes a lot of sense. People often say why is the estate agent sending me so many irrelevant properties, looks of no interest, at the end of the day it’s the human element. Unfortunately, as humans we’re just not logical, and although people think they want property A, very often they go for property J and an estate agent is there just t cover all eventualities because of that but also of course it’s just to build up your market knowledge and your sort of mental database at the end of the day as well. Private approaches, this does take a bit of time and this is effectively you personally writing to specific properties saying that you are interested in purchasing. Downside as I said, is the time element of you doing that but also the issue is that vendor, the house owner may not necessarily want to sell at that point and if they were unsure you’re probably going to have to pay over the odds to incentivise them to sell. So, it’ not necessarily all it’s cracked up to be. Fourth option Is buying agents. Estate agents tend to like them because effectively as a client, as a buyer, you’ve been pre-qualified. I go back, you’re seen as more reliable, more secure. You’ve got a buying agent on board so if there are any problems they can iron it out. It goes back to you being seen as the preferred purchaser it whatever transaction and very often the discount that a buying agent is able to obtain on a purchase, very often pays for his fee. He has access to off market properties and these are properties that are not necessarily listed with estate agents. It’s a private database of people that he knows or indeed it’s properties in estate agents bottom drawers they wouldn’t really mention to anyone else, again you’ve got that rapport, they’re more likely to do it and again its agent to agent type conversation. An estate agent is more likely to have a conversation with me or a fellow estate agent than he would with a general member of the public because at the end of the day I’ve got the rapport and I suppose you always look after your own in your type of business and arena.

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