Debra Williams column: Negotiating the stress around property buying
I BOUGHT a house this month — and I love it. But why oh why does the process of actually buying it have to be so stressful?
A confession: I am addicted to those TV programmes that help people move, either helping find their dream homes, re-locating to another part of the UK or even moving to a new country entirely.
I enjoy them because not only do they allow a peek into other people's homes and comment on their décor, you also get to check out what's in your price range and compare that to your current home.
I have been looking at properties for some time now — and don't even get me started on the state of many of the properties I saw!
Why would you not want to present your property in the best possible light? At least give it a good clean! There was one house where I refused to touch any surface without putting sanitiser gel on afterwards — The House Doctor would have had a field day in there!
But having put in an offer for a property, I had forgotten that the whole process of negotiating through an agent can, frankly, be a nightmare.
Thankfully there are some very good estate agents out there who assist both parties in trying to meet a mutually agreeable deal. But some estate agents are remunerated by a commission based on the amount of money they are able to secure for the seller (the vendor) of the property.
When I worked in America I got to experience their property system. There are realtors (estate agents) just like ours but there are also realtors who act on behalf of the purchaser to negotiate the best deal for them, staying within their budget.
So I was thrilled to find the same service available here in South Wales.
It offers a fee structure based on a percentage of the saving off the property list price, therefore ensuring you both have same goal . . . to agree the LOWEST possible purchase price!
The service starts before you go to view a property, once you have identified and chosen the house you wish to buy. Then the negotiations are taken over and this will be the last time you need to liaise with the estate agent yourself.
You're updated at every stage of the negotiation process and once the purchase price has been agreed, according to your instructions, they ensure that the estate agent receives all the relevant information they require.
At this stage the estate agent will produce a "memorandum of sale" which enables your representative to chase all parties involved in the process and update on progress, right up to completion.
Without having a Phil Spencer or a Kirsty Allsopp to do it for you, it is a great service and certainly assisted me in securing a good price on my recent house purchase.
This approach is refreshing. I always applaud local entrepreneurs who come up with business models that can be based in Wales but who trade mostly online, therefore potentially covering the whole of the UK.
This model can also be extended into a franchise operation, but that's one for them to consider. I'd be happy to discuss it further for the price of a skinny latte with a vanilla shot!