House buyers – just a bunch of amateurs

Over 95% of house sellers in the UK get an estate agent when they decide to sell their house. No great surprise you might think. We are certainly more cautious than our European colleagues who quite often use a solicitor (in France) or even have a go themselves (in Italy). There are some good reasons for getting professional help, not least for some objective guidance in holding a sale together once a deal has been agreed. Whether this help is worth twice what you used to pay for it ten years ago is hotly debated but more on that subject another time. What I do find staggering is that less than 2% of buyers ask for any help.

Buying a home is the biggest single purchase that most people will make in their lifetime and whilst most seem prepared to get help with the legal aspect of their purchase, the vast majority seem confident that they can negotiate the best deal, that they know the value of property and that they are going to get the better of the vendors’ agent!

The average buyer registers with at least three estate agent, spends nearly four weeks touring properties with them and as they ride around in the branded mini they explain how desperate they are, how the kids have to be settled by September for their new school, how your mother-in-law has offered to help out with another £10k if they absolutely need it. Then, when they do find something worthwhile they sit down with the nice man they have just shown their entire hand to and are surprised when he uses all this information against them. The agent represents the seller, unlike in the States where they have brokers, he spends all day, every day immersed in his local housing market. He knows what a property is worth and how desperate you are and how weak the other interest is. What you need is help and this help comes from a Buying Agent.

Like a divorce lawyer or even a dentist, a buying agent is there to do something that you can’t do too well yourself. He is objective, calm and above all, professional. Yes, you have to pay him but think about this;- if you find a home and make an offer of £1, the estate agent finds another offer of £2 and immediately you have to bid £3 to stand a chance to getting the house. At the very least, your buying agent will advise you to wait and make the second bid which may actually  be enough to secure the deal. Because they don’t know what they’re doing, it’s reckoned that the average buyer spends £1600 more than he needs to. A staggering £2 billion a year when you add up all the amateurs over-paying for their next home.

Do yourself a favour and get some help from a buying agent before you pop down to your friendly estate agent and tell him how much you have got to spend and why he should take you seriously because you have sold your own house and have to be out in a month!