When you’re searching for the ideal property, it pays to be in an estate agent’s good books. If you can make it onto the so-called ‘hot buyers’ list, you’ve got a chance of getting a peak at suitable properties before all other prospective buyers. This takes a bit of effort from your side but is certainly worth it in the long run. Here’s how to get on an estate agent’s ‘hot buyers’ list.
A seller’s market
The business model of estate agency was designed to service the need of sellers not buyers.
Agencies don’t make their money from the buyers. Having said this, buyers are important in the grand scheme of things – without you, there would be no attraction to sellers. It’s not you who pays the agent, so they don’t need to keep you sweet.
This is worth remembering when you’re looking for your dream property.
Estate agents don’t have to show you everything that comes onto their books. They simply don’t have the time, or the inclination to give every buyer special treatment. Property is a sales volume business – in order to keep making money, agencies need to be constantly shifting properties. This means they have no time on those who dither, don’t know what they want or simply can’t make up their minds.
This is the key to making a good impression.
You’re about to make a sizeable investment so it’s worth doing what you can to get agents on board.
What is a ‘hot buyers’ list?
A ‘hot buyers’ list is quite simply a list of serious buyers. People who know what they want, how much they want to spend and who are in a position to close the deal quickly. These are the people the agent will call first. You want to be one of them!
So, how do you get on the ‘hot buyers’ list?
Visit the estate agents in person
Take the time to visit ALL estate agents in the area you’re looking and register your details with each of them. No matter how many you go to, be polite and courteous with each agent you deal with. Remember, you need them to help you but they aren’t paid to offer you a service.
There are some serious advantages in visiting agents in person:
- You can get a feel for how the agency operates
- You can build a relationship with the agent, meeting in person is the best way to start this
- You’ll achieve a better understanding of the market by speaking with them about it – they live and breathe it everyday
- They’ll assume you’re serious about your hunt and will treat you accordingly
- They’ll be able to put a face to a name which will help you stand out
Do your homework
Estate agents like buyers who:
- Know what they want
- Know where they want to look
- Know how much they’re prepared to pay to get it
By doing your research beforehand, for example having a set budget in mind, you’ll be better prepared to impart this information.
Explain exactly why you’ve made the decisions you have. All this information will help them find a property which best suits your needs and boost you up the ‘hot buyers’ list.
Follow up with them
Not only is this polite, but estate agents are busy people. If you want to get on their ‘hot buyers’ list, you have to demonstrate you’re keen.
Follow up every meeting with an email, even if you’re just repeating the information you’ve already given them. It won’t hurt to write it down and send it over. Without being proactive you quickly become ‘just another buyer’. You want the estate agent to be able to distinguish you and your needs from the crowd.
Here are some vital details to include in follow up emails:
- Confirm your purchasing position
- Reiterate your property requirements
- Let the agent know you’re keen to work specifically with them
Make the estate agent’s life easier
If you want to get on an estate agent’s ‘hot buyers’ list, you have to be an easy customer. Fast sales are key to them making a living. If you have your ducks in a row, you’ll be viewed as the ideal buyer. It’s advisable not to reveal all your cards just yet – remember, the agent works for the seller, not the buyer.
Here’s some important information to share with the estate agent:
- Have your finances in place e.g. a mortgage agreement in principle if you’re a first-time buyer
- Are you in a chain?
- If you’re in a chain, how far along in the selling process are you?
- If you’re renting, how much notice do you have to give your landlord?
- How quickly could you complete?
- Your availability for viewings
- Have you got a solicitor in place?
- Your list of requirements (ensure they know you’re prepared to compromise if necessary)
Be available and flexible
If you want to be at the head of the queue, you have to be flexible, available and easy to get hold of. If the estate agent calls, pick up or call them back immediately. You have to be willing to meet them halfway and not go silent on them. Otherwise you’ll lose your position in the queue and all your hard work will have been for nothing.
In today’s market you need the estate agent more than they need you.
Accept some things are out of your control
Like everything in life, there are variables in the property market and these can be beyond your control. Accept this and it’ll make your life easier.
These are just some variables in the housing market you may have to deal with:
- Rising or falling interest rates
- Major disasters that have a significant impact, both foreign and domestic
- Political or legislative changes
- Market conditions at the time you need to sell or buy
It’s worth knowing there are certain things you can control, these will see you on your way to property heaven.
Factors in the housing market you can control:
- You (and only you) will chose the property you purchase. So be proactive to find the right one, at the right price
- How much you are prepared to pay? You know your budget, no one can force you to go outside of this. Stick to your guns and pay only what you can and are prepared to pay
- Staying on the estate agent’s ‘hot buyers’ list
If you want to guarantee property success you should aspire to work your way onto the ‘hot buyers’ list and stay there!
Relationships work both ways
Finally, it’s worth remembering good relationships work both ways. Be open, honest and communicative with your agents and they should be the same with you.
It doesn’t matter what someone is selling, an agent isn’t going to make 50 phone calls if they can sell it with just 5. The people they consider the best and most likely to buy are always contacted first.
Know the facts
Before you settle on a property and an area, it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into. It can be advisable to do this before approaching estate agents – after all, changing your mind about what you’re looking for will give you a reputation for unreliability with agents. Do the research – find out about local schools, amenities, crime rates and more. You can find all this and more with Phil Spencer’s Property Report.