Six golden rules to finding the perfect home

© Alena Kravchenko

With higher prices and more people looking than desirable homes available, finding the perfect home as an expat in the UK can be a challenge. From seller-centric estate agents and gazumping to the amount of sheer time needed, buying or renting when you’re new to the UK isn’t easy. Over years of finding homes for numerous clients, I’ve come to rely on six great rules to make your search easier and more effective.

1. Get your finances in order

Money makes the world go round, or so they say, and it’s certainly at the corner- stone of the property market. Falling in love with a property and making your offer before your finances are in place is a com- mon mistake. It’s important to understand not only the financial implications of the sale itself, but also the additional costs you’ll need to pay during the process. A great property will often have a lot of

interest, so ensuring that you have your fi- nances all ready to go can help you to be favoured over other buyers. If you’re buy- ing and making an offer, you’ll need to have proof of any required mortgage agreed in principle, but it also helps to have proof of the deposit funds ready to show the agent. If you’re renting, you will need proof of payslips, the first 10 weeks of rent to pay upfront and a letter of employ- ment. We make sure that our clients have a

clear understanding of the costs involved and have all the financial information ready to go in the event they find a prop- erty to make an offer on. Having all of this prepared allows us to act proactively, pro-

28 FOCUS The Magazine January/February 2020

viding full finance packs to sellers or land- lords and gaining an advantage over the competition.

2. Education, education, education!

Relocation is as much about your family as it is about you. Knowing that everyone, from executives to professional athletes, perform best when their family is happy means that your children’s education should be at the forefront of your search criteria. Both private and state schools and nurseries have fierce competition, with a high demand for the best institutions and even more high demand for international schools. In our experience, the best way to go

about it is to search for both properties and schools at the same time. Keep your op- tions open and try to find properties in op- timal locations for more than just one school or nursery. For instance, one of our recent clients had their heart set on a specific school so were searching properties within that area. When they changed their mind about the school, we were able to offer alternatives due to tandem searches in other areas.

3. Spend less time on websites and more time talking

Property portals such as Rightmove or Zoopla offer convenience to busy buyers but should only be used to complement your search. Speaking to actual estate agents gives you the opportunity to hear about properties before they’re advertised, increasing your chances of finding the per- fect property. For example, it’s not un- common for us to speak to more than 100 agents a week and pre-screen 30 properties per week for a client. As the great golfer Arnold Palmer allegedly said “the harder you practice, the luckier you get.”

4. Be very, very nice to estate agents

You might not know that UK estate agents don’t actually work for the buyers. Tey work for the sellers and landlords and consequently often don’t have buyers’ and renters’ best interest at heart. Tey get their fees from sellers and landlords and favour what’s best for their clients. Tey do, however, hold the keys to a

wealth of local knowledge as well as the keys to your new home. Estate agents are

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40