A Buyer’s Best Kept Se­cret

Lo­cal prop­erty ex­pert David Lewis dis­cusses how some buy­ers are get­ting ahead of the com­pe­ti­tion in 2020 to find their per­fect home.

Cheshire Life - - At Home -

Af­ter years of un­cer­tainty and volatil­ity in the prop­erty mar­ket, since the start of the year con­fi­dence lev­els have been ris­ing, as has the num­ber of buy­ers com­menc­ing their prop­erty search. De­spite this flurry of re­newed ac­tiv­ity in the mar­ket, sell­ers have not been quite so fast to take ac­tion and there re­mains a dis­tinct lack of prop­er­ties for sale in Cheshire. In an ironic twist, the ques­tion fac­ing many buy­ers is no longer ‘whether to move’ but now ‘how to move’. Lack of choice of homes for sale, in­creas­ing com­pe­ti­tion from other buy­ers and dis­torted ask­ing prices have all made the process more com­plex in 2020.

Lev­el­ling up the di­vide

For years, the prin­ci­ple of caveat emp­tor (buyer be­ware) has ap­plied in the prop­erty mar­ket and has been con­sid­ered the ac­cepted norm. Sell­ers prior to even list­ing their home for sale ben­e­fit from ad­vice and guid­ance from sales agents, who then go on to han­dle the man­age­ment of a sale, yet buy­ers have been left to fend for them­selves. How­ever, in­creas­ing num­bers of as­tute pur­chasers are recog­nis­ing that their next move need not be so stress­ful and help is on hand in the form of a prop­erty fin­der. Ex­pe­ri­enced prop­erty find­ers of­fer their clients a wide range of ben­e­fits that un­rep­re­sented buy­ers will find chal­leng­ing to do them­selves. One of the core at­trac­tions to work­ing with a prop­erty fin­der is their ac­cess to off~mar­ket prop­er­ties. Un­be­known to many house hunters, some of the finest Cheshire homes chang­ing hands over the last 12 months have been sold ‘off-mar­ket’. Whilst some buy­ers are vaguely aware of this method of sale, many hold the false as­sump­tion that only high value homes are sold this way. This is not the case, as this hid­den el­e­ment of the Cheshire prop­erty mar­ket has a wide range of op­por­tu­ni­ties for all bud­gets.

Why do sell­ers choose off-mar­ket?

There are no hard and fast rules as to why homes are sold off-mar­ket as this is usu­ally in­flu­enced by mar­ket con­di­tions and a seller’s per­sonal cir­cum­stances. Equally, with so few prop­er­ties openly avail­able for sale over the last year, some sell­ers have be­come wary about sell­ing too quickly and then not hav­ing any­thing to move to. Sell­ing qui­etly to a pa­tient buyer of­fers both cer­tainty of sale and con­fi­dence to look in earnest for a new home with­out the usual pres­sures.

Good news for buy­ers? On the face of it, be­ing able to pur­chase a prop­erty off-mar­ket sounds ap­peal­ing for a buyer, as the prop­erty will usu­ally be fresh to the mar­ket and there is nor­mally less or no com­pe­ti­tion from other buy­ers. How­ever, pur­chas­ing off-mar­ket usu­ally means that the seller will ex­pect more flex­i­bil­ity with timescales, as they most likely will not have found a prop­erty to move to them­selves. The seller is also likely to be ex­pect­ing to achieve a full price, to pre­vent the prop­erty from be­ing for­mally mar­keted and made avail­able to other buy­ers. In a ris­ing mar­ket though, trad­ing this flex­i­bil­ity is of­ten fair, as the value of the home you are buy­ing may have risen by the time you com­plete and take own­er­ship.

An in­vest­ment not a cost

The en­tire con­cept of be­ing rep­re­sented as a buyer is still a rel­a­tively well kept se­cret in the Cheshire mar­ket, but in many de­vel­oped coun­tries around the world it is en­tirely the norm and is now gain­ing aware­ness in the UK. Work­ing with a prop­erty fin­der with the right ex­pe­ri­ence and in­dus­try knowl­edge can, on many oc­ca­sions, be­come a self fund­ing ser­vice due to the dis­counts they can ne­go­ti­ate off an ask­ing price. This, cou­pled with time sav­ings and ac­cess to a wider range of pur­chas­ing options, makes a prop­erty find­ing ser­vice a com­pelling one. Whilst find­ing the right prop­erty to pur­chase in Cheshire is likely to re­main chal­leng­ing, it is by no means in­sur­mount­able, and with the right pro­fes­sional as­sis­tance the process can be both en­joy­able and re­ward­ing.

David Lewis GAR­RING­TON

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