One of the most common questions we get asked surrounds the confusion over the role of estate agents and property finders. The crucial difference between a property finder and an estate agent is who they work for. Simply put, an estate agent is employed by the seller and a property finder by the buyer.
So, what exactly is the difference between a property finder and an estate agent?
An estate agent will advertise the seller’s property on their website, in local newspapers and in their shop window as well as circulating details to their database of potential buyers. Some estate agents will charge a percentage fee following a successful sale, whilst others (particularly online) prefer to charge an upfront fee for listing the property, although this can sometimes be deferred it is usually charged regardless of whether the property sells or not. Whilst most estate agents are incredibly helpful and know the local area well, at the end of the day they are working on behalf of the seller to get the highest price possible for the property and to receive their commission.
What is a property finder?
A property finder is someone who works closely with a buyer to find, negotiate and purchase a property in accordance with a brief. Ideally they have no ties to a specific estate agency (although some large national estate agents do have a buying arm too) so that there is no conflict of interest and they are free to recommend whichever property is most suitable for the buyer.
At the start of the process, a property finder will establish your requirements, prioritise them and discuss where compromises could be made, should it be necessary. With this list in mind, they will then search the local area for potential properties and visit them on your behalf. This search may include ‘off-market’ properties which never reach the estate agent’s website.
Using their professional opinion and expert local knowledge, they will discount any that don’t fit with the established brief, ultimately saving you a lot of time and effort. You will receive feedback on a shortlist of properties which you can then visit yourself, with or without the property finder. They will be able to answer all your questions about local schools, leisure facilities and those all important transport links.
Once a property is chosen, they can negotiate the price on your behalf, often covering their fee in the process At County Homesearch we structure our fees to incentivise our property finders to secure you the best deal possible, setting them further apart from an estate agent. Reputation is everything to a property finder so you can be sure that they will never encourage you to make a poor purchase that doesn’t fit the brief.
If you would like to learn more about what a property finder could do for you, then get in touch with us at www.county-homesearch.com or call 0333 939 8300