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Hot Northants property – how to find it!

Itching to move, but finding nada? You need a Property Finder pronto. Rachel Johnston of Stacks Property Search in Northants is your fast-track to bagging that elusive forever home.


If you didn’t know the housing market is off the scale right now then, hello?, where have you been hiding? I’m sure I’m not the only one whose not-so-guilty pleasure is stalking Right Move for the latest manors to reach the market, but fantasy house moves are becoming a reality for many as our priorities have shifted through the pandemic.

If you want the scoop on how to fend off the competition and bag your dream home on-budget and without the stress, then Property Finder Rachel Johnston, is your woman. With a decade of working the local property market under her belt and a career history in problem-solving (she used to be a corporate investigator before hiring Stacks to help with her own property search and being converted – nifty eh?), Rachel is the Northants guru when it comes to knowing the market and how to make it work to your advantage.

Rachel Johnston Stacks Property search Northants

What Rachel doesn’t know about the local market is not worth knowing, so we grilled her for the lowdown on what exactly a Property Finder does and why having one can be make or break for finding The One.

What even is a Property Finder?

Exactly what it says on the tin. When you hire a Property Finder, you’ll save yourself a huge amount of time and worry. My role is to take all the burden of finding what you’re searching for out of your hands. I spend time getting to know you and your family and discover what you’re looking for, what fits with your lifestyle and all your non-negotiables (outdoor pool, granny annexe, commutable to London etc.), but I also bring to the table my insider knowledge of the market and understand how to make it work to my client’s advantage. My industry contacts mean I can dig out properties coming to the market before they come to the market, giving you an early advantage over other potential buyers.

If you’ve specified that you’re looking to downsize to a town house close to shops and cafes, my role is to understand your needs and keep the focus on where to look and where to avoid. Buyers may not know details like which villages are affected by large developments, HS2 or East West Rail, how long the commute to London will be or where the nearest performing arts school is. With a Property Finder, the market research is already done for you.

welcome mat stacks property search northants

There are other things that a buyer might not have considered, like how 40 minutes is the perfect distance from your in-laws – within striking distance but not right on the doorstep. It’s the little things that count.

Often, buyers only realise they need help when they just aren’t getting anywhere with their search. We all lead busy lives and searching for a home is time-consuming and labour intensive. In the current market, you’ll need to move fast to secure a property when it comes up. If you’re working all week it’s tricky to view properties until the weekend and you don’t want to use up all your holiday entitlement viewing duds. I toss aside the red herrings before you get to them, ensuring you only see the properties that tick all of your boxes.

Why would I pay someone to do it when I can look online?

A property finder effectively removes the obstacles that stand in the way of you finding your dream property, looking beyond the dodgy photos on the listing and getting to grips with what’s under the surface.

Stacks Property Search Northants

An understanding of how and when to bid on a property is also key, as this can be a deeply emotional process for a buyer, so it’s good to have someone who’s emotionally unattached on your side. Bidding wars are becoming far more prevalent on the heels of the pandemic, so responding with a cool head will give you the best chance of nabbing your dream thatched cottage/midcentury villa/country pile (delete as necessary).

It’s also helpful to have someone on side who has a good knowledge of what the local communities are like and what amenities they offer. If you’re a gardener, is there a gardening club nearby? Film buff? Where’s the nearest arthouse cinema?

I’ve been searching for ages, why can’t I find what I’m looking for?

Buying a home is a hugely emotional journey, I’ll get to know my clients in order to get an insight into their lifestyle. It’s important to understand how they want to live, not just what they want to own.

A mindmap is more useful than a ticklist, and refer to it often – however there’s many ways to meet a ‘light and airy’ criteria in a Northants home. There’s a reason it’s always ‘the mystery house’ that wins on Escape to the Country!! 

Don’t rule out too much on its online profile – like dating apps, they can over and under-sell.  Viewing something with the right agent can lead to ‘the chat’ that unlocks the perfect property on their books.

keys to the door stacks property search

One of the sticking points for many clients who come to me is that they find estate agents aren’t taking them seriously enough. Frustratingly, this is often more prevalent for female buyers. If you’re represented by Stacks the agent knows you’re serious and won’t ignore you.

Some sellers prefer not to sell on the open market for a number of reasons. Maybe they don’t want the intrusion of people looking at photos of their home on the internet, or perhaps they don’t want to make it public knowledge that they’re hoping to sell. There’s a whole host of potential reasons and social context, but if you’re after something really specific, it may just be that it’s never going to come up in the estate agent’s window.

Who needs a property finder?

I see people from all walks of life and with all kinds of budget, but using a Property Finder can be particularly helpful if you’re going through a change of circumstances such as separation, downsizing or moving into the area from elsewhere.

It’s not some kind of exclusive club either, you definitely don’t have to be earning a footballer’s salary to be able to benefit from working with me. Buyers are usually looking in the £800K to £2m price bracket, but I’ve closed on deals from under £300k to over £7m, with the shortest search being just 8 weeks and the longest 18 months. I also usually only deal with just one set of clients at any one time, so I’m able to give my undivided attention.

So, what’s the damage?

There’s a retainer fee of around £1,000 plus a percentage fee on exchange of contracts, which is around 2% (plus VAT) but this will vary. If you want to have the stress and leg-work of finding the right property taken off your hands, the cost can really be worth it.

Get in touch with Rachel at or call her on 07502 406688.

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