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There’s nothing quite like taking that first step onto the property ladder. But trying to buy a home is like entering a totally alien world that’s bamboozling and full of jargon that’s impossible to understand – you can be gazumped & gazunder, your deal might fall out of bed and you’re probably going to have to understand how interest rates work. One thing is certain: if you want to succeed in buying a property, you need to make friends with your estate agent. We’re not talking going out for cocktails with them, and starting a Whatsapp group – we mean you’re going to need to talk their talk and walk their walk.
Here's our step-by-step guide to getting on your estate agent's good side.
Do Your Research
You’ve got your deposit saved, and your mortgage approved in principle. What’s the next step? You need to decide precisely where you want to live. Spend some time in the area and get a feel for it. Then, start researching local house prices, and how the market has been behaving. The better informed you are, the easier you’ll find conversations with estate agents. Te more precise and realistic you can be with them, the happier they’ll be to deal with you.
Go and Meet Them & Flash Your Details
Don’t just sign up to them online. Go into their offices and say hello in person. Take your business card, stapled to a print-out of what you’re looking for and where; how much you’ve got to spend and how much your deposit is. Make sure they’ll remember you as a person, not just another email address. And make sure they know you mean business…
Be Honest With Them
Don’t massage what you can afford or be vague about what you’ll put up with. If they’re showing you glorious properties that you absolutely adore but know you can’t buy – let them know at the earliest opportunity. If you know you don’t want a newbuild, don’t let them show ten in the hopes they’ll find you a period conversion next; or a pretend outdoor is a-nice-to-have if deep down, you know it’s a must.
Remember They Don't Work For You!
Estate agents fees are paid by the seller, not the buyer. So you’re not their number 1 client. You’re not even their client at all! They work for sellers and to deadlines and targets. If they think you’re going to help them meet their sales targets, they’ll be much more likely to call you up if a likely property comes on the market. If you can, find out a bit about the deadlines they’re working to….
Be polite! Return their phone calls! If you say you’re going to a viewing, turn up. If you don’t, why should they call you next time something perfect comes up? It bears repeating, nobody likes a time waster!. You know that friend who says she’s going to come to your party, even though you know she isn’t. Then doesn’t turn up, even when she’s promised to bring dessert? Infuriating yes? Don’t be that person, basically.
Be Prepared to Compromise
Not all estate agents’ advice is nonsense. If all the estate agents in the area (and the might of the internet) can’t find you the home you want, in the area you want at a price you can afford, accept it may not be out there. Work out 2-3 things that are non-negotiable but be flexible on the rest and be prepared to compromise and work with them.
The relationship doesn’t come to an end once you’ve had an offer accepted. Do your research and understand all the steps that have to happen before you get the keys to your new home. Keep communicating with the agent all the way through to make sure the deal goes through. Stay friendly and professional but be proactive and push.
It seems like a lot of hard work and stress, but remember, it’ll all be worth it in the end. Just imagine what it’ll finally feel like to post that Instagram picture of you holding up your keys in front of your very own front door.
If you're saving to buy a house, remember that your savings are protected by the FSCS. Click here to find out more.