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United Kingdom (UK) - Property Search
Searching for Property
The Internet is not the only resource for searching property. Newspapers, magazines and word of mouth still remain popular options. Colleagues and friends can often recommend reputable agents for buying or renting a property, as well as recommended areas and ease of commuting.
Today, most newspapers are also freely available online, so whether one can access the printed copy or not, a search online at Telegraph or Guardian newspapers will reveal some of the local properties available.
Real Estate Agent Qualifications
The National Association of Estate Agents provides a list of agents able to help any property buyer, including expats. The National Federation of Property Professionals is another resource that lists reputable agents. Both of these resources only list people who are qualified members of their organisations.
This makes it easier for an expat to find someone who is well-versed in UK property law, and narrow the search to someone who understands expat property needs. All real estate agents who have undergone proper training should be members on both lists.
Any agent selling property will need to undergo proper training with any of the available trade schools. The NFOPP provides a level three and four certificate that shows a real estate agent who has been in the industry for at least five years. Training courses can include property management, real estate law, underwriting, and sales. All real estate agents need to have a national licence through their country whether it is England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland.
A buyer’s agent is a real estate agent for an expat looking to buy, versus someone looking to sell. While the title is different the qualifications are much the same. A buyer’s agent needs to have national certificates of a completed real estate agent course. It is best to use a buyer’s agent as an expat to avoid any issues with the sale.
While it is unlikely that a real estate agent will try to cheat an expat on price given the wealth of information available online, it is still a good idea to have someone on the buyer’s side and not to deal directly with the selling agent. Using the selling agent as a buyer means they have an interest in the mix already. In fact, UK regulations stipulate that the selling agent and buyer’s agent must be a different person to ensure all areas of the sale are conducted properly. This does not mean that a buyer could not attend without an agent, but the buyer would be representing themselves, which is not a wise course of action to ensure fairness and proper procedure.
Resources for Finding Agents
National Association of Real Estate Agents
The NAEA is the leading professional list of real estate agencies, with members who practise a variety of real estate aspects from solicitors to agents.
National Federation of Property Professionals
The NFOPP is designed to meet property buyer needs by giving a list of certified agents.
A UK property website and search tool, Globrix helps expats connect with real estate agents.
An online website for more information regarding property searches and property buying, expatnetwork.com provides resources for expat property hunters. A number of organisations offering help to expats, including mortgage advice, can be found on this site.
Property Search Resources
Zoopla is an online website that shows listings in terms of what has sold, is about to sell, and prices new listings.
This online website offers estate agents and property information, including articles, current availabilities, and blogs. It covers the whole of the UK.
The Telegraph is a popular newspaper for worldwide news, as well as local real estate listings.
Real estate and other topics are available through the Guardian.
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