Where to Search for Property?

April 2020

What are the best ways to find property? What are the pros and cons?

Where to Search for Property?

First option is to search online. My recommendation is to use and look at Rightmove, which has the biggest market share of online activity, but also another website called OnTheMarket, and this is a new emerging website. And what happened with OnTheMarket is the properties tend to get released early on. Do be aware though with all websites, the information on there is sometimes old. It can be up to 24 to 48 hours old. Because at the end of the day, you’re relying on service to synchronize, and of course you’re relying on the human element and the agent actually clicking the button. So there is a bit of a pitfall. The other recommendation is also to look at nethouseprices.com and also a little app which runs behind the scenes called Property Bee, and this works with your browser and gives you a bit more detailed information about properties that are live and on the market.

The next option is of course through your estate agent. The most important thing is to build the rapport with them. And I always say to clients, pinpoint the most appropriate agents, i.e., those agents that are most likely going to be seeing the properties most akin to your search. When you first see them, meet them face to face just to get that initial relationship going. Your criteria should be brief. The number of times I saw in my career people coming in with full sites [SP] of A4 of writing, that’s just not going to interest an agent. And therefore, if he’s not interested, he’s not necessarily going to help you out. So keep your criteria very brief. You also want to be the first person that agent thinks of. So when he goes out to a market appraisal on a property, he need to always have you in the back of their mind. The other important thing is try angle it so that you are using yourself as the introduction, so an agent can go value a property because he knows that he’s got Mr. and Mrs. Smith in the back of his mind, they’re ready, procedural [SP] and they’re very keen to buy.

The next option is what’s termed “private approaches”. And this is really down to individuals writing letters to specific properties. And whilst that may sound good in that you are being that specific, the problem occurs whereby it may not be taken seriously, or indeed if the homeowner does not actually want to sell but you’ve prompted them into thinking of selling, you may actually end up having to pay over the odds to incentivize them to leave. So it’s a slightly limited approach but can also consume a huge amount of your time, so just be careful of it.

The final option is a buying agent such as myself. State agents like us because we’ve prequalified you as a client, they know that we are [inaudible 00:02:52], that they are going to be reliable and secure buyers. And at the end to the day, as I’ve previously mentioned, it’s all about being this termed “preferred purchaser”. We also have the ability to have, if you like, agent to agent conversations, whereby I am more likely as an ex-agent and knowing a lot of the local estate agents, they’re more likely to give me a smidge more information than they are perhaps to yourself and the general public. The other advantage of the buying agent is that any strong negotiation that we carry out, any discounts that we get effectively pays for our fee. And the other thing to bear in mind is this off-market sector. This off-market sector is very much a big up and coming era [SP] of the market, very big in London at the moment and it’s emanating out. And what this is is properties that are not in the public domain, they’re not necessarily known about by estate agents, and it’s about going directly through my contacts, house owners, and other property professionals that I know to get my clients through the door and again as the nominated preferred purchaser.


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