A property finder is the buyers’ agent; he has total liberty to search out property from any source, and will take a totally independent view of all the properties available. As you are paying him, he is in your corner as your personal consultant. He will also offer access to properties marketed only informally - even approaching homeowners directly, encouraging them to sell. A good property finder is your real estate consultant, and will assist you from the start of the search to well after your purchase:
Selection: Property finders have access to close to 100% of the market; including private sales and off-the books listings, and they have relationships with local agents – so they are well positioned to select properties that meet your criteria;
Viewing trip: A property finder will pre-visit properties on your behalf and send you detailed reports with photographs, and pre-discuss each property with you – usually on the phone. He will prepare detailed documents to help on your viewing trip or even organize all the information online for a better client experience;
Due diligence: A property finder will do the due diligence that will allow the buyer to know all the facts before putting in an offer. He will list how much comparable properties have fetched, and look more broadly at the area, researching information such as flooding risks, changes to local planning legislation and future developments. This will help you to be sure you want to buy and to decide how much to bid;
Negotiations: A good buyer’s agent will also haggle over the price for you. He will be thinking more with his head, whereas the client will follow his heart. In the negotiations, the property finder will always try to reduce the listing agency fee;
Legals: A property agent will assist you during the legal process: he will help you understand the contracts (more in Chapter 5 here), make sure that they contain the appropriate clauses, be with you during the meetings with the notaire – ensuring that all t’s are crossed and i’s dotted – in French;
After-sales: To help you with any need that may arise after the purchase, a good property finder maintains a network of high-end service providers such as architects; house sitting services, home managers, interior designers and property lawyers.