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© Josh Wilburne

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© Damiano Baschiera

more likely to advocate and work harder for you if they like you, so always remem- ber to be courteous and polite with them. Take a genuine interest in them, remember names, ask questions and always thank them at the end of a viewing. Even if you didn’t like the property, you might like the next one. A positive relationship with your estate

agent gives you an edge over the competi- tion, and it’s something I have personal ex- perience and plenty of anecdotal evidence in. Spending years building relationships with estate agents and getting to know them means that we often get notified about new properties weeks or months be- fore they’re widely advertised.

5. Have multiple options

Te strongest negotiation position is the one where you can walk away. Falling in love with a property and focusing on that one dream house is quite common, but it’s not the best way forward. Remember that estate agents will be

working to find their clients (the sellers and landlords) as many options and offers as possible to get them the best deal. So it’s

best practice to find at least three proper- ties that you love, preferably with different agents, to give yourself a negotiating edge.

6. Don’t stop looking

In the UK, nothing is guaranteed until the contracts are exchanged and 10% deposits are paid, which can be weeks or months after the offer has been accepted. Up to this point, anyone can swoop in and out- bid you (a practice known as gazumping), the chain can collapse, or the sellers could simply change their mind. Landlords can also change the terms before the contract is signed, so don’t take any deals for granted until they’re legally binding. Data from a Post Office Money report

found that 44% of home sales fall through within the first four weeks after an offer is accepted. Tis culture of uncertainly makes it vital that you have contingencies lined up in case your preferred property falls through. Your search doesn’t end when you have an offer accepted, only when the contracts are exchanged.

“You might not know that UK estate agents don’t actually work for the buyers.”

Sam Lutterodt is a property expert and director at St. James Eaton which helps people find their dream home. Have a question for Sam?

Email or visit

FOCUS The Magazine 29

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