5 things you need to know before choosing a property finder

Published Dec 12, 2018 – 4 mins read

To begin, let’s briefly examine what a property finder does.

Their role is essentially to match their client’s list of property requirements with opportunities they research and identify in the marketplace.

That may sound simple.  It is anything but.

Many exclusive properties simply never make it onto the open market.  It’s important to be plugged into a number of private property sales networks in order to identify some of the best homes out there when they become available.  Top property finders operate in this domain and can source off market properties.

They are entirely distinct from an estate agent.  Whilst estate agents perform a highly valuable and professional function, they are essentially acting primarily in the interests of the seller.

Property finders, by contrast, have no financial or emotional interest in persuading you to purchase a given property. Their sole objective is helping a buyer to find a property of their dreams – and for the right price.

Here are 5 things you should be sure you understand before choosing a property finder to assist you.

1. Check their experience

The professional matching of a discerning buyer with an exclusive property is, as stated above, far from easy.

It requires extensive skills and many years’ experience in the marketplace.  It’s therefore important that you research the background of any property finders you are considering using and make sure that they have been engaging in their profession for many years.

A property finder who is “learning on the job” may not be ideally positioned to assist you in saving time and money tracking down those elusive exclusive properties.

Experience Property Expert

2. What is their track record of success?

Having a number of years’ experience in the property market is one thing.  Being successful as a property finder is entirely different.

There is so much more to professional property finding than simply looking at the websites of estate agents.  Instead, it’s about understanding areas, people, businesses and property prices.  It’s also about that above-mentioned networking with some of the top professionals in the industry.

It can be very difficult to clearly see any of these things simply by looking at your property finders’ website.  Instead, try:

  • researching independent sources to see how visible they are and where possible, what their clients have commented about their services in the past;
  • looking to see if they have published any case studies or been referred to by such;
  • talking to them in advance and asking for examples of their successes in delivering great property finds to previous clients. In fairness, client confidentiality may preclude them from being extremely specific but you should be able to tell very quickly whether they are speaking from a real background of confidence and success or speculation coupled with wishful thinking.

3. Review their professional accreditation

It’s worth looking to see what professional bodies if any, they belong to.

Professional and successful property finders will always value both their own reputation and the opinions of other recognised professionals in their industry.  They’re also totally committed to exceptional standards of service.

That’s usually indicated by them being a registered member of a redress scheme such as The Property Ombudsman, as we at Garrington are.

There are also legal requirements for all property agents, such as being registered with the HMRC for money laundering supervision.

As a client, it can be reassuring to know the company you’re working with a company that pays a fee to the ICO in order to fulfil Data Protection Regulations, as Garrington do.

Finally, a property finder might be a member of Propertymark, The Association of Relocation Agents and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors – memberships are not handed out lightly and by being a member of one or more of these you can be sure your property finder will uphold the professional standards set by these bodies.

Professional Accreditation

4. Assess their local presence and credibility

Some property finders operate within a relatively small geographic area.  Others might have a regional or national presence around the UK.

However they are distributed, when you are dealing with an office in a given location, the professionals using that area as their base should be able to demonstrate an unrivalled knowledge of the property market in the surrounding areas.

That knowledge can usually be very quickly assessed by making some relatively straightforward enquiries.  Warning signs to look for might include:

  • when you are mentioning the local areas of interest to you and it is clear that the property finders have never heard of them – or at best are very hazy about where they are and what properties are located within them;
  • if you are in direct contact with estate agents, reputable property finders in the area will often be known to them.

It’s also worth simply introducing a brief discussion of things such as local landmarks and local schooling issues etc.  You should be able to tell within a minute or two whether or not the property finder really has an in-depth knowledge of the area they are operating within.

5. What information and/or services they deliver

It’s important to understand how they will be sharing their findings with you, in most cases they can report to you as often as you so wish.

You might want to only know about properties that match your requirements or you might prefer to know everything your consultant has considered and why they’ve discounted certain properties. Be sure to discuss this with them from the offset.

Not solely focusing on the properties, your property finder should be able to discuss the immediate surrounds and local areas with you also.

They should be acting as an agent working between you and estate agents but they also need to be proactive in getting out there and looking for properties rather than passively waiting for estate agents to call them.

Accompanied inspections or pre-inspections, in order to avoid you making a wasted visit to a property that is unsuitable, should be included.

Discussing how the process will work should tell you very quickly just how professional they are.

Property search services

If you’re moving to the UK from overseas or relocating to a new area you’ll want to understand exactly how the property search services work and how they’ll be tailored to your needs.

Ask questions about how a property finder will specifically help you find a property that meets your requirements, they shouldn’t have a blanket approach.

Each search is unique; clients have a personal set of requirements, varying time pressures, different circumstances and geographically where you’re looking will have an impact on how a property finder approaches the search.

Selecting a property finder

If you would like to save time and reduce your risks in finding the right property, it might be sensible to consider the services of property finders.

Here at Garrington, we have an extensive portfolio of services we offer to our private clients, backed up with over two decade’s experience. Why not contact us now to discuss how we may be able to help you further?