All the help you need to prepare, search, evaluate, bid, secure and get moved into your next home.

prime-movers-plaque-henry-pryor

I am a buying agent. I look for homes (and other assets) and seek to acquire them on behalf of my clients. As far as the law is concerned, I am an estate agent – I just happen to act for buyers, not sellers and I buy properties between £500,000 and £50m. Some clients just want help looking for a new home, some want help to evaluate a property and to negotiate the best deal. Spending a six figure sum is something most people do on average every seven years.

After 37 years in the business I have bought and sold over 1000 properties. I act for 30 -40 clients a year, bid on a house every week and buy one or two a month.

According to Rightmove sellers typically accepted around 5% (£11,000) less than their final asking price. Zoopla says that it’s just 3.86% and figures published by Hometrack suggest that a average buyer pays 97% of the asking price.

Over the past decade, on average my clients paid £143,000 (11%) less!

25% of £1m+ homes sold in London in the first half of 2017 were sold ‘off-market’ & up to 40% of the homes I buy aren’t advertised on the internet or in an estate agents window.

Financial Times – June 16 2017

I charge a retainer of £2,400 including VAT and then;- 25% of any saving achieved from the asking price OR 3% (2.5% plus VAT) of the purchase price OR a fixed, up front fee of £12,000 again including VAT. (see ‘fees‘)

Of course many people start off asking too much for their home and a third of sellers currently on the market have reduced their guide price at least once according to the website Zoopla.co.uk. Be it a £5.5m house in Notting Hill (which completed in March 2019 for less than the asking price and less than the seller paid in 2014!) or a £2.25m home outside Newbury (bought just after the ‘Brexit’ referendum for 10% less) my clients like to pay as little as possible. As sellers wake up to the impact of Google ‘indexing’ their property for ever more and more deals are being done ‘off-market’.

I am not the only buying agent and it’s more important that you have the right advisor than that it necessarily be me. For a brief period of time your buying agent will have a detailed and personal knowledge of your affairs so you must trust them and have confidence in what they are doing and they in you. I’m confident that I am at least as good as most firms but I am not naive enough to think that I can be everyones cup of tea. My aim is that you have the right advisor for you even if that means you are represented by someone else. These are some of the best that I recommend you consider.

A buying agent can;-

  • Source off-market properties – those available but not advertised on websites or in agents windows.
  • Advise on areas, compare and contrast different places.
  • Research a street, village or town looking at crime, natural threats such as flooding and over-flights by planes.
  • Assess relative value.
  • Will research the motivations of the sellers and look for pressure points like death, debt or divorce.
  • Comment on yield and the potential for capital growth.
  • Negotiate with the seller and their agent. (Not all selling agents are slippery but some certainly are!).
  • Introduce the best mortgage brokers, accountants and wealth managers along with advisors, tradesmen & lawyers.
  • Liaise with solicitors, valuers, surveyors, architects, builders and contractors.
  • Help to make your next move the smoothest and painless experience possible.
You describe the dream, I'll find the home.
You describe the dream, I’ll help you find it.

I look for properties in London and in the country. I review those that we find, provide objective advice on each and discretion for people who would rather not have their private business paraded in public. Estate agents are not brokers trying to mediate between two parties they act for and are paid by one party – the seller!

Sometimes the best advice is 'not' to buy something
Although I don’t get paid for saying it sometimes the best advice is ‘not’ to buy something..

Buying agents are still estate agents in the eyes of the law and as such each must sign up to a redress scheme. Confusingly there are two but this is the one (along with it’s own ‘Buying Agency Code’ that I helped draft) that I have signed up to.

Almost as important to your success in moving will be a good lawyer and perhaps a competent mortgage broker. It is a team effort and I am very happy to recommend individuals who can help you & make it happen.

Financial Times – 23rd March 2018

31 Comments

  1. Henry took the time to really understand our needs and educate us on the marketplace to give us a true picture of what was and wasn’t reasonable to expect for our budget and search area. He made introductions to a wonderful solicitor and surveyor and oversaw the entire negotiation and exchange process, saving us considerably more than his fee, and ensuring it went smoothly. Having just exchanged contracts on a beautiful house in Chiswick just 46 days after instructing him, we can’t imagine going though this process again without Henry’s help and guidance.

  2. We arrived in London in 2019 from New Zealand in late middle-age for my husband to take up an academic post. We knew no one and we didn’t know London. Britain was beginning the process of leaving the EU, facing an election and about to be engulfed in a world-wide pandemic and a lockdown. I didn’t really know what a buying agent did but given our circumstances, and Britain’s, I had a hunch it could be helpful. Henry’s website stood out with its informativeness, wit and personality. I called some agents and they were polite and explained their terms of business. I called Henry and he talked about us, who we were, why we were here; what we might want in a house, in a neighbourhood. Henry then came round to meet us because it felt hard to engage someone I had never heard of or met.
    For the following months my husband and I cycled or walked the neighbourhoods of London: north, south, east and west, then debated their merits with Henry. No question of ours, no matter how inane, garbled or confused was met with anything apart from graciousness and a reply marked with unerring clarity and wisdom. So we found our neighbourhood; then Henry thrashed out the pros and cons of each individual house that he and we liked the look of. We exchanged last Wednesday. Our house is perfect for us.
    I suspect Henry’s strongest skill is zeroing in on each individual client’s needs and wants; often having to help them articulate what these are!! We never had a sense that he had a service model box and we had to fit into it.
    That he knows everything about the property market, or can make the offer and negotiating process a stroll in the park is just a given. The care and commitment he has shown to two kiwis adrift in an unfamiliar habitat has been incredible. And we had fun.

    Kia kaha, and our kindest regards.

  3. This was our first time buying a home in the UK – and in London no less – and Henry did an excellent job of preparing us to be attractive buyers. From start to finish he let us know what to expect in the process and transaction, answered our questions, represented us well, calmed nerves and assisted as much as he possibly could to be sure we were happy, well-informed clients. He knows the property market like the back of his hand, is clearly highly regarded by professionals in the business and communicates clearly and efficiently. You get the real deal with Henry. It’s worth it to have him on your side. Thanks Henry!

  4. Henry provided much needed guidance, advice and inspiration to our house search. Not only did he find and secure a house that we simply wouldn’t have even known about without his involvement, but he was also a reassuringly constant and calm voice for both of us during the entire process.

    Working with Henry meant that we have undoubtedly ended up with the perfect house for our family, and the process to getting here was far less painful than it could have been without his help!

  5. For the record you are everything I expected,highly professional, kind and considerate. I won’t hesitate to recommend you to others searching for a house.

  6. My wife and I are getting ready to complete on a purchase we have made with Henry’s help. I’ve bought a few houses in the USA before, and the idea of buying a house without an agent has always seemed like madness to me. We talked to a few different agents (all of which were referenced on this website!) but ended up with Henry for a couple reasons:

    – Style really resonated with us
    – Henry spent a lot of time on the phone / over email helping us out before he even knew we were going to be paying customers

    Once we engaged Henry he was with us every step of the way, even helping us pick neighbourhoods to target. Once we chose the neighborhood, he helped us narrow down and find houses which were both good value as well as being in our budget. After we narrowed down to a target property, Henry found the “right price” and made things with the selling agent go smoothly.

    (Having a buying agent is a big help – sellers know immediately that you’ve got money for the right deal and are not playing games or kicking tires.)

    Henry also has a great network of surveyors and solicitors – I had multiple coworkers comment on how quickly we went from offer stage to prepared to exchange.

    Finally, though our budget was certainly at the low end of what Henry typically deals with, at no point did we feel like we didn’t have his full attention.

    We would be happy to deal with Henry again.

  7. We hired Henry to help us find a flat in a specific area of London after unsuccessfully looking for almost 1 year ourselves… Henry listened to our requirements carefully and, rather quickly, managed to find the flat where we live now – matching nearly all our requirements and with a large discount on the asking price! Henry has taken care of almost everything (organizing the survey, finding a solicitor, …), which was really awesome as I’m quite busy at work and as I’m also not from the UK. Henry is always available to chat over the phone and has been available to help us even well after completion happened to deal with a few follow-up questions and for us to happily settle in. Definitely recommend!

  8. I recommend Henry’s buying service without reservation.

    He oversaw our purchase of a lovely house for a keen price, and kept us on the straight and narrow when our property search threatened to veer wildly off piste at several junctures.

    Among his accomplishments: preventing us from overpaying by between 15% and 20%; ensuring a successful conclusion to some complex and ‘robust’ negotiations which would have seen us eaten alive or throwing in the towel had we attempted them by ourselves; and introducing us to an excellent lawyer and surveyor.

    Among his qualities: knowing the market, and what constitutes fair value, in different parts of the country; knowing how to disabuse naive buyers of their (our) more stupid ideas; and patience and responsiveness, even when the flow of (our) idiotic questions became a torrent. He drew on his long experience to highlight advantages and drawbacks of every property which we hadn’t picked up on. The property industry can be a world of sharks: don’t buy a house without a property agent.

    Henry’s the man to fight your corner.

  9. Henry provided invaluable help to us during our search and through to completion. He provided honest and pragmatic views, good advice and acted as a very useful buffer between us and the seller’s agent. He was also very responsive throughout and available whenever needed. We got a great deal with his help, and so we were very happy with his services!

  10. Henry’s expertise, professionalism and in-depth market knowledge is exceptional. I am very pleased that he has helped me with finding the house of my dreams and the overall deal execution process (end-to-end).
    I would have never been able to find the right house without his kind guidance. He is very open in providing his feedback, and it helps incredibly while you are reviewing available options.
    In addition to this, he has advised on the best areas in London suitable to my needs – it worked really well as I was about to proceed with slightly different areas that did not satisfy all the parameters.
    He has a great personality, and it has been a pleasure to work with Henry.
    Thank you so much for your help!

  11. You will see that on February 16, 2017 my wife, Belkis, posted a comment above. It’s now September 2019 and we have finally completed on a house. Henry has been with us all the way. We came to rely on his honest opinions and his extraordinary knowledge of the market: it is both wide and deep. His knowledge of the “micro-climate” of each street is extraordinary”Oh, I wouldn’t bother with that – you can hear the trains!”. But his advice, optimism and support was critical in helping us through what was quite a stressful process.

    And on the crucial point of money. Just what Henry saved us during the critical negotiations at the end more than covered his charges. Hugely recommend.

  12. From start to finish, Henry has been amazing. He plays the roles of advisor, scheduler, negotiator, counselor (and occasionally comic) seamlessly and with such ease. His expertise has proven itself to be invaluable and we’re confident we wouldn’t have ended up with the home we have without his help. Working with Henry was the best decision we made in our search.

  13. I met Henry a short while ago when he successfully negotiated on behalf of his clients who were hoping to buy in SW London. When positioning an offer on his client’s behalf, Henry’s diligence, preparation and sense of urgency was excellent, which made it easy and straightforward to negotiate with the sellers. With an offer presented with precision and a well prepared buyer ready to transact, the resulting deal was completely hassle free and quick moving for all involved. Henry – I look forward to working with you again soon!

  14. It took us 2 years in all to find our family home and throughout this period Henry was invaluable counsel in explaining that we need not rush or settle for second best at inflated prices. These wise words not only saved us from making a costly mistake but calmed us through the intermittent episodes of panic that come when you think you’ll never find a home.

    Once we found the one, where we’ve been for 6 months now, Henry really came into his own in sheltering us from the often fraught negotiations and the ‘will this/won’t this happen’ drama that invariably comes with many property transactions.

    A perfect home purchase made easy – a big thank you from us all!

  15. Although we were quite familiar with the London property market, having owned property there previously, we were lucky enough to be introduced to Henry by friends who had used his services. He is blunt, straightforward and very knowledgeable. At the outset he was helpful in getting us to clarify and prioritize our wish list and budget. He has an in depth knowledge of the market, and the agents operating within it. During the search Henry was extremely helpful in getting us access to all the properties that met our criteria. Overall we would highly recommend using him as an essential resource if purchasing a property in London. He not only makes the process easier and actually enjoyable, but also helps cut through so much of the fluff and fantasy that surrounds the process.

  16. I cannot recommend Henry highly enough. He helped us find our next beautiful home despite a tricky market. He listened, he guided, gave great advice all the way and kept us focused. Henry never forgot the ‘must have’ list of things we’d given him……not least ‘room for table tennis’! He always gave constructive feedback on the properties we viewed. Henry is an absolute authority on the housing market, and we felt very safe in his hands. He was always available to talk things through day or night in any time zone! He knows the agents and he knows how to negotiate a great deal. He drove the purchase through smoothly, dealing with solicitors, surveyors and other inspectors. Nothing was ever a problem. He is clearly a well respected man in his field, and on top of all that, fun to be around. I don’t know how anyone can buy a house without him. Thank you Henry.

  17. Henry has just helped us with an 8 month journey from North London to Godalming in Surrey. Its easy to be sceptical but his dispassionate advice, insight and stewardship have been invaluable to us during this process.

    We have been very pleased with his services – an end to end approach with an ‘always on call’ mentality (within reason). He helped us with everything from honing in on potential areas outside the M25 through to managing estate agents and closing the deal.

    Would recommend without hesitation – many thanks Henry.

  18. Henry was recommended to me and I recently used his Bespoke service to purchase investment property. As a novice in the property business, I did not want to dive in without doing my research. Henry was extremely patient with me and over a few months, spent hours on the phone sharing his knowledge and expertise, whilst providing guidance and relevant information which enabled me to proceed, without pushing any specific agenda on me. Henry assisted me every step of the way. He identified interesting properties to view, arranged a viewing schedule for me and then helped to negotiate and then close the deal as well as chasing up solicitor’s right up until completion.

  19. We would have been completely lost without Henry’s advice. He gently but quickly dispelled our myths about the London market. Thank goodness we listened to him. Not only did he find the right flat for us ,he smoothed the way on so many fronts. His introductions to lawyers, surveyors and mortgage brokers made life easier. They have all proved to be reliable and helpful. He got a price we would have shied away from. And very importantly he made the whole process such fun. We have recommended him to a number of our friends and contacts.

  20. Henry really does all the things he lists with bullet points above, and I can’t imagine there are many buyers who wouldn’t benefit from at least a few of them. But he can also provide enthusiasm when you can’t supply much of your own; I needed that at the beginning, when my only requirement was to be in London, and didn’t know how to narrow my focus without missing things that would suit me. And he never complained about regular changes to requirements and budget, or gave the sense that he thought I’d taken enough of his time. I think you’d be nuts not to use a buying agent – at the very least, it cuts the risk of serious error – and Henry is both very good at his job, and a pleasure to have on/at your side.

  21. We had been looking for a property for a while and being mostly based oversees it was proving a challenge. Earlier this year, we were fortunate enough to be introduced to Henry and engaged him almost immediately and what a fantastic experience and happy to say a successful result. Henry’s deep knowledge of the London property market was invaluable as we explored various locations. His straight talking and great humour made what had been an exhausting experience (pre-Henry) into a great experience. Henry handled everything from finding suitable properties, talking to agents, recommending great solicitors, surveyors, builders and more. Henry seem to have the answer to pretty much everything that occurred in the process from start to finish, which made our lives and the experience so much easier and quicker.
    We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Henry to anyone considering a property purchase and indeed would strongly advise it – he is worth every pound of his fee!

  22. Henry has been incredibly helpful as I’ve floundered about trying to buy and sell in a tricky market. He is extremely communicative, generous with his time and advice and has been a sage and steady point of reference. Not only is his knowledge and experience of property second to none, but his ability to play the role of Property Agony Uncle at the end of the phone when things have seemed bleak has been extremely reassuring.

  23. I engaged with Henry on social media following his post about “accidental landlords” in Feb 2018. Henry and I spoke following that and his sound advice and guidance gave us the confidence to market our property and successfully sell in less than a month. Very knowledgeable (as you would expect) but also engaging. I would thoroughly recommend Henry’s services.

  24. Exhausting, exasperating and grueling, that is the feeling of trying to purchase a house in London today; the shady real estate agents and the spoiled sellers. Add a mix dirty money, enormous hikes in stamp duty taxes, and, during recent years, a macro environment with Brexit on the horizon.

    You will need Henry to avoid complete and utter insanity that is all I can say. With his help we found the most amazing house of our dreams although in the end however, we did not complete the purchase.

    Henry got us a great mortgage broker and and we got a mortgage offer that I did not even think was possible. He also negotiated the deal and set us up with a great straight-shooting solicitor.

    However, during the searches, issue upon issue was discovered with the house. The seller’s un-helpfulness eventually make us quit the process, even though Henry went to great length to sort them all out. Lesson for the seller: it takes two to tango.

    Currently we have no energy left and still no house. We will put a break on our search and reach out to Henry when we have gotten our strength back. If Henry would not have been acting on our behalf during the process it would have been a complete ride of pure insanity.

    Now, we will just sit tight for a year or so, in a rental, to recover, and when we have the energy back, hopefully we can deal with a seller that actually wants our business.

  25. We came to Henry to help us buy a family home and navigate the waters of UK housing market. He was very patient and helped us through the entire process of selecting an area, identifying the right house and negotiating the best price. He is worth his weight in gold and more than made up for his fees.

    The market was especially choppy and he helped us steal a great deal due to his patience, perseverance and insights into the UK housing market.

    Highly recommended you can’t go wrong in choosing Henry. We would miss his sense of humour.

  26. Within a short number of months after first meeting Henry, I was able to secure a fantastic country home that met or exceeded all my requirements and expectations. As time poor as I am, and with my main home remote from the area in which I was interested, without Henry’s involvement, this process could have taken years or, indeed, may never have happened. I was acutely aware of my lack of knowledge of the country property market in my target area and might not have had the confidence to pull the trigger on a purchase without Henry to provide advice and perspective on the market. Once the desired property was identified, Henry handled the negotiation process extremely well.

    In my case, Henry was also able to offer local knowledge and contacts to help me get the property up and running after purchase. This “after-care” was an unexpected bonus that has proved at least as valuable as his buying agent services.

    The decision to work with Henry was definitely the right one and I enthusiastically recommend him.

  27. Henry not only helps you find the house that you are looking for, but also helps you zero in on the area that you should be looking at. He helped us a lot with understanding different areas, builds, and what makes a property or area more desirable than the other. Once we had the house decided, he helped us negotiate a great deal, all the while explaining his process. He was there to make sure things were in order and moving at a good pace once the offer was accepted. He was always available on call or email, and would get back promptly on any queries or questions we had. We never felt the stress of buying a house, and it actually turned out to be quite an enjoyable process.

    We would recommend him in a heart beat.

  28. Henry came highly recommended and as we dipped our toe into the terrifying world of moving out of London and juggling buy-to-lets we gave him a call. Always calm, he led us by the hand through this minefield. His advice was brilliant, and whilst not always what we wanted to hear allowed us to assess the situation with our eyes wide open. We used him again to help us negotiate a deal on the house of our dreams and despite the vendor having other offers he helped us buy it at below asking price and within a matter of days. He speaks fluent ‘estate agent’ and took a huge amount of stress off our shoulders. Would highly recommend!

  29. It is very clear to us that without your help we should not have achieved our objective, since the property we purchased was not on the market and we had no access to it. On the way, you have also relieved us of a great deal of anxiety by your constantly optimistic approach during a process which has been in some ways unnecessarily protracted.

    Once we had contacted you, it rapidly became clear that you were able to facilitate the process immeasurably.

    With our thanks and best wishes.

  30. What I like about Henry is his depth of knowledge and his realistic approach. He listens with a very open mind and then gives his professional opinion. We had outgrown our large Victorian house and were very confused as what our next step should be. I work in a very busy environment and therefore it was really important to me that I had someone who I could trust and who was on my side. He understood both the business of selling and buying and gave me unbiased advice on agents, their fees, solicitors – all of which was truly useful.
    His knowledge of the housing market is second to none.

  31. I’ve worked with Henry on a number of different projects in the real estate arena. He has a fantastic depth of expertise within property and is well connected and talks in a no nonsense way. And it was refreshing to deal with someone who had no conflict of interest.

    I’d thoroughly recommend him for any advice on property especially regarding residential purchase, searches or investments – and to cap it all, he also has a sense of humour

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