Finding and acquiring the right home in London can be highly stressful and time-consuming, as well as full of pitfalls that may not be apparent until well after the property is bought. A buying agent will have the experience and contacts to expertly source the perfect property for you, as well being able to negotiate the purchase to ensure you secure the best possible price. We have saved our clients up to 22% of asking prices on their purchase and these key points could help you do the same:

  1. Do your homework

Doing your homework is absolutely key. Spend as much time as possible researching your target area, even if you have lived there all your life. Spend a couple of months viewing a wide range of properties, both above and below your budget; only then will you appreciate how far your money will go and will gain a far better understanding of fair pricing.

Speak to local agents and don’t just rely on the big names. Often, small independent agents have been in the area the longest and have some real gems on their books. Agents also appreciate serious buyers who take the time to sit down and try to learn as much as possible about the local market. By the time you have spoken with five or so local agents, you should have a pretty realistic view of the market.

In terms of your purchase itself, take the time to understand the seller’s position. If their property has been on the market for long or they are in a chain and need to move quickly, your cheeky offer if far more likely to be considered.

  1. Be open minded

Once you have a good understanding of the market, it’s time to consider all viable properties before putting an offer forward. Don’t rule something out just because you don’t instantly like what you see; that poky kitchen or lack of enough bedrooms could quite possibly be addressed with little effort.  Have a look at properties on the same street and see how people have overcome these issues. For example, if your neighbours have extensions at the back, or generous side returns, the chance is you could do the same.

Taking the time to think about how to maximise the space of a property can really pay off when it comes to selling further down the line. Is there loft space, a basement or cupboards under the stairs? Surplus square footage can be converted into extra bedrooms, bathrooms and living space that will maximise the value of the property when you come to re-sell.

  1. Be proceedable

Get your ducks in a row. Ideally you want to have a solicitor instructed and mortgage in principal (if needed) before putting an offer down. Not only does this put you in a position to move forward quickly, it clearly shows the agent and the seller you are a serious about getting the deal done.

In some situations, the agent can influence the seller in a choice of buyer, and if this is the case, you want to make sure you are at the top of their list.

  1. Set the tone

The first week after an offer being accepted sets the tone of the sale. A buyer’s actions in that first week will show the seller what kind of buyer you are and will dictate the pace of the transaction.

As soon as your offer has been accepted, you need to put your solicitor in touch with the seller’s solicitor and get on the phone to your mortgage lender to arrange the survey. The best buyers will “buy the deal”; driving forward the process as much as possible. Touch base with the agent regularly and ensure you get an exchange date set as soon as you can.

Once under offer, make sure the property is off the market. This means all forms of marketing, including the agent’s website, any portals, windows and advertising – you don’t want someone coming along and gazumping your offer. Make sure you take the time to check with the agent that this has been done.

  1. Instruct a proper survey

Make sure you instruct a proper survey, not just a basic Homebuyers Report - 9 times out of 10 it will be worth the extra cost. When the report comes back, make sure you follow through on advice given by the surveyor. Surveys will highlight major issues such as damp or failing boilers, that could cost you a small fortune down the line. If there are any issues, you can often use these to negotiate the price down further. If you are already setting a good pace with the transaction, the seller is far less likely to swap to another purchaser and will most likely accept the reduction, as long as it is reasonable.

  1. Use a buying agent

Far from being a service just for the super-rich, increasingly more and more people are retaining the services of a buying agent.  There are many benefits to working with a buying agent not least of which is uncovering those hidden gems that never appear on the open market.  However, you can also often utilise a buying agent for the negotiation part of the process only, meaning the fee you pay them is often a cost neutral expense. Buying a home is an incredibly emotional process, and as such very few people effectively negotiate for themselves. The last transaction we acquired on behalf of our clients, we were able to save them £600,000 off the reduced asking price, equating to 10 times the value of our fee and £200,000 less than what the client was prepared to pay for the property.

For further information, contact The Collection LLP on 020 7629 4200 or visit www.thecollectionllp.com

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