We’re retired, and we want to move to another part of the country - but we don’t have access to the internet. What are our options?
If you have a particular location in mind, there are a number of independent estate agency groups that can help. Called referral networks, these all basically function in the same way: you register with your nearest participating agent, and your contact details and property requirements are then passed through the system to the agent nearest your chosen location.
Note that I specifically said independent agency groups. The reason why referral networks actually work is that the two agents involved – the one who refers you, and the one you buy through – agree to split the sales commission between them. Even though they share a common brand, the big national chains don’t tend to have those kind of arrangements in place - which means that your local branch has no real incentive to help, because they won’t earn anything from doing so.
Another alternative is to commission one of the new breed of home-finder firms to do the legwork on your behalf – for a fee, of course – although this is generally more applicable at the higher end of the market.
But what if you not wedded to any particular location? With such a wide remit, home-finder firms would either turn the commission down altogether, or understandably want to charge you the earth for searching such a large area.
For the same reason, conventional referral networks might also struggle, since this would necessarily involve referring your details to perhaps dozens of different agents in different towns.
This is where a concept called multi-listing really comes into its own. Multi-listing agents basically share all their properties. Common in places like the USA, the only genuine multi-listing system in the UK is operated by Team – a network of hundreds of independent high street agents, linked by some highly sophisticated technology. This gives Team agents the unique ability to provide you – at the touch of a button - with full details of literally hundreds of properties, practically anywhere in the country.
Unless you want to spend weeks on the road – or on the computers in your local public library - this is almost certainly your best bet!