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23 Sunday Dec 2012

Why use a property finder? Posted by:

The vendor has the estate agent on their side but who represents the buyer? Increasingly, purchasers are turning to property finders to help find the home of their dreams and negotiate a good price for them. Client Gabby Adler, an independent property finder who specialises in locating family homes in Richmond-upon-Thames, answers some of the questions people most commonly ask:

Surely I can just go into an estate agent’s office or search for a property on their website: why do I need your help in finding a home?

With a limited number of family homes coming up for sale or rent in such a desirable area as Richmond-upon-Thames, many never make it onto the estate agents’ websites but are sold or let ‘off market’ before any particulars are drawn up. If you don’t know which properties are coming onto the market before they actually do so, you are likely to miss out.

This is where I come in. I have great local connections built up over many years working in the property industry. My vast network of local contacts means that my clients have access to off-market properties and are often the first through the door to view a property when the owner decides to sell or it comes up for rent. This puts them at a huge advantage.

It is also worth remembering that estate agents don’t act in the buyer or tenant’s best interests: they are paid by the seller or landlord, and work for them. Many of my clients prefer to use a buying agent like myself because they are comforted by the fact that someone is working for them, representing their best interests.

What makes you qualified to be a property finder?

I worked as an estate agent in Richmond-upon-Thames before setting up my property finding business, when I decided that I would like to work with buyers rather than sellers. Knowing first-hand how estate agents work gives me invaluable insight, which benefits my clients.

Unusually among property finders, I am also professionally qualified with a Master’s in Property Valuation and Law from Cass Business School. This means I am professionally trained to value residential and commercial properties, so I can advise clients exactly what a property is worth.

What other experience do you have?

I have bought and refurbished several properties to live in and rent out. I also manage a portfolio of high-value rental properties, in the UK, Spain and the US, on behalf of clients.

Why do you specialise in finding properties in Richmond-upon-Thames?

Apart from being more than happy to spend all my time in such a great borough, the benefit of concentrating on one area is that I can be a true specialist. I know all the estate agents, spend most of my time in the area and constantly track property prices. I keep an eye on what properties come onto the market for and what they sell for. I can see properties at the drop of a hat because the area I cover is relatively compact compared to other property finders.

My children are starting school in the next year or so. Do you know the catchment areas and how good the local schools are?

Yes. I am a specialist in finding family homes and only work with families looking to buy or rent a new home. My experience of working exclusively with families means I understand all the factors they need to consider when moving and can make sure that all aspects of family life are addressed during the property search. Good schools and catchment areas are a hugely important part of this.

Can you help me get a property for less than the asking price?

I am a very good negotiator. This comes from my experience as an estate agent, my in-depth knowledge of the local market, and working with countless clients. I don’t just help you find a home, a big part of what I do is help with negotiating on the price.  My only job is to look out for and represent the wants and needs of my clients. Unlike estate agents who work for the seller or landlord to get the best possible price for them, my job is to ensure that my client gets the best deal for them.

How much do you charge?

I believe a fixed fee is a fair fee. One of the ways in which I differ from other buying agents is that I charge a fixed fee rather than a percentage of the purchase price, which I believe represents much better value for money for my clients. For rental searches I charge one month’s rent. Please visit the Packages page on my website for more information and prices.

For more information, contact Gabby on 0207 603 3779 or go to