Zoe Noyes, senior associate of Carter Jonas, who leads the national property consultancy’s new homes sales in Peterborough and Cambridge, thinks that our urge to click and compare is an approach which can come unstuck when it comes to house-hunting
We’re always being implored to price compare the vast range of consumer goods and services on offer from a myriad of sellers before we make a decision to purchase. And, indeed, the internet means we can do this easily so at the point of purchase, satisfied we’ve done enough comparative research, we’re confident we’ve got what we want and at a price to suit.
When it comes to buying property, while the drivers remain getting what we want at a price to suit, it’s difficult to imagine anybody buying a property in which to live by price comparison alone.
There are a few key property portals through which estate agents and developers promote their properties. These are supplemented by estate agents’ and developers’ own websites but portal or website, these are very much just a starting point for house-hunting.
The methodology of the price comparison approach to buying only makes sense when you are comparing like-with-like, at face value, for mass produced goods and services like a holiday, car insurance or, even a car but not when it comes to property.
Even if you are looking at a brand new homes development with standard house types, the plot location, orientation and available added extras make for a differential.
In this area of the country, agents have instructions on properties in pretty villages, hamlets, market towns and in city centres, which although they might be in a comparative guide price bracket, there is not one property which can be compared to another in terms of offering exactly the same thing.
The best agents arrive at a guide price through knowledge and understanding of not only the property but the market circumstances at the time of sale. Whether selling or buying, you are part of this process, in seeking and taking agents’ advice. Indeed, the price – whether it’s a guide price for vendors or an offer price by purchaser clients – is arrived at only in agreement with them.
So it’s definitely not like as an anonymous as a third party setting-up a series of check-boxes giving you the verdict on which is the best property for you.
A property is the biggest consumer purchase most of us are ever likely to make. It calls for property market expertise from your agent and, from you, a bit of heart as well as head and a dash of gut instinct when you walk through the door for the first time.
So don’t just compare. Go visit and see for yourself.