Buyers agents – those who broker property on behalf of buyers rather than sellers are quickly dwindling.
“In 2014 we were working with 320 buying agents — now the number is down to 150,” said Charles McDowell, who runs a prime London estate agency. “The network is getting ever smaller.”
The number of buying agents according to the Property Ombudsman has fallen from 547 in January 2015 to 497 and follows a sharp slowdown in the market for homes of more than £1m.
Giuliana la Pera, a buying agent with 20 years of experience said there was a period when “every man and his dog” set up in competition, including many former agents.
“It looks easy on paper to set up a buying agency — you do one deal at £20m and then retire for the rest of the year,”
“But the reality is it’s much harder than that. There is a lot of psychology and you need experience,” she said.
Some 26 per cent fewer homes were sold in London’s most expensive districts, such as Kensington and Westminster, in 2015 than a year earlier, according to Hamptons. Prices paid per square foot for homes costing more than £1m dropped 1.6 per cent in 2015, said LonRes, a data provider, after two years of more than 10 per cent rises.
Buying agents are generally paid a small upfront fee plus a percentage of the purchase price as a “success fee”, which can run into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds.
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