Unique Living
March 22nd, 2019 | by Serge Cowan

Why I Approach International Property Markets with a Buyer First Mindset

Being an expert in the international property market requires understanding trends and caring about the needs of my clients. Each property market has its own unique features which influence the best way to approach it, but no matter what, I’ve found that it is essential to always, approach every deal and each property with a “buyer first” mindset.

The risk that comes with local agents

I only work with local agents who have many years of experience in the local property market. It takes many years of experience to fully know the local area, to understand how a property is affected by regulatory requirements, and frankly, to build up the gumption to be truly honest about the condition and circumstances of a property and its history.

Very often you get estate agents who move to an area and think that they know how to sell properties. They get together a few local contacts, create a website and off they go. But they don’t have the experience of someone who has lived and worked there for 20 or 30 years. A long time ago, I saw how necessary it was to only deal with estate agents who are longstanding residents of the area. Not just people who work in the area, but people who live there every day and are passionate about their home.

I want the assurance that the partners I’m dealing with offer me the best portfolio and the entire picture, because the buyers who come to us for help in finding a luxury property need the assurance that they’re getting the best deal possible from us. And, anyway, if there’s anything wrong that they aren’t telling me – believe me, we’ll find out!

I’ve also found that having this approach helps to keep my finger on the pulse of what is really happening. This has helped us to move into newer areas such as St Kitts and Sardinia. This has also meant that we have moved out or reduced our activity in other areas. Because of my connections with local estate agents, I know exactly what is going on in my areas.

Putting myself in the buyer’s shoes

There is always an element of trial and error in any line of work. But by putting myself into the shoes of the buyer – asking, what would I want from my advisor? – means taking the time to build a network of trusted local agents and gather together the knowledge and expertise needed, and that helps to eliminate most of the errors I would have made without that attitude.

For instance, I know from experience that buyers need to be aware of the wider influences in the property markets, even if something doesn’t look related on paper. Take summer and winter. What difference does the time of year make to a luxury overseas property purchase? Well, a lot, if you think about the cycle of people renting out their properties to tourists for the summer months. You may find that prices are a little higher in the run-up to summer. That’s why most international property markets generally have defined sales cycles.

Ultimately, putting myself into the mindset of the buyer is how I secure the best deals for my clients, this is why we created our Buyers Advisory Service. It helps me to ask the right questions, look at the right properties, and be suspicious of opportunism when I need to be! If you only take one piece of advice away from my blogs, take this one: if you need to find an advisor for a property purchase, find one with a buyer first mindset.

What are your most important needs as a buyer? Get in touch with me on LinkedIn – I’d love to hear from you.

Serge Cowan

Serge Cowan

Managing Director and Founder

Serge has an extensive marketing background, after a broadcasting career, Serge moved into marketing where he worked for BSkyB & a number of leading Public Relations agencies.
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