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‘Overseas agents remain a lynchpin for Brits buying abroad’

Working with a well-connected local estate agent should be a priority for British house-hunters looking for property overseas, according to an overseas property expert. 

Elaine Ferguson, head of the Resource Centre at the Overseas Guides Company, says that while foreign markets begin to overflow with resale properties, the knowledge of an experienced agent will ensure a ‘quick and smooth purchase’.

“Typically, we see clients head off on a trip to view properties that they think tick all the boxes, only for them to be shown somewhere different by an attentive agent who usually has a better understanding of what suits their needs than them. Today’s market conditions make working with an astute estate agent even more important in 2015,” she says. 

Ferguson confirms that the Spanish Costas, Algarve and French markets remain predominantly resale markets.

She says that this is likely to remain the case until more developers are confident that the property market is strong enough to support off-plan and new build homes. 

“This means there are still fewer developers marketing direct to buyers than before the crash, so most are guided by estate agents whose listings are mostly re-sales,” she says.

The Overseas Guides Company says that a good overseas agent will have access to most of the available properties in their local patch, either directly through vendors or via arrangements with rival agents.

Ferguson says that the test of a good agent working for Brits overseas is whether they deliver a good service after the sale has taken place. 

“As a foreigner, your agent should not only help you find a property but also assist with getting set up as a homeowner, which includes opening a bank account, getting a tax identification number, finding a lawyer, getting connected to utilities and dealing with any other household issues,” she says.

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