More and more people are looking at setting up as buying agents and for good reason. A canny buying agent can earn £125k+ a year and gets to help people find their dream homes. Getting going can be complicated and a little daunting at times but whether you want the flexibility of being self-employed or the buzz of doing the deals there are certainly less interesting jobs in property. Some traditional selling agents want to expand their businesses and are looking to bolt on a buying service.
If you want help with regulation & compliance, marketing, websites & PR then please get in touch. I’m helping more and more people, some ex-sales agents, some with little property experience but keen to enter the business. Some want encouragement, some want a push to get going. Some want clients on an ongoing basis and a very few want to link up to build a bigger business.
If you might be interested in a chat about your plans, my plans and what we might be able to do together then please get in touch.
There is some background information I wrote a while ago about what you need to sign up to if you are trading as a buying agent.
Question, “Can anybody be an agent?”
Answer, “pretty much, yes” but there are one or two rules (laws) that those involved in buying, selling and letting property must observe.
Firstly, the basics;- letting agents are NOT estate agents so laws for ‘agents’ need to be inspected carefully. The 1979 Estate Agent Act defines who is an estate agent. It states;
..things done by any person in the course of a business (including a business in which he is employed) pursuant to instructions received from another person (in this section referred to as “the client”) who wishes to dispose of or acquire an interest in land—
(a)for the purpose of, or with a view to, effecting the introduction to the client of a third person who wishes to acquire or, as the case may be, dispose of such an interest; and
(b)after such an introduction has been effected in the course of that business, for the purpose of securing the disposal or, as the case may be, the acquisition of that interest;
Letting agents (in my experience often better qualified), have more red tape to negotiate but they are not governed by law. Anyone, even a banned estate agent can set up as a letting agent.
Trading Standards take the lead in dealing with complaints against estate and letting agents. Some time ago the Property Mis-descriptions Act was repealed and agents now operate under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 & Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008. General guidance for agents on how they must comply can be found here.
So, just what must an agent sign up to?
The snappily titled Consumer & Estate Agent Redress Act requires all agents (as defined by the 1979 Act above) to sign up to a redress code. Confusingly there are now two;-
Members of RICS and the National Approved Lettings Scheme used to use the Surveyors Ombudsman Service however most estate agents including members of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) & at the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) are all signed up to The Property Ombudsman (TPO). The alternative is The Property Redress Scheme.
It is important to point out to consumers that these are redress schemes – for when things have gone wrong, when the stable is empty, door banging in the breeze and the horse is in a lasagne. Although an Ombudsman can fine an agent and he can expel an agent from his scheme he cannot refuse to register them (that might be seen as a breach of their human rights – preventing them from earning a living!)
Estate agents are legally obliged to sign up to the Anti-Money Laundering register run by HMRC. Letting agents at present are not required to.
All sales, letting and buying agents are required by law to sign up to the Information Commissioners Data Protection Register. Check your entry here.
Although not mandatory if you want to make life easier especially in central London then signing up to Lonres is a great idea and their ResCheck service is extremely helpful.
When you have signed up display them on your website. That way people know they are dealing with a legitimate business. These are mine and I include them on emails and every page of my website.
I spend the afternoon with Henry yesterday to discuss what’s the next steps I should take as a buying agent. Henry was extremely helpful offering some absolute gems of advice. He is a true pioneer for all buying agent. If you haven’t spoken to Henry I urge you to get in touch he is truly a great guy.
I met up with Henry to give me an insight on what he does to attract new business and how he keeps it. He was very open, very straight forward, very helpful and made it all very easy to understand. Surprising in a way, that he would have time to talk to me and continue to talk to me and give helpful advice. It was ever so useful to have some one with his knowledge asking questions on why and what you do, as to whether its the best way to do it.
He knows more about property than most people I know who are in property! He just wants buyers to use buying agents, we rarely make a purchase of something as monumental in our lives as buying a house and we cant all be a professional at everything in life. So when buying a house use a professional in what ever area of the country you live in. It is a good message to get across to people.
It was a huge bonus he is quite so engaging and a properly nice guy.
I met Henry to discuss my new business and iron out a few queries I had – he was fantastic, offering practical advice and encouragement. He also provided constructive criticism regarding my business model which allowed me to see things from a different perspective, in other words, he didn’t just tell me what I wanted to hear. He is not only an expert in his field but he is also a great guy, I look forward to meeting him again in the near future.
As a Buyer’s Agent, working in Dublin Ireland , I have found it inspiring and energising to use Henry as a mentor. He is lively and warm to deal with and shares his knowledge generously. The Uk and Irish property markets do not function in exactly the same way, nonetheless there are lots of opportunities for learning from Henry’s vast experience. I look forward to working with Henry again in the future. Not only is it useful….Henry makes it fun too!
I approached Henry to help both myself and my new business with some ‘sense checking’. He’s incredibly personable with an uncanny knack of seeing through the ‘noise’ and getting to the heart of the problem, often presenting solutions that I’d not even considered.
He’s an absolute property maven (and a thoroughly nice guy) and I would have no hesitation in recommending him irrespective of the size of your business or challenge.
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