Working in Chorleywood, I spend a lot of my time helping potential purchasers navigate the difficulties in buying in my area. One of the things I hear the most is that buyers keep just missing out on properties that could have been ideal for them, or heard about an amazing house just that little bit too late. The competition for property in Chorleywood isn’t too different from that in any of the areas that S&G operates in, so I thought it might be helpful to follow on from Alex’s insightful blog on building relationships with your local agents, by offering my top tips on how to become a hot buyer.
Before I roll out my round-up of (hopefully) helpful tips, I have to pass on some stark truths:
While the industry as a whole is doing better at raising its public perception, I can honestly say that not every estate agent looks after potential purchasers the same way that we do at S&G. Regardless of whether the market is fast-paced and buzzy, or slightly more sedate, most estate agents can potentially have thousands of buyers looking in any given area. It is almost impossible that everyone can have individual attention, and have everyone’s purchasing needs are met all the time. I hear stories of people viewing a property with an agent, and then hearing nothing for months at a time. Others will be looking for a specific type of property, and will be sent information for homes well above what they can afford, or that are completely unsuitable.
“So how can you help us avoid this, Tom?”, I hear you cry.
Unfortunately, I can’t raise the standards of all of my competitors, but, I do have some other advice to help you in your dealings with every estate agent – myself and my colleagues included. What you have to recognise is that that the relationship between an estate agent and a potential purchaser has to be reciprocal. We work for our clients, the property sellers, so every interaction with a buyer is on the basis that at some point, that purchaser will end up helping one of our clients achieve their property-related goal. When you combine this with a busy market, and the work ethic Alex and his branch managers have fostered here at the company, it is understandable to see that our time is very previous. As hard as it is to say, there is a ‘priority list’ when it comes to purchasers, and the higher up the list you are, the sooner you will hear about new instructions, and ultimately, the better your buying experience is likely to be.
You have to ‘navigate’ the priority list – I call it becoming a ‘hot buyer.’ You may have seen or heard that phrase before, but what does it actually mean? A hot buyer will be someone near the top of the priority list, but what do you have to do to become one? Here’s how:
You have to be in a good position to buy…
I hear a lot of people say, “Yes, I’m in a great position to buy – I live in central London, and the market is really fast-paced here, and two houses down the road from me sold within two weeks last month. I get letters through my door from estate agents all the time and they tell me how quickly my house will sell, so I’m in a great position.” It is really difficult that I then have to tell those people that unfortunately, they aren’t. When you are looking to buy in an area like Chorleywood , you are not truly in a ‘good position’ until you are ‘proceedable’, i.e., that you can proceed to exchange and completion immediately, if your offer were accepted tomorrow. If you need to sell your property, then you need to have a waiting buyer. If you need lending, then you need to either have an agreement in principal, or a broker on standby ready to start a mortgage application. You will also need a good solicitor who can carry out the conveyancing work for you. Ultimately, not being ready to proceed means only one thing: you will lose out on the opportunity of viewing (and sometimes even hearing about) new instructions.
You have to make sure that your agent remembers you, and that you are in the forefront of their mind at all times.
This one is a little more complex, but why is it important? Over the last twelve months in Chorleywood, we have agreed up to 25% of all our sales without the property appearing on the open market, after having spoken to a select few buyers that we already know. Because of the low property turnover in the area, many vendors will wait to put their homes on the market until they know there will be somewhere to move to. That can be a risky strategy due the speed at while homes sell round here, however, it often leads to this sort of scenario, where you end up with off-market chains and even house-swaps. The prevalence of discrete marketing means that we often only have the opportunity to show any given home to a small number of buyers before agreeing a sale. If you aren’t one of those buyers, you could be missing out on your dream home.
The easiest thing is regular contact, and making sure that your agent knows your face, as well as your name. You might think that you are bothering your agent when you phone every week asking if there have been any new instructions. Don’t worry – you aren’t. What you’re actually doing is showing me that you really care about finding a property. And, if you are happy to trust my recommendations of potentially amazing property, as Alex mentioned in his blog, and will arrange a viewing before seeing details, then that shows even more commitment. If I know someone is very obviously committed to finding somewhere to buy, then that makes them that much more memorable.
What else would I recommend?
The little things are often the most important, even if they seem like they don’t even matter, and one of the easiest things is returning phone calls. If an agent phones you, phone them back – they might be calling to offer you your dream home.
If you are running late for a viewing, or have to cancel, make the effort to let your agent know. This simple bit of courtesy shows that you value your estate agent as a partner in your property search.
Give prompt feedback after viewings. Again, this shows that you care about the time your agent spends with you. It also helps provide a better picture of exactly what you are looking for in a property, and helps me keep track of your preferences, especially as they can change over time.
When you first get in touch, pass on plenty of information about the sort of property you are looking for. A lot of buyers I speak to get frustrated when they are send details for properties that clearly aren’t suitable. A good agent will base their search on what you tell them to look for. The more specific you can be, the more likely it is that you will like the properties I tell you about.
Having said all that, it is important to keep an open mind. We see so many purchasers who end up buying a property that is very different to what they initially thought they might want. In such a difficult market to buy in, where supply is low, you would be amazed what captures your imagination in a home, and remember, there are many aspects that you can change once you have moved in.
This list can’t cover every single way you can help yourself to be the best buyer you can be, but here are my top tips for being the Hottest of Hot Buyers.
Tom’s Top Tips:
1) Make sure you put in that bit of extra effort to make sure you are at the forefront of an agent’s mind to hear about the best properties first.
2) Keep an open mind, and make yourself available to view a property as quickly as you possibly can so you can see those properties first.
3) Give prompt and comprehensive feedback.
4) Make sure to return phone calls and e-mails – you could be about to hear about your dream home!
5) Finally, put yourself in a good position, and become a proceedable buyer.
If you need to sell a property in the local area, then give us a call on 01923 252505, as we can give you the best possible advice on how to get the best buyer for your onward move. We can also put you in touch with the best local Financial Advisors and Solicitors to help you get a move on.
Happy house hunting!