As British mums living in the UAE, owning property back in the UK is always on our minds. It’s still one of the most stable economies, offers good value and most importantly, it’s the nest egg we need, should we ever decide to return home. However, as an expat living 7,000 km away, it can be hard to decide to take the plunge and when you do, you’re faced with a trillion questions from property type and location to how to source the best deal, and everything in-between.

Domus Holmes Property Finder is a UK-based, independent property finder dedicated to sourcing, negotiating and securing various types of properties for a diverse range of clients. They have an extensive network of industry contacts and act exclusively on behalf of the buyers to source and purchase on and off market properties, whether it is to be a home or an investment.

Keys House

Below Domus Holmes share their top tips and advice on purchasing property in the UK and the benefits of working with a buying agent.

Domus Holmes note that the most common, and potentially most costly, mistake made by homebuyers is made right at the start of the process. It is the belief that the estate agent is on their side. Homebuyers register their details with an estate agent, and believe the estate agent will act in their best interests to find them their new home. But, buyers beware, estate agents are retained by the seller and are legally bound to act exclusively in the seller’s best interests.

Buying agents act exclusively for buyers and use their network of contacts to find properties that match their client’s criteria. They don’t rely on a single estate agent but a whole network of contacts. This means that only the properties that best suit the buyer’s criteria are considered.

A good buying agent will only work for a handful of clients at any given time and will never have two clients with identical requirements. This avoids competition and helps the buying agent avoid a bidding war between its clients – this is in complete contrast to the goals of the estate agent to whom a bidding war means a better price for their client.

These days, estate agents like working with buying agents as potential buyers are obviously serious about buying and they have already been vetted by the buying agent – no time wasters!  As a result, many estate agents give buying agents access to view properties before other buyers and often before a property even appears on the market.

Yellow Door House

Despite the name, buying agents do much more than just find properties. They analyse the property, assess its value, negotiate the price/terms, secure the deal, and progress the purchase so that it concludes successfully with minimal drama. Domus Holmes Property Finder is particularly handy when things get sticky, as having a property lawyer with over 15 years experience on the team, they can readily apply their skills and knowledge to identify problems early and prevent the purchase falling through.

They can also recommend solicitors, surveyors, insurers and finance brokers and, after you have bought the property, can help you find interior designers, stagers, decorators, architects and other professionals to make your property perfect.

In most cases, you don’t have to use a buying agent for the whole process.  As the market has grown, buying agents have refined their product, and offer more diversity and better value for money. So, you can choose what you want them to do for you. For example, if you are unable to view a property, a buying agent can view it on your behalf and report back to you. If you have found your property, you may just want guidance through the conveyancing process.  Naturally, fees will reflect the amount of work undertaken.

A reputable buying agent will charge fixed fees so there is no advantage in keeping the purchase price high. In fact, it is much better for a buying agent to obtain the lowest possible prices for their clients, so if their fees are based on a percentage of the purchase price, there is little motivation for them to negotiate the lowest possible price. As a guide, fees are usually between 1%-3% of the budget.


Buying a property is a major life decision; the most expensive life decision you are likely to make. It is also extremely stressful and time consuming. So, it is quite remarkable that some buyers are prepared to gamble such large sums of money without professional help, guidance and advice; whilst the seller has access to the guidance and advice of their estate agent.  For buyers, the best way to level the playing field is to appoint their own agent.

Contact the team at Domus Holmes for an obligation free chat about your UK property search by e-mailing or call +44 (0) 117 973 3683.