Help is at hand when finding a home
PUBLISHED: 00:56 25 February 2012 | UPDATED: 21:06 20 February 2013
We all know where to go if we want to buy a house, we scour the internet, look in newspapers and magazines, including Sussex Life, of course, and then contact the seller's agent. But did you know you could employ someone to do all this for you?
Rupert Coles is a man on a mission to connect buyers with their perfect property.
For having spent eight years as an estate agent, he is now on the side of the purchasers. Rupert is one of a small band of professionals that spend their lives looking for the ideal home for their clients. In return for a retention fee and a percentage of the purchase price, he could find yours for you.
Mind you, the homes he seeks arent cheap. Ruperts usual starting point is property going for 1million upwards and he has found homes at many times that price.
His customers choose him for a variety of reasons. Some are living abroad so need someone on the spot, some are simply too busy to spend time trawling for a property, others might get comfort from being guided through the process.
Another growing category is individuals who have lost out on their perfect property at the last minute. Rupert is incentivised to ensure that his clients get their dream home as his fees are based on success.
So what do you get for the money? You get his in depth local knowledge of the Sussex market, his expert negotiation skills, his contacts with local agents and his technical grasp as a qualified chartered surveyor.
Another element his customers get is access to houses that never hit the open market. Up to half the homes he finds for his clients have not been for sale.
He does this by keeping his finger on the pulse of the local market. For example, hearing about a couple who are getting divorced might give him a lead on a property that could be available.
Rupert who has lived and worked in Sussex for the past 12 years and currently lives in Ripe, near Lewes, will spend time getting to know his client and go through their brief with them.
This typically involves things like, distance from the station, local schools, shops, equestrian facilities and sporting venues as well as requirements of the actual property such as age, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, surroundings and the dcor.
As a buying agent you build up a close rapport with your client and the first thing I have to do is to understand what they really want.
We will spend a lot of time with the client acclimatising them to the area. We will spend two or three days in the car, driving them around showing them what they could have bought in the past, what the drive to the station is like, showing them the kind of property that is available.
As with all things, the end result is often a balance between these different elements.
People might say I am only going to buy 15 minutes from this railway station but then you take them five minutes further away and they say Oh crikey.
Once the clients have picked their home it is Ruperts job to ensure they actually get the house as it is likely that others will also be in the running and to make sure that the due diligence is done and that they end up with what they thought they were buying.
I put it to him that he is a bit like Kirsty Allsopp on Location, Location, Location and he admits there are elements of that but he is doing it full time and often in a highly confidential way unlike a television series.
He has found homes for some very famous people but, as his service is based on confidentiality, he is not revealing any details, which is highly professional but a bit frustrating for me.
Rupert will be writing a column for Sussex Life from next month.