A former Foxtons estate agent has set up a property finding service which is exclusively for first time buyers - believed to be the first of its kind.
Property finders frequently describe themselves as being for all sectors of the market, including first time buyers, but their client profiles suggest they are more usually instructed by wealthy older purchasers, or affluent buyers who are unable to visit the area where they wish to obtain a property.
The new company is called FoundIt London and operates only in Greater London and north east Surrey within the M25; it says the typical FTB in these areas pay £500,000 to £750,000.
It has been launched by Rebecca Stott, who has worked for five years at Foxtons followed by four years in another London-focussed agency, Haus.
The fees on its website says the initial consultation is free of charge but instructing the firm on a sole contract involves a non-refundable upfront fee of £1,000 - deductible from the final bill if a property is found.
The website does not say how much the full service costs, but says: “We understand that every search is unique and each client has different requirements. Please give us a call, we will discuss our range of services and then put together a bespoke quotation to suit you and your needs to find your first time purchase. We only charge this if we have found your property and you actually exchange contracts on the sale.”
Additional charges listed on the site include £100 for an area guide (“information about the local area … breakdown of reasons why first time buyers are buying here and why) and £100 per property for a comparable analysis (“FoundIt will visit the property and provide a comprehensive review of the property all backed up with comparable evidence.”)
It also charges from £250 for a service it calls Mobile Agent (“Just want someone on the end of the phone to run ideas past and/or options? We are here to share our knowledge and experience with you. Ultimately to make sure you get on the property ladder the right way.")
“During my time as an estate agent, I became acutely aware of the anxiety and distress imposed on first time buyers when trying to buy their first home, most often struggling to find the time to find something suitable let alone view properties. Friends and family would also tell me endless tales of their struggles and frustration, with estate agents throwing anything and everything at them when all they wanted was advice on where best to buy and the maximum they should pay” explains Stott.
“Having noticed that it’s not just wealthy buyers who need help too, I spotted a gap in the market to make this process fun and not a gamble for first time buyers too.”