James Shaw
The lengths a buying agent will go to
10 October 2016

One Sunday morning found me listening to the vicar’s sermon with one eye on my watch, worried that my son wasn’t going to get to his rugby match in time for kick-off. I am sorry to say that the main reason for my attendance at this particular church service was not because I was in search of spiritual guidance, but to find out whether my client should purchase the Old Rectory next door. Without sitting through at least one Sunday service it would have been impossible to get a feel for congregation numbers which might affect my client’s enjoyment of the property or assess whether the bell ringing would be too intrusive. It didn’t help on this occasion that I had picked a service which also doubled up as a Christening and therefore was longer than one might usually expect.

Welcome to the world of the buying agent, where information gathering is part and parcel of what we do. I often travel into London from a variety of different train stations in order to tell a client what the commute from the one closest to the property they are interested in buying is really like. It also enables me to report back on the station’s parking facilities and the likelihood of finding a space in rush hour.

I can often be found doing various school runs with no children to drop off. It’s the only way to find out whether a client can expect excessive traffic in the morning and where the snarl-ups will be. Most buyers ideally want a Prep school that is 20 minutes away from home but at a busy time of day it might take them nearer to 45 minutes, which is a significant difference.

Transport in one form or another is often an issue when buying a home. Anyone who wants to live close to London usually has to put up with Heathrow in one guise or another so it is important to ascertain exactly what they might expect. Only the other day I wrote to the aviation authority to get hold of the most recent flight map, as we don’t leave anything to chance. The same is true of motorways, especially the M4, the major thoroughfare on my patch. You might view a house one day and not hear the road at all but I will go back on a wet day or when there is a southwesterly wind to check that the road isn’t then roaring with cars so that the client gets a real feel for the impact of the motorway before agreeing to buy the property.

Most people spend a significant sum of money on their home – for most of us, it’s the biggest purchase of our lives with huge debt implications - so it’s important to get it right. The majority of buyers will usually view a property twice, probably for less than an hour each time, and may spend longer choosing a new car. This is where we come in – our due diligence ensures that clients know what they are buying and that there is nothing untoward that will spoil their enjoyment of that property, even if it does mean a tedious church sermon or two for their buying agent.



1 Duke of York Square,

T +44(0)20 7881 2388


Norman Court Barns,
Norman Court Lane,
Upper Clatford,
SP11 7HB

T +44(0)1962 795 035


The Manor House,
Church Road,
Great Barton,
Bury St Edmunds,
IP31 2QR

T +44(0)1284 788 306


The Stable Block,
Cornbury Park,

T +44(0)1608 810 662

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