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Do I really need you?

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Knight Frank
London and Country specialist property buying agents
06 Jul 2016  |   Philip Eastwood

I recently sat down, in the post-Brexit world, with a potential client to discuss her property search. During the conversation she asked “do I really need you?” I smiled, as this is something I’m often asked and in reality the answer is no. I am not essential to someone’s property purchase; anyone can walk into estate agents and buy a property. What I do and what I offer as a buying agent is a luxury, but is it one luxury in which you should indulge?

When the market is moving in an upward trajectory you can afford to make a mistake, as any financial over payment will be absorbed by capital growth. However when there is uncertainty and nervousness in the market, local knowledge, both of the properties themselves and every nuance and sentiment in the marketplace, combined with sound advice, is imperative. In my experience it is very easy to acquire a property but rather more difficult to unwind a poorly bought asset.

I explained to my potential client that recently there have been a number of very low ball offers made, as one may expect, but these have irritated and frustrated the vendors whilst alienating the estate agents. The offers are not being backed up with any evidence and other than some opportunism there is little or no justification for the levels of offers being made. In turn the purchases themselves are frustrated but they are losing credibility. Despite what is reported, there is no blood on the streets of prime central London and with interest rates likely to be staying low for a the foreseeable future people can hold their property, if they choose to do so. Having said that, sentiment and the political landscape has changed and as such if a client is positioned correctly and makes a low, but credible, offer that is well supported there is every chance of picking up a ‘real steal.’ Having said that, you have to be strategic and patient in order to get the result that you need.

I work closely with buyers often over many extended periods of time and take a great deal of care to listen and understand their immediate and long term needs. I identify the best areas, as well as the best markets that will suit their needs and lifestyle. Having found what they are looking for, I negotiate the best in class properties, on the best terms and for the best price, but also when the best time to buy is and even offer, considering everything from currency fluctuation, to press reports, using everything to negotiate for my client’s advantage. I strategically position my clients to be the preferred buyer and am able to knowledgeably justify the price. On average I save my clients at least three times my fee, if not more, and can save millions off the asking price.

So I advised my potential client, that the question she should really be asking herself is, “can I afford not to use you?” The answer was no, so now I have a lovely new client!

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