It’s really important to make sure that you find an estate agent who is legally sound, reliable, helpful and eager to service your needs.
You need to feel comfortable with the estate agency that you are dealing with and have confidence in their ability to find your perfect property – it’s so important to make sure that your chosen agent understands exactly what you are looking for.
Ten tips for choosing a foreign estate agent:
- Make sure you choose an estate agent that is registered. There are a number of professional associations for each country and every estate agent must be registered to agree to follow a code of professional code of practice.
- Choose an agency with experience of dealing with overseas buyers and with English speaking staff.
- It can also be reassuring to find an estate agent that has been around for a while, who knows the area you are interested in very well and knows exactly what they need to do to ensure the search – and potentially the eventual purchase of your property – goes without a hitch.
- Explain your requirements exactly and carefully, and be sure to let them know which of these are fixed and which ones you are prepared to be flexible about. Make sure you explain your budget clearly so that you do not waste time looking at properties that are out of your budget range. It may be a good idea to send them an email backing up everything that you have said to make sure that it is in writing. Having said this, it’s also good to be open to suggestions in case your estate agent thinks of something that you haven’t!
- Ask questions about the local area and amenities – your estate agent should have a good working knowledge of the area they are working in and be able to offer you suitable information. They should also be able to offer effective aftercare services to help you settle into your new community, even after the final contact has been signed.
- Make sure your finances (whether this be a mortgage or your own savings) are in order as soon as possible so that you can move quickly if necessary.
- Plan your viewing trip carefully to ensure that you have time to view properties more than once if they appeal to you.
- Give feedback after each viewing. Make sure you take detailed notes at each viewing so that you can provide as much detail on what you liked and didn’t like to the estate agent.
- Always consult your agent about offers on properties – they should have a good idea of what sellers will be prepared to accept.
- When the time comes to make an offer, make sure that you hire your own independent lawyer to oversee the purchase.
Angelos Koutsoudes is Head of The Overseas Guides Company, 0207 898 0549.