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April 26, 2023
Jeremy McGivern
Posted in: Luxury real estate London

Do You Need a Property Finder When Acquiring Property in London? Part I

Property Finder London | 

This may sound odd for me to say, but you really may not need a property finder in London.

Before I agree to help anyone find a property in London, I have a Strategy Call with them, which is a diagnostic consultation to fully understand their requirements. We also look at the problems they face finding the best property their money can buy and negotiating the lowest price/best terms possible.

There are a number of reasons why I reject more people than I accept as clients, but one of them is if I feel that they can do it themselves.

For example, I was conducting a strategy call with a family who were renting a house in a garden square in Knightsbridge. The husband felt he knew the square well and what houses should sell for. Ideally he wanted to buy the house that they were renting despite the fact that it clearly had several issues. However, if he couldn’t agree on a price with the owner then he wanted to acquire another house in the square.

Although I felt that there were other options the family should consider, he was adamant that they had to be in the square. So I said that there was little point in me helping him as he could fairly easily find out who every owner in the square was and contact them directly. He has since enquired again about me helping and we’ll return to that a little later (see Part II)

Property finder

So would you benefit from using a property finder when buying a property in London or can you do it yourself?

Well, there are several factors to consider and here are a few of them:

Do you know how to find the best property your money can buy?

The majority of people start their property search on the internet. This may be sufficient if you are planning to acquire a property for under £1m. However, the estate agents in prime central London openly admit that they sell over 25% of their property off-market and this figure increases the higher the value of the property. Indeed the highest figure I have seen quoted was one agent who said that over 70% of their properties weren’t on the websites.

But irrespective of the off-market properties (and there are also the ones that the agents don’t know about), there is a much bigger issue with the websites. Even if you look at them every day and set up property alerts, how many thousands of other people are doing exactly the same thing?

By relying on the websites, all you are really doing is joining a massive virtual queue. What advantage does that give you?

Just as one example, would it be a bad idea to hear about price reductions before they are announced on the internet? The agents often know which sellers are flexible on price long before an official price reduction (or price amendment to use the agents’ absurd phrase for it) takes place. So, you can take advantage of this information if you know about it before anyone else.

Which leads me to the next question you must ask yourself.

Property finder

How much time can you commit to finding a property in London?

If you are planning to acquire a property in prime central London, then you will be spending a significant sum of money. Amazingly, studies have proven that most people spend more time choosing a holiday or computer than they do buying a home. This is idiocy of the highest order.

As you are reading this, I hope you will take a more astute approach. But there is an inherent problem. As you are successful, you are likely to be extremely busy and time is not your friend. But you will need to set aside significant time to find your ideal home or property investment.

For instance, if you would like to buy a property in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, there are over 100 estate agencies that cover that area. You need to be speaking to them at least once a week, which is incredibly time consuming (we speak to over 220 estate agents a week for our clients).

But you also need to set aside time to visit all the properties so that you can get a feel for what is possible and also to start building an understanding of valuations. So, you need to be honest with yourself and ask:

  1. How realistic is it for me to call all the agents in my target areas once a week?
  2. How much time can I set aside to visit properties especially as the majority will probably not be right? Remember the sales brochures and photos will portray the property in the best light possible and it may not be quite as good in reality. (I spend the majority of my time advising clients not to view properties for this, amongst other, reasons.)
  3. How quickly can I view a property if it is really good? The good homes and investment opportunities often sell quickly. If it is going to take you a week or two to be able to visit, then you are severely limiting your chances of finding the best property your money can buy (would you be able to view more quickly if you weren’t wasting time viewing all the unsuitable properties?)
  4. What is my time worth? Many of my clients point out that their time is much better spent focusing on business than on property which is time consuming and not their area of expertise. It is a simple value of time calculation. In addition, they would rather spend what precious spare time they have with family and friends or pursuing their hobbies.

And these are just two very simple reasons why some of the world’s most successful families and businesspeople ask me to help them acquire a property in London – ranging from £1m to the prime £20m+ market.

There are other more technical reasons why they want my help as a property finder and you can read more about these in Part II which you can read here.

Contact Mercury Homesearch

If acquiring a property in London is a priority for you and you would like to reserve a Strategy call with me, you do so by visiting here, emailing dee@mercuryhomesearch.com or calling 02034578855 (+442034578855 from outside the UK).

About the author, Jeremy McGivern

My name is Jeremy McGivern. I am the founder of Mercury Homesearch, the internationally renowned property search consultancy, and author of The Insider’s Guide To Acquiring Luxury Property in Prime Central London. I have been acquiring property in prime central London for clients for over 13 years.

Having physically viewed over 22,000 properties in prime central London, studied the details of over 153,400 apartments, houses and investment opportunities and spoken to 232+ estate agents every week for over a decade.

My advice is in high demand and has featured everywhere from Bloomberg Television, The Financial Times and The Daily Telegraph to Forbes India and Bahrain Confidential.

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