Property Search & Using a Buying Agent: Frequently Asked Questions

People often ask me questions about being a buying agent/property search agent and want to know how I compare to my competitors. Please see below for a run down of the questions I am asked most frequently and my answers – I hope they will prove a useful guide if you are unfamiliar with using a buying agent, as well as being a source of additional, detailed information to help support why Louise Crichton Property Search could be the right choice of buying agent for you.

Why should I use a buying agent at all? Surely I can do it all myself?

It may be that the pressures of your work commitments and family life mean that you simply do not have the time, or the inclination, to deal with all the estate agents yourself or field calls from them at all times of day. Do you want to spend your valuable time viewing properties with a variety of different agents you barely know, only to find many places they take you to see invariably prove to be unsuitable although they looked great online? Maybe you are moving to London, or you wish to invest in property here, and just don’t know where to start? Maybe you want to relocate to the country or you just want a weekend bolt hole but you keep missing out on the properties you want?

Using a property search agent like Louise Crichton Property Search is all about saving you time and money, reducing the “hassle factor” of the process and helping you find and secure the property you want for the best price. The property market is extremely competitive and is dominated by estate agents and vendors who are focused on their needs not yours. The supply of good property for sale is limited and for the good places there will usually always be other buyers competing with you for them. Trying to negotiate a price when so much is at stake can be fraught and your emotions may cloud your judgement.  Even if you can agree a price then managing a transaction through all the due diligence and reaching a successful exchange of contracts can also require a proactive, hands on approach with trouble shooting often required. Of course many people will do this all themselves, though not always successfully, and often with a deep sense of frustration and at times despair at the time and hassle involved.

By employing the services of a buying agent you will gain the competitive advantage of skilled professional assistance at every step of the way to handle all of this and more whilst saving you time and money and increasing your chances of the happy, successful property search outcome you want.

How do you differ from an estate agent?

Estate agents act for the vendor whereas I act solely on behalf of you, the buyer. I act only for buyers and I do not sell property. Once formally instructed I take time to discuss your property requirement with you in detail and will draw up a detailed brief before then using my time, contacts and experience to find suitable properties for you to consider in your chosen area. I will persist until the property of your choice is found and successfully acquired. Throughout the whole process it is your best interests that are my top priority.

How can you negotiate a better price than me?

I have a wide experience of negotiation and the reputation of my business is built on results – finding then securing a clients’ chosen property for the lowest achievable price and the best terms is my daily bread. Although most of my clients are experienced negotiators themselves it can be difficult not to become emotionally involved if they deal with estate agents directly themselves as the stakes are so high.

The estate agents can also glean information directly from buyers that can be used against them. How often have you freely told an estate agent in conversation the price you could “stretch to” for the “right place” not realising you are already compromising your own negotiating position? I am therefore able to negotiate terms on your behalf professionally and without revealing to the estate agent anything other than what is needed.

Why should I use you rather than any of the other search agents out there?

The buying agency industry has grown significantly over recent years and there are now a huge number of businesses offering property search and acquisition services. Some are subsidiaries of big, corporate estate agencies, some are medium sized independents and then there are numerous small businesses operators. The sector is not formally regulated so an established track record and good reputation in the market place should be a prerequisite for any buying agent you are considering, along with formal procedures one would expect to see observed by any reputable private client service provider.

Professional search agents/buying agents should have professional indemnity insurance, membership of a property redress scheme (eg. The Property Ombudsman), be registered with the ICO under the terms of Data Protection laws, be GDPR compliant and be registered with HMRC for supervision relating to Anti Money Laundering legislation. I meet all of these requirements and in addition I am a Full Member of the Association of Residential Property Finders and am on the board of the Association of Relocation Professionals.

Do consider if the service on offer is wholly independent or could there be a conflict of interest with a corporate parent company that may be in the business of selling property? Your choice must ultimately be based on who you feel most confident and comfortable at the prospect of working with, and trusting, to look after your best interests rather than their own and to deliver the results that you seek.

I run a well established business with a strong reputation for a professional approach, tenacious methodology and successful results for many clients over the years. My business is small enough to be personal and offer competitive fees, yet my presence in the market place is big enough to enable me to get the best deal for you on your chosen property and offer you a wide range of client benefits. If you are seeking a high level of one to one client care from an independent buying agent with a successful track record built over twenty one years of finding property for private clients, then Louise Crichton Property Search is the right choice for you.

Can you deliver both a London and country property search service as a sole practitioner?

Yes I can. I divide my time between London and north west Hampshire so with a “foot in both camps” my lifestyle is ideally suited to searching for property in both London and select country locations. As a truly boutique business I only act for a small number of clients at any one time so I am able to balance the work required to conduct both London and country searches accordingly.

This cross sector service provision by a sole practitioner buying agent is unusual but enables me to offer a truly seamless service with valuable continuity of care for existing London clients wanting to buy or rent in the country.

If I use your services can I still get gazumped?

Gazumping is a frustrating reality of the UK property market and one in which no guarantees can ever be made that it won’t happen especially in a market where supply of good property is limited. I will however negotiate deal terms to help protect your position via the use of exclusive contractual periods combined with proactive deal management and very close liaison with the selling agents and all third party professionals involved with a transaction. The agents that I deal with know that I represent serious clients and as they don’t wish to jeopardise a sale themselves, or indeed any future business with me, they also work hard to manage their vendors’ expectations and get deals through to a successful conclusion. Thus the working relationships I have with the estate agents combined with my experience and reputation can therefore help minimise the risk that you will lose a property.

What guarantees or indemnity can you offer?

Louise Crichton Property Search carries full professional indemnity insurance and membership of The Property Ombudsman.

Whilst I cannot guarantee that your dream property will be immediately available I can guarantee that I will not cease searching until you are entirely satisfied – however long that takes.

How can I be sure you won’t make me buy something I don’t really want?

I take a detailed brief of your property requirement upon formal instruction and throughout the whole search and acquisition process I will keep you closely informed of progress with written and verbal reports. I will source all the necessary information for you and help you where ever possible, but the ultimate decision as to which property to buy is always down to you. Since the vast proportion of my new business comes from referrals it is in my interest to exceed your expectations and that includes ensuring you buy a property that you are delighted with.

Is there a time limit for a search?

Finding the right property can take sometimes take a day, a week, a month, three months or longer and as a result I do not believe in imposing strict time limits on the length of time that I will search for you. I will work with you for as long as is necessary to deliver the result that you seek. If a search is taking a long time it may be that the prevailing market has just been lacking in suitable stock. Alternatively the brief may need to be altered – clients can change their preferences as they gain an understanding from me about what is realistically achievable within their budget in their target search area. With an amended brief the search can be continued until a successful outcome is achieved.

How do I know that you are as good as you say you are?

I take pride in my professional, yet personalised, approach and the successful results I have been achieving for my clients since 1998. I believe that my twenty one year track record as an independent buying agent is testament to my proven abilities and the effectiveness of the skill-set I have developed.  I have a well established reputation built over twenty five years of working in the central London property market and I am rated by PrimeResi.com, the leading online Journal of Luxury Property for the prime property industry, in their Prime Movers 2019 index as one of the Top 50 Buying Agents in Britain.

If you would like to arrange an initial no obligation meeting to find out if I am the right buying agent to make the difference to your property search, please do not hesitate to get in touch. References from previous clients are available upon request.

What do my clients say?...

“I have always been very impressed by Louise’s work. She has acted for me three times and each time has made the search process easier, more enjoyable and more effective…”

Notting Hill client

What do my clients say?...

“We found Louise to be attentive, scrupulously honest, well connected and held in high regard by agents… She made the journey to finding our London home a pleasurable  one…”

Hyde Park Client

What do my clients say?...

“Deciding to use the services of a buying agent should be a simple question of value for money. Without a doubt the services provided by Louise paid for themselves…”

Country house client