Last Wednesday night (28th) Buyers Broker Ltd hosted a Home Buyers Seminar at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Golden Lane. The premise of the night was that it would be a learning opportunity for buyers and for us. Statistics are stale, poorly sourced, misrepresentative for the large part and not indicative of the local markets within Dublin City and surrounds. Instead, we shared a few current searches/deals achieved and the buyers in the room let us know about their experiences.

Case studies we shared throughout the evening included an instance just two weeks ago where we had clients interested in a property in the Ballinteer/Dundrum area. Originally on the market for €630,000, it was reduced to €450,000 for a quick sale. Our clients offered €350,000 on a take it or leave it basis, the owners of the property came back with a counter-offer for €386,000 and we have reason to believe that they would have accepted slightly less than that. However, a new buyer came on the scene and offered €405,000 as a first offer, needless to say, the owners accepted gratefully! Here we have a case where the new buyers have over-paid for their new house by at least €19,000 in today’s market and we have several examples of this in the last few months. This is the level of detail that buyers need to be aware of and until such time at the proposed National Price Register is operation, the best information we have is this, not research based on non-committal guide prices etc as is obtained from property websites data.

As our learning part of the evening, we discussed the methods of valuing property in Ireland, which absolutely shocked buyers in the room! It is incredible that property valuers rely on past sales of comparative properties when we have to price register, this means that market valuation is based on hearsay and strategic guide/asking prices – it simply doesn’t make economic sense.

Paula ter Brake of Home Brokers discussed mortgage issues in a very straightforward manner and answered questions that buyers had. Geoff Whelan of Buyers Broker Whelan gave a great insight into interest rates and the likely short to medium prospects of same.

The Q&A part of the night was particularly interesting. The most common theme seemed to be the breakdown in the relationship between buyers and auctioneers, difficulty getting calls returned and repeated no-shows for viewings. Finally, buyers are accepting that auctioneers work exclusively for the seller. Another big topic for the evening was the vulnerability of buyers throughout the offer process. Specifically, buyers wanted to know how to get the offer price right, how to ensure the seller has received the offer and most importantly, how to verify competing offers to avoid bidding against themselves! In the room, it was agreed among all buyers (no dissenting voices!) that offers should be communicated in writing and strictly time-limited. It was also accepted that the best way to verify other/competing offers on properties was to have the auctioneer communicate it in writing also. At least then, if the buyer has any reason to suspect wrong-doing, they can make contact with the appropriate regulatory body and/or the owner of the property.

One stance we took was to put the responsibility back onto the buyer to buy well. We are in a buyers market, there is advice and support available for buyers that was not there a decade ago so going forward, buyers cannot blame auctioneers, bankers or the economy for poor property decisions. This is harsh but true and I think that the buyers who attended our seminar accepted this. I believe that it is possible to buy well or buy poorly in any market and buyers need to undertake a bit of hard graft when it comes to entering the market.

The success of the evening has prompted us to organize another similar seminar for mid-September and it is proposed that they will run quarterly thereafter. Sign up to our blog at www.buyersbroker.ie/blog for details of upcoming events or our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Buyers-Broker/127077247323994?ref=ts . We will also be uploading videos of parts of the different talks on our youtube channel www.youtube.com/buyersbrokerltd .

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