This is the second article in our DIY Relocation series looking at how to relocate without using a relocation agent.  Our first in the series – Choosing the right area and finding a school can be found on our blog page:

https://www.executiverelocation.co.uk/?p=253&option=com_wordpress&Itemid=39

Finding your perfect property:

  • Property/space requirements – do you want a large house in a quiet area, or a flat in the centre of town?  How do you feel about lots of stairs?  Do you need to park a car (or two)?  Would you like a garden?  These questions will help you come up with a list of things that are important to you – and also things you are willing to compromise on.
  • Talk to as many agents as possible – there are websites from which you can email agents all at once and register your details.  Here are a couple: http://www.rightmove.co.uk/,  http://www.primelocation.com/.  The more agents you register your details with, the more properties you will have to choose from.  Be warned though – agents are paid by owners and landlords to market their properties.  They can have viewing targets and will generally show you anything they can in order to hit these targets and get their commission.  They also have a keen interest to get the highest price as they are usually paid a percentage fee.  This can be a major waste of time if you are not very specific about what you are looking for. If you’re renting, there is a regulating body for letting agents and letting agencies in the UK:  The Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) is a professional membership and regulatory body.  It’s a good idea to choose a property through an ARLA registered agent as there is a code of conduct they have to follow and a method of redress, if they don’t.  If you’re purchasing, the NAEA is the equivalent body for estate agents. Their members are qualified, which means you can be sure you are dealing with a professional agent who adheres to certain industry standards.
  • Using the Internet – Don’t be fooled into thinking you can just browse the Internet to find your perfect home – notoriously it isn’t as up to date as you expect, and often lists properties that are no longer available.  Additionally, agents simply don’t need to list every property – many come on and go off the market without appearing on any property portals, some go under offer before the details are even printed so don’t rely on web pages to include all available properties
  • Find out about the immediate area – agents really are experts in the geographical areas they cover so if you’re after local knowledge, what streets are good and which ones to avoid, ask the agents to tell you.  Google Maps also offers a “street-view” facility which is a useful tool where you can have a virtual walk down the street and look at the local neighbourhood.  Do this before you go to view a property and you will save a lot of wasted time!
  • Viewing properties – things aren’t always as they seem!  Properties which look good on paper aren’t necessarily so great in real life.  Photographs provided by agents can be out of date and/or misleading.  Remember that agents want to show you as many of their properties as possible so choose which properties you want to view with care – don’t think you have to view properties simply because the agent thinks you should, and don’t feel bad about saying no.

There is an art to viewing properties – especially if you’re seeing lots in one day:

  • Take hard copy details with you and write notes – you’ll be amazed at how one property blends into another when you’ve seen five or six
  • Take photographs or video – most agents will be happy for you to do this (as long as you ask them first!)
  • Don’t be frightened to say when you don’t like something – if you walk through the door of a property and hate it, abandon the viewing without looking at the whole property.  Why waste your time – as well as the agent’s – just because you want to be polite.  Agent’s are used to it so don’t feel bad!

We provide a preview service which eliminates the need for our clients to waste any of their time viewing unsuitable properties. We also take video footage and/or photographs whilst we are there so that our clients can make an informed choice rather than just go by what the agents’ details say.  There is a good reason for this!  Be warned, don’t even think about securing a property without going to see it first.  It might be a short term cost saving but if you’re landed with a property you hate – or with stained carpets and a smell of damp, it will be a false economy in the long term!

Finding your perfect property can take a lot of time and effort but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare.  These steps should help you to as organised and thorough as possible.  Be methodical, take your time and good luck!