Why the removal of POA is a victory for buyers

When searching for a country house over the years, you may have noticed that some property listings have POA (price on application) rather than the price next to it. The term exists as a way to conceal the asking price from the general public, however the National Trading Standards have outlawed it from the end of May, forcing estate agents to disclose the price on portals.

There are a variety of reasons why estate agents offer POA, and in my experience it’s usually driven by the vendor wanting to disguise the asking price. This could be for personal reasons such as death, debt or divorce, to attract serious buyers only as POA properties tend to usually be at the higher levels, they are a celebrity, or they just don’t want their neighbours knowing how much their home is worth.

However, many buyers find it misleading when they do not know what the price of a house is – forcing them to make contact with the associated estate agent to find out more details which they can find tedious and off putting.

It’s a strategy that has been in place for some time now, and over the last year alone, a large majority of homes I find and purchase for clients are POA. The advantage of me being the buying agent of course is that I can find out the price pretty quickly for my buyers, providing clarity from the start of their house hunting journey. For those searching on their own, they haven’t had this luxury…

So for buyers, the removal of POA is really quite triumphant, as it will provide far more transparency and clarity from the offset.

I also believe more homes will be sold off market as a result, because it’s a way of keeping the price out of the public eye if vendors want/need it to be. This is beneficial for prime country house buyers as they still get to know the asking price from the offset, but they also have a much better chance of actually finding something to buy. With demand as high as it is still, many are struggling to find anything to purchase on the open market due to the lack of homes for sale which has led to intense competition for them. There has been a bit of a market frenzy for prime homes in West Sussex over the last couple of years, rife with sealed bids, bidding wars and properties selling up to 20% over the asking price. Whereas when purchasing a property off market, the competition is much less because the general public won’t know it’s for sale.

Almost all of my acquisitions for clients are off market now, and often it is just my buyer looking at the house and nobody else. This is a privilege that’s worth its weight in gold for many house hunters.

For more information about the finding a country house off market in West Sussex, contact Jennie Hancock on +44 (0)7776452128 or Michelle Hendrie on +44 (0)7515345821.