Metro - 29 November 2013
What to consider when hiring a buying agent
By Jo Eccles
Using a buying agent was previously only associated with the rich or the very time poor. However, the industry is changing dramatically, and many estate agents will now gladly give priority to the best known buying agents and their clients. Therefore, more and more buyers are adopting this new way of buying a property, choosing to get ahead by retaining a buying agent to make sure they get access to the best properties, as well as ensuring that they have an industry expert fighting their corner through the negotiations and purchase.
Due to this popular movement, and the fact that the barriers to entry for someone setting up as a buying agent are very low, we’ve seen the number of buying agents soar over recent years. In response to this, there has been a welcome move by the property industry whereby a new buying agent code of practice has recently been announced by The Property Ombudsmen. It has been designed with input from industry experts, such as leading buying agencies and the Association of Relocation Professionals which is a trade body overseeing property finders.
For anyone wanting to use a buying agent, check that they’re signed up to a scheme, as it will give you assurance that the company is properly insured, is operating professionally, and is accountable if you need to make a complaint. Obviously there are other credentials you should check when interviewing a buying agent. For example, have an in-depth discussion about areas as you will be able to spot straight away a professional and expert company, versus a one man band who has just set up business. Also check that they don’t ever represent sellers as that can create a conflict of interest. Asking about backgrounds of the team is also pertinent – you’re using a buying agent to advise you, not sell to you, so a team of ex–estate agents might be something to be wary of.