I often find it’s buyers looking under the £500,000 mark who contact me to do their search for a new home. Folk looking in the lower price ranges must surely experience the same difficulties and frustrations as those looking at £1M plus. Those who live a good distance away and don’t want to waste valuable time travelling a long distance to see a property that turns out to be totally unsuitable. Or those who are not familiar with the local market and who could do with a helping hand from someone really in touch with the local market. There is usually more on the market in the £350,000 – £550,000 price range – more to check out, more agents to speak to, a good deal more time spent. And more properties coming on the market too which need carefully assimilating, shortlisting. and viewing on your behalf too!
And it really doesn’t matter whether you are looking at £350,000 or £3,500,000, really the same work is required and I’m bound to say the same effort. And therefore I charge same fee regardless of price range you are searching in. Rather than charging a percentage of the purchase price I prefer to charge a flat fee of just £2,950 – no VAT applied, and this is not payable until a successful purchase is concluded. I would point out that a registration fee is levied too – at the outset of the process.
So rest assured I frequently work for those buyers looking for a property in the lower price ranges and regardless of price I charge the same flat fee – £2,950 with no VAT.
Last week I helped some new clients find a house in the Cotswolds/Stroud area. They were quite specific with their requirements – which was great because it helped me create a short list fairly easily. And what was more important it only took them one trip to Gloucestershire to find their ideal home. All in all a great result. What could have taken many weeks (possibly a few months) was compressed into just three well-spent days. They travelled the five hours (by car) down to Gloucestershire, stayed three nights in a pleasant country inn, spent the mornings looking at houses and the afternoons checking out the local environs; doing the journey to the relevant main line stations (just to see how long the trip would take from the house they were buying) and generally looking at the local villages and nearby towns. Also checking and trying out out the facilities which were particularly germane to their requirements. Yes, the trip was certainly “full-on” and I’m sure pretty tiring, but it was only one trip – not three or four as it easily could have been.
We started the property search process about three weeks ago; finding out just what it was they wanted and in what areas, registering with all the local estate agents (and calling them on a regular basis), speaking to contacts made to see if they’d been to see “anything new” – or to see if there was anything “in the diary” which might fit the bill. So prior to their trip down to the Cotswolds/Stroud area I had prepared the ground, been to see properties on their behalf and discussed my findings with them. A schedule was arranged – and between you and me I had a pretty good idea of the house they’d go for (and by George I was right!).
I also carried out the negotiations on their behalf – after all I was an estate agent for about three decades myself – so I had a fairly good idea, having spoken with the selling agent, of how things might go. A successful purchase was negotiated on their behalf, solicitors instructed and a good surveyor subsequently selected to carry out the building survey.
So what was the main saving? Time – that invaluable commodity – Time. This was a classic case where hiring a property search agent to look in the Stroud/Gloucestershire area paid back in spades . Not being a clever Dick but I really do believe it was worth it’s weight in gold. Well I think it was anyway!
We are a nation that is cash-rich but time poor. You may not like it, but there you are, it’s true. Many of us just don’t have enough time for one of the most important tasks of all – finding the right property to buy. And believe-you-me the job is hugely time-consuming. Ok, so you’ve made the decision you want to up-stumps and move to the beautiful Cotswold countryside or perhaps to the stunning Slad Valley. So where do you start? You’ve sold your own house and plan to go into rented accommodation once your sale goes through (a massive and somewhat dauting task in itself), you spend snatched minutes scanning Right Move, Prime Location and the like between school runs or on the train into work but are getting frustrated that the properties that pop up for sale have already had viewings and received offers and you have missed the boat. And frankly the market is such that few good houses are coming to the market; supply just is not meeting demand. A property search agent could prove a god-send at a time like this. Someone who lives in the area you are looking to buy, has great connections in the estate agency world and most importantly is able to get out to see that peach of a house as soon as it comes to market (if not before). Often that day. Also as a property finder we are often tipped off with a house which is about to come on the market, and can get to see it ahead of the game – licenced queue-jumping if you like. We are then able to get back to you straight away and tell you whether to jump in your car and get down to look pronto, or whether to save your precious time and sit tight for the next opportunity.
As a property search agent based in the heart of the Cotswolds Peter Hampshire Property Finder is ideally placed to search for your ideal home. Call Peter for an informal chat in the first instance. It might be one of the wisest calls you ever make.
It’s surprising how quickly one can narrow down suitable properties within a client’s geographical search criteria. By price and type and style of property they would like to live in. I have had two clients recently who have been searching in wide areas – over several counties in fact. One looking in The Cotswolds and Gloucestershire generally, also Worcestershire, Herefordshire – and into Warwickshire! The other looking in an even wider area, spanning Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds, Oxfordshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Wiltshire and Somerset. What starts off as a mammoth, if slightly daunting task – as often they are looking for properties “off-market”, so it requires speaking and registering with an awful lot of estate agents – but as you start looking at a map and really knuckling down to the task in hand – not just property-wise but amenity and communication – wise, things often become clearer and affordibility comes into play. Also when looking at what type of properties and where, makes the whole picture clearer. For instance, the couple looking, say, up to £1.5M for a 3,500 sq ft house in “prime Cotwolds” with 2 acres are more likely to be suited in Worcestershire or Herefordshire. Whereas the buyer looking for a detached three double-bedroom cottage with a large garden is less likely to be suited in the Cotswolds – but more into Worcestershire and North Gloucestershire
The task is also made easier by forging good working relationships with estate agents. They are the property search agent’s life-blood. They will be able to give you the “heads-up” with new properties coming onto the market or being sold off-market. Also letting you know staight away should the sale of a house falls through which might ideally suit your client. As the property finder you have the ready made buyer . That does happen. As a property buying agent you are viewed by estate agents not as competition but as a source of good, motivated buyers, often with nothing to sell and money in the bank. The best type of buyers in fact. Estate agents ofen contact me with fresh properties coming, or just about to come on, the market. Efficient ones that is! In case I have a new client who may be starting the property search process.
So, hiring a property search agent can make what, at the outset, seems a daunting task, more manageable and effective. Not to mention efficient. And you have an expert with you all the way along the journey, sharing the stress and strain and making the process a good deal easier. Often we are the listening ear – helping the buyer narrowing down their “wants” to their “needs” – often two completely different things.
Hiring a property finder – the better way!
I remember in my estate agency days a buyer would register looking for a plot of land and I’d think “dream on”. Well as a property finder for Cheltenham Gloucestershire and The Cotswolds I now have Clients looking for just that – a plot of land in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire and it’s surprising that there so many building plots with planning permission on the market – not exactly what we want I grant you, but we’ve come close. And I’m pretty sure, given a bit of time, we’ll find what we want. We’ve got a good budget (up to £500,000 for the “right” thing). Maybe we won’t find it in Cheltenham, The Cotswolds or Gloucestershire, but maybe more likely in Herefordshire – which my Clients like a lot and which is, after all, a most beautiful county for sure. Just got to keep on the hunt. Doggedness often pays off in the end. As they say inspiration plus plenty of perspiration!
I met with Jo Aldridge (a fellow property search agent) today at The Butchers Arms Sheepscombe – great place to meet for lunch. I’ve known Jo of “Jo Aldridge Property Hound” fame for many years and helped her with client requirements when I had my estate agency business in Cheltenham. Jo is a property buying agent finding houses for clients in the South Cotswolds, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. We meet on a regular basis to exchange ideas and discuss the current state of the market – it’s great to have someone like Jo to compare notes with.
Well it’s a constant quandary for me and I’m sure many other property search agents: how do I attract people to my website who may need the help of a property search agent in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and The Cotswolds? – my help that is. Do folk actually actively look for a property finder on the internet or do they just stumble upon one in the natural (or not-so-natural) course of their on-line property search. I guess it’s people who have trawled through Right Move, Zoopla, Prime Location and the like and are digging around a bit deeper. Then they perhaps type in property search Agents Cotswolds or property search agent Cheltenham. Or do they? But why would they type in something like Property finder Cotswolds and Gloucestershire or property finder Cheltenham if they had never thought to research the services of a property finder in the first place? It’s beyond me. A good friend of mine doubted that people would even carry out such a search in Google in the first place; but I’m not so sure.
I’ve spent many hours on good old Google (as has my web designer and other marketeers I have employed in the past) really ferreting around with all sorts of word searches – obvious and not so obvious – and there really isn’t a straight-forward solution. It’s slightly random I’d say. Maybe they are searching for estate agents and just come across us property search agents completely by accident. Believe me I’ve done my market research and spoken to many SEO “specialists” in my quest for the panacea to this quandary and there just really isn’t a simple solution. But then there rarely is.
So if anyone’s reading this and felt like giving me the benefit of their “threepennyworth” do ping me an email – I’d be eternally grateful.
Cotswold property finder Peter Hampshire says: “I have no doubt in my mind that an attractive, well presented garden can help you achieve the optimum price for your house and may contribute a good deal in the buyer’s decision process when making a shortlist of suitable properties.
“Whilst a house with a drab, unkempt garden, and a tatty shed will still sell (at the right price) just a few hours work and a little simple planning (to both front and back gardens) can help you to get the best price you can. I say front and back gardens because often, although the back may be presentable, it’s the front garden that lets the side down. And what’s the first thing the buyer sees, either when they’re doing a drive – by with sales particulars in hand – or arriving at that critical first viewing? – It’s the front garden they see first; it’s those much coined buzz-words “kerb appeal”. So if the front garden is attractively presented it could well influence potential viewers making the call to the estate agents. (Also germane to putting a house on the market is having a nice smart front door – but that’s another topic altogether!)
“Having an “up-together” shed is a real plus too – rather than a tatty old thing that looks as if a strong gust of wind might blow it over any minute. It’s great on the day of the move to be able to move your accumulated garden tools from your old house straight into a shed. Easy. Job done.
“In my 30ish years in the home buying and selling business I’ve found almost without exception that buyers want a garden, not necessarily a large one but one that’s fairly easily maintained. And although a shed isn’t critical, it does tick a box – it’s one less thing for the buyers to think about when they move in.
“It’s a life-style thing too; the potential buyers need to picture themselves enjoying an early evening glass of wine sitting outside as the sun goes down; or with friends having a barbeque on the patio. If you have enjoyed your garden then others will too.
“So take a look outside and consider a low-cost make-over. It’ll work, trust me; before starting my property finding business I used to run an estate agency
Is it just for the super-rich or celebrities? or could hiring a property finder really be a serious alternative to doing the search yourself. Could it really be a cost effective option for many? If the cost was reasonable and justifiable well, yes it could be. And if it really did save you time and money . . . . . well then definitely, a resounding “yes”. And if the cost was an affordable flat – fee, fixed right at the beginning; whether you were looking at a house or flat at £300,000 or £1M +? After all, surely it would be the same amount of work for the property search agent looking on your behalf whatever the price you are looking in?
So, an affordable fixed fee for finding a house in Cheltenham, The Cotswolds or Gloucestershire? Wouldn’t that seem a serious option to the hours you may spend trolling through the property portals on the internet, arranging viewings with estate agents, travelling maybe 100 + miles to view a property that’s clearly not a runner in the first place. Or making arrangements to see a house which goes “under offer” the day before you’re due to see it. How frustrating is that!
Then hiring the services of a property search agent at an affordable fixed fee really is an option for the serious buyer. After all you’re taking on somebody locally based in the area you’re looking in. With a good deal of experience and knowledge of the local property market. Who is well connected locally and able to offer you expert advice.
Let the property search agent take the strain!
Although I no longer have an estate agency business per se, the telephone number of my property finding business remains the same as the estate agency and I continue to get enquiries from past clients, friends and acquaintances, and other general referrals -often from past clients – looking for assistance and wanting general advice on house selling. I’ve always offered an advisory-type service during my time as an estate agent (goes with the territory really) and there are a lot of folk who could benefit from help in this direction.
I felt a tugging (which I confess I just couldn’t resist) to offer this unique service. It’s a part of the business I enjoy greatly; – advising people – better to give than to receive and all that. It can be a minefield out there – particularly for the older generation, widows and divorcees, all types of people really, who could, I’m confident, benefit from the sort of service I can provide. Interestingly no one else seems to provide such a service.
Whether it’s deciding timing and where to go to, how to go about getting an up-to-date price and which estate agent to use when selling, and how best to go about finding a new home to buy. And, critically, whether to sell at all. You have to have a clear reason to sell your property – it’s a hugely expensive and an emotional roller-coaster too. You have to have a really good, and I mean a REALLY GOOD reason to sell. As an old friend of mine once said to me “when in doubt, do nowt” – sage advice indeed.
The advisory service, run from my my Prestbury base, will compliment the the home finding business in Cheltenham and the Cotswolds, and draw upon the 30 plus years working in the estate agent business. Give me a ring, love to help if I can.