If you are thinking about investing in a property in London, you might be tempted to approach one of the large international estate agents, such as Hamptons or Savills.
We will explains why you should consider using a professional property finder instead.
Investing in property can be a stressful and complicated experience – especially if that property is overseas. Which is why many international property investors are attracted by the services of large, well-known estate agents to manage the process for them. But are they able to offer the service you really need, and can you be sure they are working in your best interests? We argue they can’t, and here’s why:
They are not the ‘whole of market’
An estate agent – regardless of how big or small they are – will only be able to sell you a property that is on their books. A property finder, on the other hand, can work across all estate agents and builders until they find the right property for you. They take a detailed brief of client's requirement and use that brief to narrow the search down to the right Borough of London and the right area of that Borough, until they find the best property / properties to meet client's needs.
They work for the seller, not the buyer
Estate agents are paid by the seller, which dictates where their priorities lie. The reality is they don’t have your interests at heart and will often ‘stretch the truth’ in order to make the sale. For example, an estate agent’s “10-minute walk to the nearest underground station” is almost always a 15-minute walk for normal people. If you hire a property buying agent, they work solely for you. They will pound the streets and inspect properties on your behalf. It’s their job to see beyond the estate agent’s sales pitch and drive the best deal possible.
They could be incentivised to sell a particular development
Estate agents are often incentivised by builders to sell their developments over other properties. They may well push a new-build apartment before a more established property that offers better value for money and better rental demand.
They will layer on fees for property management
If you buy a property through an estate agent, the chances are you will use them to find tenants and manage the property on your behalf. You should be aware that, in addition to their monthly fee, estate agents will ‘layer on’ extra charges when any work needs to be carried out on your property. So, while the plumber might be charging £200 for a repair, you will be charged £300, which adds up over the years.
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