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July 10, 2023
Jeremy McGivern
Posted in: Luxury real estate London, Property Prices

Mastering the London Property Search: Essential Tips and Strategies for Finding Your Perfect Home

London Property Search | 

What can Henry Ford tell you about your London Property Search?

September will be the 115th anniversary of Ford’s release of the Model T car.

This reminded me of a story I was told about him by Dan Kennedy:

During the First World War a Chicago newspaper published various editorials describing him as an “ignorant pacifist”. He sued the paper and in court the paper’s lawyers tried to prove that he was ignorant by asking him questions outside of car manufacturing.

After a succession of annoying questions, including “Who was Benedict Arnold?” and “How many soldiers did the British send over to America to put down the Rebellion of 1776?”, Ford became impatient with the game and said:

If I should really WANT to answer the foolish question you have just asked, or any of the other questions you have been asking me, let me remind you that I have a row of electric push-buttons on my desk, and by pushing the right button, I can summon to my aid men who can answer ANY question I desire to ask concerning the business to which I am devoting most of my efforts.

Now, will you kindly tell me, WHY I should clutter up my mind with general knowledge, for the purpose of being able to answer questions, when I have men around me who can supply any knowledge I require?”

Maximizing Your Time: Why Outsourcing Your London Property Search Makes Sense

There is a big difference between ignorance and deciding on the best use of one’s time. The question is, what is the best use of your time?

For example, I have just accepted three new clients – a partner at a major law firm, the managing partner of a well-known Private Equity firm and a successful businesswoman – who have all said that they are far too focussed on business to spend time on their London property search.

They realise the effort required to make contact with all the estate agents in their target areas, view all the potential properties available, fully understand valuations, handle the negotiations and all the bureaucracy involved.

It is simply not a sensible use of their time. But, if you are not willing to do all this properly, would it be unreasonable to suggest that you will not find the best property your money can buy or acquire it on the best terms possible?

Hence, they have asked us to help. Now, you may want to undertake the London property search yourself and in a second I will show you the vital thing that will save you huge sums of money which you must do before you even start your London property search

But first, I just need to highlight that you must avoid this massive mistake that many buyers make the majority of people make the mistake: relying on information they glean from newspapers and their friends.

Now, I am aware that this a rather self-serving point to make! But I am staggered by some of the advice people accept as hard fact/undeniable truth from totally unqualified sources – this includes highly respect newspapers and the so-called “experts therein”.

London Property Search

Navigating the Noise: Why Specificity is Key in Your Prime London Property Search

Several private banks, law firms and tax advisers including Barclays Bank, Cazenove Capital, Arbuthnot Latham, Investec, Kleinwort Hambros, Weatherbys Private Bank, Payne Hicks Beach, Forsters, Edwin Coe, Wedlake Bell, Womble Bond Dickinson, Irwin Mitchell, EY, Rawlinson Hunter & Frank Hirth amongst others, ask me to give talks on the prime London property market.

And in these talks I prove how poor the reporting on the property market is. One of the main problems being that the information they use is often misleading because talk of the prime central London property market is too general to be of any use.

In your prime London property search, you will be looking for a specific type of property in certain areas and a specific price range. Almost all the information outside of your specific target market is irrelevant and really just “noise”. If you are looking for a house in Notting Hill then how relevant is the market for apartments in Knightsbridge? This is just a very basic example of why talk of the prime central London property market is so dangerous.

If the sums involved weren’t so large, it wouldn’t be an issue, but acquiring a property is a serious commitment for most and even if it is an insignificant investment for you, would you be happy to discover you had made an expensive mistake because you were using the wrong information?

So would it be a bad idea to ensure that you have a very clear understanding of what is actually happening in your target areas, price range and style of property you wish to buy?

By this I mean you must know, amongst other things (and these are just the basics), how many active buyers there are, how many good properties are available, how many can be acquired off-market, what prices have they been trading at, how many have sold recently, etc., etc.

You will then also need to focus on the owner’s motivations for selling as these will have a far greater impact on the negotiations than any stats you can find. Indeed, if you try to batter the seller with logical arguments rather than focussing on the emotional motivations, I can guarantee you will not achieve the lowest price possible.

Of course, the general information you will read in the press won’t tell you any of this and will actually be highly misleading – quite why people spend so much time reading the papers is beyond me. So, please undertake the necessary due diligence (If you would like me to prove to you how wrong information and predictions in the press are, please email dee@mercuryhomesearch.com).

Setting Yourself Up for Success

But before you do any of this, you should make sure that you are in the best possible position to act swiftly when you find that ideal home or investment.

This is why I ensure that all our clients speak to their financiers, tax advisers and solicitors before we start their London property search. It is imperative that you have a very clear understanding of the tax implications of acquiring a property, the various ways you can buy a property, e.g. in your own name, a trust, tenants in common, etc. and how quickly you can transact.

The more prepared you are, the better you will do. I know this isn’t exciting advice in itself but if you are prepared and can move swiftly it will have a significant impact on the negotiations which could save you hundreds of thousands of pounds if not millions.

At the very least it will give you the best chance of securing the property ahead of other buyers against whom you might be bidding. Indeed, we often have offers accepted for our clients which were not the highest offer put forward. Admittedly, this is partly due to my reputation, but it is also because we ensure that our clients can move swiftly when we find their ideal home or perfect investment opportunity.

I am not joking when I say that most people approach buying a property in the same way they would choosing a holiday or a computer – numerous surveys have proven it. This is why I see, on almost a weekly basis, poor or average properties being bought at high prices by people who clearly have not dedicated the time required to their London property search.

Do you want to be one of those people?

Contact: Mercury Homesearch

So, please ensure that you don’t repeat the mistakes made by most buyers time & time again.

If would like to discover the tested and proven strategies and tactics that I have been using for over 20 years to acquire my clients their ideal homes and investment properties, you can request a complimentary copy of my book, The Insider’s Guide To Acquiring £1m to £100m Property in London.

Simply click here, email dee@mercuryhomesearch.com or call 02034578855 (+442034578855 from outside the UK).

Good luck in your London property search.


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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