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April 25, 2023
Jeremy McGivern
Posted in: Uncategorised

Do you need a property finder when acquiring property in London? Part II

Property Finder London |

What are the best areas to buy property in London?

If you are planning to buy a home, then you may well have a good idea of where you want to live. However, do you know all of the areas that might work for you? This is especially true for international buyers.

As a property finder, I  was contacted recently by someone who wants to acquire a home and has visited London over a hundred times for business. But by his own admission, he doesn’t know the property market in London. He is torn between acquiring a home in Hampstead where he will get a lot more space and a decent garden or acquiring a property in South Kensington which is a much better location for him.

The problem that many people face is that they then ask friends for advice. Unfortunately, despite having the best intentions, most people give advice on what they like, i.e. where they live, rather than listening to what the person actually buying wants.

The same is true if you are planning to invest in property in London. Do you or your friends really know which areas and types of property have the highest probability of outperforming? (I use probability because there are never any guarantees. It is extraordinary how many property predictions are portrayed as being cast-iron certainties when, in fact, most are woefully wrong, but that is an article for another day).

For example, some international buyers insist that they must buy within Zone 1. But Zone 1 is merely a transport zone for the price of travel tickets. It contains several areas that are definitely not prime. And to take it to an even more detailed level do you, you have to know which are the best streets within your target area.

If you don’t, would it be unreasonable to say that you are already unlikely to find the best property your money can buy?

property finder

Do you know how to accurately value property in London?

This is a huge topic because if you don’t have an accurate understanding of what affects values, you will make an incredibly expensive mistake or miss out on great opportunities. I often acquire great value properties for clients that have been on the market for months but have been completely overlooked by buyers for various reasons.

One of the many mistakes that buyers make is relying on pound per square foot (or metre) valuations and comparators. On the face of it, this may seem sensible because if a few properties in the area have sold for say £1800 per sq.ft. then it may seem reasonable to assume that the property you want to buy should be a similar value.

In new build developments, this works to a certain extent as the apartments tend to be finished to the same standard. However, prices should increase the higher the floor and they may also vary depending on the view.

But how many traditional properties are the same? They may look identical from the outside but there will be huge differences in the building themselves. The problem with pound per square foot valuations is that they are a blunt instrument because of all the variables such as:

Standard of décor, ceiling heights, outside space, lift, porter, position on the street, width of the building, quality of the building, parking, light. Indeed, these are just a handful of the variables that you need to consider when acquiring a property in London.

The other danger is that the agent could show you a very accurate comparator to make the property seem like good value. But one comparator is not sufficient because it is very possible that the buyer may have massively overpaid because they didn’t know what they were doing.

Do you know tested and proven negotiation techniques to help you acquire your ideal home or investment property in London for the lowest price possible?

Of course, if you don’t know what represents fair value for a property it is very difficult to negotiate intelligently because you don’t know if the target price you have set yourself is a good price or not.

But assuming that you have established fair value, how can you then negotiate the best price possible? Unfortunately, most people’s answer is to batter the seller with pound per square foot comparators. This makes sense considering the research you have done on valuations but is rarely successful.

If you focus purely on logical arguments then the probability of you achieving the lowest price possible or even reaching an advantageous price will be significantly reduced.

The following is an extract from a testimonial I received:

Jeremy had warned us that it would not be an easy negotiation because the sellers were going through an acrimonious divorce: they did not need to sell the property and it seemed that they were more interested in arguing with each other. In addition, it soon became evident that the agents did not have a good relationship with the sellers either.

The negotiations took several weeks and, to be frank, we didn’t think Jeremy would succeed in reaching an agreement at a price that would work for us because the sellers, especially one of them, were completely unrealistic. However, he found a solution and agreed a price that the agents didn’t think would be possible (Jeremy ended up speaking directly to one of the owners) and which was very favourable for us.

While previous buyers and the agents had tried to convince the sellers with various “logical” arguments, Jeremy took a different approach which clearly succeeded. As he says, emotions often trump logic!” Mr J Cole (Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea)

There are several lessons to be taken from this including how to use the agents to one’s own advantage despite the fact that they work for the seller.

But if you are hoping that there is one sure-fire negotiation technique to achieve an exceptional price, I’m afraid that it doesn’t exist. You need to use a combination of strategies and tactics to be successful.

You may remember from Part 1 that I had advised a gentleman that he didn’t need a property finder and that he should contact the owners of various properties himself as he was looking in such a small area and he felt he understood valuations and negotiation.

Well, he made contact about six months later asking for my help as a property finder for several reasons including advice on other areas and negotiation.

property finder

Would a property finder be bad value for you?

There are undoubtedly buyers who don’t need a property finder. Some people enjoy looking at dozens and dozens of properties, even if they are clearly unsuitable. Others don’t seem too concerned about finding the best property their money can buy and don’t bother putting a plan together to succeed.

This explains why I see so many poor and average properties being bought at high prices every month when the buyers could have literally walked round the corner and bought a better property at the same or lower price.

The simple fact is that there are only a small number of “Best in Breed” properties in every area and price range. So, only a small number of people can own them. The question is do you want to be one of those people and do you know how to achieve this?

If not, there are a couple of ways I can help:

Contact: Mercury Homesearch

  1. You can request a complimentary copy of my book, The Insider’s Guide To Acquiring £1m to £100m Property in London. The book reveals many of the tested and proven techniques I have been using for over 20 years to acquire some of London’s finest homes and investment opportunities for my clients.

To request your free copy simply click here.

  1. If acquiring a property in London is a priority for you, you can request a Strategy Call with me. The call is a diagnostic consultation to discuss your property requirements and highlight your blindspots to help you avoid the expensive mistakes you will make. Simply click here, email dee@mercuryhomesearch.com or call 02034578855 (+442034578855 from outside the UK).

Whatever you decide, please formulate a plan for finding the best property your money can buy and don’t wade blindly into the market.

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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