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.
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