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Property Finders

Throughout Oxfordshire is a shortage of quality property for buyers across the whole range of property values

Most people instructing a property finder have one thing in common…

One of the main features of the current market in the UK at the start of 2015, and consistently throughout Oxfordshire, is a shortage of quality property for buyers across the whole range of property values. 

Most agents that  throughout the county are currently looking at many houses for potential sale but vendors are often holding back from the market, especially with the current uncertainty around Mansion Tax and the recent Stamp Duty Changes both of which have a great impact on the potential budget of potential buyers in particular for property above £937,000.

As a result of the continuing shortage in the supply of property in the local area which shows no signs of improving in the short to medium term.

In Oxfordshire in particular people are increasingly seeking help from professional Property Finders.

10 years ago few people would have been familiar with Property Finders in the UK, but TV programmes  such as Location Location with Kirsty and Phil have changed all that although the Property Finder service is still a mystery to many, often thought to be the preserve of  the very wealthy.

This certainly is not the case.

Each home search is unique, and the bespoke service is suitable for first time buyers as well as clients who wish to downsize or buy a holiday home, investment property, pied-à-terre, retirement property, equestrian property, land, large family home or that elusive something special that you fall for at first sight.

Most people instructing a property finder, whether they are young professionals, growing families,  investors, or individuals moving with their jobs to new areas, whether buying or renting, usually have one thing in common…

They simply do not have the time to research property and new locations, seek out solicitors, appoint surveyors, find suitable architects, locate good schools for their children, arrange finance and manage the complex house buying process, whilst carrying on with demands of their job (which is often new!) and the daily needs of their family in the modern world we now live in.

Certainly the internet does help, we can all sit down and check out what is available on the likes of Rightmove and Zoopla, but does this tell you the whole story? Is this really a good place to live? What are neighbours like? Where are the local shopping facilities and schools?, and one more critical fact to remember...the agent who is selling or renting out the house is actually being paid to get the best possible price for their client, the vendor or landlord.

Property Finders also act for clients moving to Oxfordshire with their company, often from overseas, this may be to rent or buy, but these people need even more advice on the best places to live, how local services work in the UK and also which are the places to avoid when considering purchase or rental.

Often before instructing a property finder, clients will have spent many hours driving one end of the country to another, sometimes based on one set of property details obtained from a website only to find the property does not meet their requirements or indeed the house has been sold during the week before the weekend when they were first able to go. After several similar fruitless weekends this process soon becomes very frustrating and expensive.

I have worked in the property industry for over 30 years and one thing is clear, the majority of purchasers take very little independent advice when making what is probably the biggest financial transaction they will ever make.

So how can a Property Finder help?

Your property finder will do the whole search for you, checking out the property on your behalf and only asking you to visit the ones which really do match your brief and budget. They will let you know the areas to avoid.

More property is now changing hands “off market” than ever before, it was estimated by a leading national agent that in Summertown, Oxford in 2014 over 30% of transactions may have been “off market”, they were never advertised on the market.

Property Finders are often approached by agents who have clients who do not wish their house to be advertised, similarly they are approached by sellers who are keen to sell discretely and do not wish to go through an agent.

Agents accept that simply by instructing a property finder this potential buyer is therefore very serious about buying a property, they can usually proceed immediately if required, hence they go to the front of the queue if there is competition for the property.

Small specialist builders are often keen to seek out potential buyers for their houses before they start to build for obvious financial reasons but this also allows them to provide a more bespoke service and the buyer ends up with a more individually designed home.

The internet is full of property for sale, when Property Finders first appeared in the industry they were primarily used by people moving long distances at a time when the internet did not exist and it simply wasn’t practical to seek out property far away without some local help.

Today however my client is just as likely to be someone already living on Oxford, frustrated at the lack of suitable property, as a family seeking to realise the value of their modest home in London to acquire a much larger property in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside.

For people looking to buy or rent property over the next few years the use of professional Property Finders looks set to continue to grow whatever the budget or property requirements.

- Stephen Wolfenden


As a chartered surveyor and property professional with over 30 years’ experience, Stephen Wolfenden understands the pitfalls of house purchase and the pressures of relocation with a new job.

Time is often your most precious commodity when you’re looking for your next property, and in particular it’s often in short supply when you’re wanting to arrange a move from one region to another, or even from one country to another.


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