Finding the right estate agent will be one of the most important ingredients in organising a successful viewing trip. Speaking to a good estate agent in advance enables them to listen to your needs and preferences, then select the right properties to suit your criteria before you arrive. This will enable you to maximise your time on the island viewing properties.
It is particularly important that you choose an estate agent who operates legally, is reliable, helpful and eager to satisfy your needs. You should be able to get a feel as to how good an agent is by talking through your ideas with them. It’s also a good idea to email them in advance to see how quickly they respond to your requests, and how helpful they are. By seeing how long they take to get back to you, you can assess how enthusiastic they will be about helping, should you need it.
If you have a problem during your viewing trip, you need to ensure you have an estate agent who takes action to get it resolved quickly, and to your satisfaction.
It is wise to seek out an agency that belongs to a recognised professional association and it can be a good idea to pay attention to recommendations from others who have been through the process – although that, of course, is not in itself an assurance of quality. If you find an agency online, it’s a good idea to ask for their registration number, and to find out which professional association they are affiliated to.
It is also best to look for an agent who has been working on the island for a while, and who ideally has experience working with international buyers. Finding an agent who knows the island, understands the local market, has background information about the area and all of the politics involved in buying a property here will prove invaluable.
You also need to make sure that the agency offers excellent after-care service. A good agent doesn’t just get up and leave the minute the contract has been signed – they offer to provide ongoing help. Just a few of the services that an agent might offer to help you with include opening a bank account in your new country, finding a builder or doctor, showing you the local schools, or anything else that you might need. Good local knowledge is invaluable and can save you a lot of time and money.
Before you make your final decisions, make sure that you ask for references to enable you to speak to people who have used the services of the agent in the recent past. Ask these referees as many, and varied, questions as you can, as this is more likely to get them talking and cover ground you may not have even thought about yet!
Book your time with the agents before you arrive, and be sure to book at least half a day with each agent. This will give you enough time to view prospective properties at your leisure. It may take you a while to drive to just one house in some rural locations, consequently you might only be able to view a couple of properties in one afternoon. However, a good agent won’t mind driving you to these properties in their own car. Above all, your agent should give you enough time to consider all of the properties that you’re viewing and won’t put any pressure on you to make an offer before you’re ready. Your estate agent may also be able to find
you accommodation close to your chosen location
– provided you give them sufficient warning.