Why You Are Failing To Find Your Ideal Home or The Best Investment Opportunities in London – The Five Big Mistakes The Estate Agents Don’t Want You To Know.

Time Sensitive Information Enclosed – Including An Invitation To An Exclusive Event For London Property Buyers

A Message From Jeremy McGivern

If you are seeing all the best properties available in London - both on and off the market - and you are confident that you can negotiate the lowest price possible, or at the very least not be fooled into overpaying, then there is no need to read the rest of this letter. Congratulations on having undertaken the necessary due diligence to understand the market and taking the time to study negotiation strategy so that you can achieve the best terms possible.

If, however, you are like 99% of property buyers I speak to – frustrated by the fact that you are missing out on the best opportunities and annoyed by the poor service, information and advice you are receiving from estate agents – then your decision to read the rest of this letter will be the most important thing you can do in your search for a property in prime central London.

I am about to share with you the 5 essential strategies for finding and acquiring the best properties in London on the most favourable terms possible – strategies that the estate agents and sellers would prefer you didn’t know.

First a word of warning: This letter includes the blunt truth about estate agents, property portals and what’s required to achieve your goal, i.e. to acquire the finest home or investment available on the best terms possible. If you would like everything sugar coated, then don’t keep reading. If, however, you want the blunt truth from someone with a 16 year track record and extensive media coverage who has bought hundreds of millions worth of property for a select list of clients, then your search for a property is about to be transformed.

If you are not familiar with me and my work, my name is Jeremy McGivern. I am recognised as the leading expert on acquiring residential property in prime central London. My company, Mercury Homesearch, is the trusted adviser to dozens of CEO’s, entrepreneurs and some of the world’s most successful families. I have featured on Bloomberg Television, CNBC, Reuters and in publications such as The Financial Times, The Sunday Times, Businessweek, MoneyWeek and Forbes.

I tell you this not to brag but to assure you that the information and strategies I will reveal are from a reliable source with a proven track record. These are strategies that have been tried and tested over 16 years of acquiring property in prime central London. They are the very steps we use to acquire our members their ideal homes and investments on terms that they didn’t think possible.

At the end of this letter, there is an invitation for you to apply to join me for a complimentary event at a private members club in St James’s, London, for a very enlightening and profitable afternoon. But first…

Your Search For A Property in London

If you are frustrated by:

1. The fact that the best properties are being sold before you even hear about them
2. Estate agents who are sending you totally inadequate properties that don’t even fulfil your basic criteria
3. The lack of transparent information on pricing and fair valuations
4. Painful sales chat from the estate agents
5. The fact that you don’t trust the information and advice you are receiving from the estate agents

then you are not alone. Unfortunately most buyers accept the status quo and plough on making the same mistakes over and over again until they buy an average or poor property more out of frustration than any other reason. Until you understand how the market really works, you will be doomed to follow the same path.

So what are the 5 big mistakes London property buyers make that the estate agents and sellers don’t want you to know?

Mistake 1

Ignoring The Easiest Way To Negotiate A Price Reduction

Here’s an important fact you need to know about acquiring a property. Grasp this and you will immediately give yourself an advantage over 89% of buyers.

The average time a buyer spends viewing homes before putting forward an offer is just 96 minutes; 43 minutes LESS than people typically spend deciding where to go on holiday or what computer to buy (Source – Daily Telegraph). This is madness and I am sure that you are more diligent. But you must treat acquiring a property – whether it is a home or investment – as you would a business transaction.

Think of how you have been conducting your search for a property so far. Do you have total market coverage or are you really only seeing a small percentage of the properties available? Worse still, how can you be sure that you are seeing the best opportunities? And how are you calculating what represents fair value for each property – are you relying on guesstimates or making judgements based on hard facts and accurate data?

But we will get back to these issues because the first major mistake buyers make is to treat the process like an amateur. And the first step that sets successful property buyers apart from the amateurs is preparation.

Now this is not a glamorous topic, but then that is why most buyers ignore it.

Nevertheless the easiest way to achieve a price reduction is to be able to differentiate yourself from other buyers and position yourself as the preferred buyer in your target market by acting as a professional would act. Then you will see the best opportunities first and have lower offers accepted.

This is essential – we have had offers accepted for our members despite the fact that we did not put forward the highest offer. Because we position our members as professionals, the agents frequently recommend our offers ahead of other buyers who offer more. Admittedly our reputation helps in this regard, but most buyers handicap themselves rather than giving themselves the best opportunity to have an advantage in the negotiations.

What do most buyers do?

Call the agent with their requirements and wait to hear about suitable properties.

Or check the property portals expecting to see the best properties.

Or worse still, they rely on emails thinking that the estate agent will actually sift through the thousands they receive and give them special attention.

But if you don’t stand out from the crowd, be the buyer the estate agents want to speak to first about the best opportunities then you will simply be part of the herd; you will be sent the average and poor properties because you are doing what everyone else is doing whichis rarely a recipe for success.

Mistake 2

Relying on Estate Agents & The Property Portals

It’s very simple:

The London property market is rigged against buyers. The majority of the properties you will see and data you will receive are controlled by the estate agents. And the term “estate agent” is slightly misleading because they should really be called “selling” agents:

• Estate agents are employed by owners – They are legally obliged to sell their clients’ properties for the highest price possible, on the most favourable terms possible. You are not their client and are referred to as an “applicant”

• You are not the priority – Each agent can have over one hundred “applicants” registered with him/her. As friendly as the agents may be, they are not concerned who buys which property as long as a full price is achieved for their client. Their focus is not to find you your perfect home, but to sell one of their clients’ properties to whoever will pay the highest amount. This is one of the reasons they are sending you totally inappropriate properties

It is also the reason for one of the most annoying experiences for a property buyer – seeing your perfect property in a magazine or on a website and then phoning the agent to arrange a viewing, only to discover that it has been sold without you having a chance to even see it let alone make an offer.

When you ask why you weren’t told about it, you will probably be told that “we had a buyer especially lined up for this”. Incredibly frustrating but also completely avoidable.

Each estate agent can only show you a small percentage of the properties available – The agents can only show you the properties on which they have been directly instructed (there are properties they share but these tend to be the “trouble properties” that other agents are struggling to sell). Therefore you need to be registered with every suitable agent to ensure that you do not miss out on the best opportunities

The mistake most buyers make is to then rely on the property websites:

Over 75% of people start their search online, because it seems like the most efficient way to source properties in such a fragmented market. Unfortunately, they are severely hindering their chances of seeing the best properties by approaching their acquisition in this way. As The Sunday Times notes, “The best property that comes to the market sells almost before going onto the Internet”.

Indeed Savills reported that 46% of properties on its books at £2+ million are ONLY available privately and Knight Frank reports more than 30% of sales of £2+ million homes and 52% of the £5+ million are off market properties.

This does not mean that you should avoid the estate agents or the property portals.

But you must remember who they are representing, that you are not their priority and that many of the best opportunities never reach the open market. Again you must position yourself so that you are the buyer who hears about the best properties from all the agents before anyone else (by the way this does not mean bribing them as some people believe. This is not only illegal but also an unreliable way of achieving your goal).

Important tip: the negotiation does not start when you put forward an offer. It actually starts the second you speak to the estate agent or seller. This is why understanding their role is so crucial as is the importance of positioning yourself correctly.

Mistake 3

Failing to See Off Market Properties

As Savills & Knight Frank openly admit, a large number of properties never reach the open market.

If you are not gaining access to these opportunities how likely do you think you will be to find your ideal home or investment?

Now many buyers don’t believe that there are that many properties sold off market. After all, if you want to achieve the highest price possible then surely you would openly market the property? But then this shows a complete lack of understanding of people’s motivations - something that will also let you down during the negotiation but more of that later.

For many sellers, privacy is more important than achieving the highest price possible. They may be a public figure, celebrity, going through a divorce, etc. and simply do not want their home displayed all over the internet for everyone to see.

For others security is a major issue. This could be for personal security or they may have an art or jewellery collection. Indeed, I viewed an apartment in Belgravia worth £10m that purportedly contained £30m of artwork, so it was unsurprising that the owners didn’t want photos of their property and art on the websites.

Others simply do not want the inconvenience of several viewings and would rather a swift and simple transaction with only a handful of carefully vetted buyers being allowed into the property.

You need to ensure that you gain access to these properties. Over the last 16 years we have built a large network of over 400 contacts to achieve this, which you simply won’t be able to recreate. However, there are some simple strategies that we use that you can copy so that you can have access to the off market properties that the typical buyer will never see and which will give you a significant advantage.

Mistake 4

The Valuation Trap

I am often asked about the biggest discount I have negotiated on a property. Unfortunately, this misses the point completely. The size of the discount is only relevant if the property is fairly valued in the first place. Negotiating a discount of 20% is no good if the guide price is 50% overvalued.

Yet people assume that if they negotiate a reduction by 10-15% then they have done well. Such people are easy to spot because they also tend to ask “What is the typical discount I should negotiate?” But that presupposes a standard that does not exist.

The same psychology is true when owners and developers reduce their asking price by 10-15%. This does not necessarily make the property good value – often it is just slightly less bad value!

ACCURATE INFORMATION IS ESSENTIAL IF YOU WISH TO MAKE AN ASTUTE ACQUISITION – if you have a good understanding of how to value a property then you will avoid being fooled into overpaying and making an expensive mistake. Just as importantly you will also be able to quickly spot the opportunities that other buyers miss. Some of our best acquisitions have been properties that have been on the market for months that other buyers have ignored.

Never underestimate the power of herd mentality – it is amazing how many people will not offer on a property simply because it has been on the market for a long time; they assume there is something wrong just because no-one else has bought it. This creates an opportunity to buy an exceptional property at a favourable price.

Likewise beware following the crowd and rushing in when everyone else is. This is especially true when buying in new developments where the sales and marketing teams create enormous hype so that the herd of “investors” (who are actually speculators) line up desperate to secure an apartment despite not actually having any real facts.

Unfortunately, the property market is opaque. The information available is often incomplete or out of date. Therefore, you need to be very careful when assessing the value of a property and carry out as much research as possible.

Remember that the agents are paid to achieve the highest price possible for their clients so you must take their advice with a pinch of salt.

They should not lie to you, but do not use one piece of comparable data as concrete proof – just because one house has sold for a high price does not mean that it was the right price – the buyer may not have known what they were doing!

Conversely do not be put off if you see one other comparator which was bought much more cheaply. The buyer may have negotiated a fantastic deal, which does not necessarily make your potential acquisition a bad one.

Double check all information and find as many comparators as possible. Only once you have a good idea of what similar properties have sold for can you start making an informed decision on what you should be offering to acquire the property.

Of course you must ensure that the information you are using is suitable and relevant. This is easier said than done when prices can vary massively in the same street and even in the same building. Consequently it is very easy to compare apples with pears which is why so many buyers are fooled into thinking they are making an astute acquisition when the opposite is true.

There is no substitute for thorough due diligence but you must use accurate and relevant data so that you compare like with like.

Mistake 5

Negotiating Like a Novice

Negotiation is a skill which can be learnt, so do not worry if it does not come naturally to you. Unfortunately unskilled negotiators assume that the only factor is the price. This is unbelievably naïve.

Worse, most people believe that issuing ultimatums is the best way to achieve the price they want. Yes, this tactic does work sometimes, but it fails more often than not and there are more reliable and better ways of concluding a successful negotiation and achieving the best price possible.

The key to any negotiation is to have as much information as possible. The more you know about the property and just as importantly the seller, the better you can tailor your negotiation strategy and tactics.

Remember, the negotiation does not start when you put forward the offer. It begins the second you make contact with the agent. This is why you position yourself as professional and is why you must build rapport with the agents because the more they like you, the more information they are likely to let slip. It is simply human nature to divulge more information to people you like (but be careful that the agent isn’t using this tactic on you – they are friendly for a reason).

For example, if you discover that the vendor must move quickly, then you know that the price is not the only motivating factor. Throughout your discussions you must ask questions and be alert to snippets of information to discover what, aside from money, may be of value to the seller – especially if it is something that is worth less to you.

It may be the fact that they would rather sell to a family than a developer. Alternatively, you may find out that the seller is a keen traveller, in which case you may be able to offer them two weeks at your villa in Italy as part of your offer.

Quite simply, the more information you have, the more creative you can be with your offer. This is why it is essential to ask the right questions throughout the negotiation.


I will be going into negotiation strategies a lot more at the free event in London but one final tip:

A classic mistake buyers make is to focus on the wrong figure at the beginning of the negotiation. They fret over what their initial offer should be, but this is completely the wrong way to look at the negotiation. In the first instance you actually have to work out what your last offer will be, i.e. what is the maximum you will offer before you walk away (note I didn’t say maximum price, because you also need to consider timescales and other options that you can include in your offer).

Your walk away offer may equate to fair value, it may be more or less depending on what the property is worth to you. But until you know this figure then it is impossible to structure a coherent negotiation strategy. As with anything in life, if you don’t have a target you are simply aiming at nothing. Consequently you are severely hampering your chances of concluding a successful negotiation.

How Can You Acquire Your Ideal Home or Investment
on the Best Terms Possible?

Unfortunately there are no short cuts. It will be very time-consuming trying to do all this yourself and of course you will never be able to match the experience and knowledge that my team and I have built over the last 16 years. For example, I have personally inspected over 23,000 properties in prime central London and seen the details of over 100,000 more, so I have a frame of reference that no-one else has. I have also negotiated hundreds of millions of pounds worth of property transactions.

But, why should you trust me, Jeremy McGivern, and my team to end your frustrations and help you acquire your ideal property in London on the best terms possible?

Well in addition to being featured on Bloomberg, CNBC and various other media, I am the author of The Insider’s Guide To Acquiring £1m-£100m Luxury Property in London, the only book dedicated to buying property in prime central London.

Numerous banks and firms of solicitors recommend their clients to Mercury Homesearch. Indeed I have given talks and write articles on the prime London market for firms such as Societe General, Investec, Arbuthnot Latham and solicitors such as Hunters, Trowers & Hamlin and PenningtonManches solicitors.

Why is all that important to you? Because it tells you I am not some charlatan with nothing but hype and “hot air”. One of the great disgraces of the London property market is that it is, effectively, unregulated, which is why estate agents and indeed many buying agents have such bad reputations.

However, I am a highly respected authority on acquiring property in London, recognised by leading news media, associated with some of the most revered private banks and private client solicitors, with a loyal following of members who recommend me and Mercury Homesearch to their friends because we have a proven track record and can be trusted to produce results.

In fact I am so confident in our ability that we are the only firm that offers guarantees for the service we provide. This makes us financially accountable and removes risk for you.

I know that you receiving a letter like this is unusual. But I am writing to you because I know that I can solve your frustrations about acquiring a property. Indeed, I founded the firm in 2001 because I was fed up with the service and advice I was receiving as a buyer. I have never been an estate agent and have had the misfortune to endure the same experience as you, so I understand the problems and frustrations.

I also know that there are very few good quality properties which will actually meet your requirements; as mentioned, I have personally inspected over 23,000 houses and apartments for our members but we have bought under 1% of these. That is how thorough and selective we are and you need to be.

The problem is that you never know when your ideal property or that great investment is going to become available. It could be tomorrow, next week or in 6 months. That is why you need to be vigilant and have total market coverage every day. If not, you are setting yourself up for failure and you will miss out on the best property for you.

The Next Step – Come and Meet Me at A Small, Private Gathering

I have an invitation for you.

If you would like to find out once and for all how you can avoid the wasted money, time and stress involved in acquiring a property, this is an invitation for you to apply to come to spend the afternoon with me at a private members club in St James’s – there is no charge for this event.

I am holding this special “Discovery Event” for serious property buyers, like you, who want to discover more about having me and my team help you acquire your ideal home or investment on the best terms possible.

The event is purposefully being restricted to a small number of people so that I can focus on your particular requirements and the problems you face rather than a larger event which by necessity would have to be more general in nature.

During the afternoon, I will be sharing the latest information on the market, what the most successful strategies currently are and how Mercury Homesearch can transform your search for a property.

Here’s what we’re going to cover
during the afternoon:

• The indicators that city analysts and economists ignore (which is why they didn’t see the crash of 2008 coming) that will show you what is going to happen in the market and answer the question that everyone wants to know – is now a good time to buy and if not when will be?

Our top negotiation strategies which have been tested and proven to achieve large price reductions and enable you to achieve the best terms possible

• How to uncover information on accurate comparators so that you can be confident in your valuations

• A hotlist of agents who typically have the best properties in your price range and target area. This is a comprehensive list that none of your competitors, i.e. other buyers, will have.

• How to become a preferred buyer. One of the unspoken secrets of the London property market is the preferred buyer system. People with preferred buyer status will have first refusal on the finest homes, meaning they will be sold before you are even aware of them. I will show you how the preferred buyer system works and how to get immediate access to it.

• A diagnostic analysis of your requirements – We will use our True Valuation Matrix to analyse your requirements. During our meeting we will discuss the results including:
- Preferred Areas
- Street and Building targeting plan
- Micro areas to avoid
- Something about price
- Sales analysis of your preferred area
- Last three years sales statistics of your chosen area

• Your Buying Team – You will be given access to our team of proven experts who can help with everything: financing, surveys, conveyancing, lease valuations, school applications, removals, interior design, security, etc. Avoid the bureaucracy and confusion by having a team of specialists represent you.

• The Viewing checklist – this simple list will show you what to look out for and the questions to ask when inspecting a property. Information is essential in any negotiation and this is the foundation.

• The Conveyancing checklist – Agreeing terms is not the end of the negotiation. It is essential that the “conveyancing” process is handled correctly otherwise you could lose out to another buyer (nothing is legally binding until you exchange contracts). Your solicitor will help but this checklist tells you everything you need to consider once you have agreed terms on a property.

• Sourcing off-market properties – One of the effective strategies we use is to approach owners directly. You will receive a copy of the letter we use that has been proven to work. You will also be advised of the follow up process required to increase the probability of success

• Your Questions answered. I have been sourcing prestigious London properties for 16 years. Bring any questions that you have for me to the event and I will ensure that they are answered.

This event will take place at a private members club in St James’s on Saturday 28th January 2017 and runs from 1pm to 4pm. It is by application only and numbers are strictly limited to 8 parties (i.e. 16 people if couples). We are allocating places on a first come, first served basis, so if you are serious about acquiring a property in London and think the afternoon will be a huge benefit to you, then please apply now to make sure that you do not miss out.

We will be going through the replies to this invitation in the order in which they are received, so please let us know if you would like to join me by visiting www.propertydiscoveryday.com or completing the enclosed form and returning in the envelope provided.

Your ability to buy your ideal home or investment on the best terms possible hinges on having total market coverage and a clear understanding of how to value a property combined with great negotiation skills.

If any of these factors is missing then the probability of you achieving your goal is extremely low. You may get lucky but then you have probably not created your wealth and success by relying on luck.

You never know when the next great opportunity will become available – be that on or off the market. In some cases, you may have to wait several months if not a year in your target market if you miss an opportunity.

Please don’t miss out. If you’re willing to spend just one afternoon out of the entire year, focussed on the most important factors for buying a property (which is at least a million if not a multi-million pound investment), I guarantee I will show you insights about the property market which will change how you think about property and its position in the larger economic scheme.

It may even affect how you look at the stock markets and other investment decisions you make in addition to significantly impacting on the quality of property you will acquire and the price you will pay. Simply reply to this invitation:

Visit www.propertydiscoveryday.com or complete
the enclosed form and return in the envelope provided. 

Please note that applications must be received by 21th January 2017.

I look forward to meeting you personally in London.

Best regards,

Jeremy

p.s. This exclusive event is free but it’s a small group event so places are limited. Apply for your complimentary place now by visiting www.propertydiscoveryday.com or completing the enclosed form and returning in the envelope provided.