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To join the queue of buyers who rely on websites and fight over inferior properties?

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August 28, 2022
Jeremy McGivern
Posted in: How do I find the best properties?

What was the best property we purchased last year?

Best property investment | 

“How many off-market properties do you buy each year?” is one of the questions I am most frequently asked by those applying for membership to Mercury Homesearch.

Of course, I see a lot because in addition to speaking to over 200 estate agents in prime central London every week, we also have a large list of off-market contacts that I have built over 20 years.

To be honest, there are more off-market properties (as a percentage of the market), the higher in value you go. So, for example we acquired a building in South Kensington for a client which was being sold off-market by a company.

This was a great investment as the six apartments individually are worth more than the total we paid and it has historically let very easily over several years. For example, it was fully tenanted during the Covid crisis. I expect because five of the six apartments have outside space.

The acquisition price was just under £11m and the company was selling because it had become too small an asset for them.

We also acquired a 4,000+ sq.ft. house over only four floors and within a five minutes’ walk of Sloane Square. Again, this was not on any of the property portals, so the typical buyer missed the opportunity. We acquired it for under £1700 per square foot although it did require some cosmetic updating. More importantly, it was the perfect home for the English family I was helping.

Jeremy sourced a selection of properties which met our requirements and one in particular stood out – a stunning Georgian house which was much wider than the standard London home and which also had exceptionally high ceilings. The house was not on the open market so we would never have known of its existence.” Mr P Ybarra (Marylebone)


But, probably the best acquisition was an apartment for £1.5m that I found for an investor. It was on the top floor of a stunning building, had 4m ceiling height in the reception and direct lift access as well as being in an area that I think will massively outperform the market. In addition, we had planning advice which suggests that our member will be able to add another floor and, therefore, significant value, but even without this, it was a great opportunity.

best property investment

Amazingly, this was openly advertised on the property portals, but the entire market seemed to have missed it. Probably because the photographs weren’t particularly good and they were unaware that the seller was very keen to transact (he had moved to Dubai and just wanted his money out), so they didn’t know the negotiation potential.

I know this is a point I drone on about, but it needs hammering home:

If you hope to find the best property your money can buy and negotiate the most favourable price possible, how do you expect to achieve this if you are relying solely on the websites/property alerts?


  1. All you are really doing is joining a long queue of buyers. What competitive advantage do you have?
  2. How will you know if a seller is keen by staring at a website?
  3. Would it be a bad idea to know about price reductions before they are announced on websites? If you wait until a price reduction appears on a website – see point 1.
  4. You cannot always tell what a property will be like just by looking at the photos and floorplans.

To put this last point into context, I have personally inspected over 23,000 properties and seen the details of over 150,000 more. Yes, that makes me incredibly dull, but it gives me a frame of reference that no-one else has, but I still inspect properties that look dreadful online because some turn out to be gems, i.e. looks can be deceptive.

Admittedly, I see an awful lot of rubbish too, but is it realistic to expect the best homes and investment opportunities to fall into your lap?

So, it is essential that you speak to all the estate agents in your target area once a week, so that you have total market coverage and information on properties before the online herd of buyers do.

Unless, of course, you don’t mind acquiring properties that are far worse than your money can buy and you enjoy overpaying for the privilege. In which case, many congratulations on having the money to burn.

If, however, you would rather not have estate agents sniggering at how they managed to sell you a dud, then you must carry out the necessary due diligence to find the best property you can. It doesn’t matter if your budget is one million or one hundred million pounds.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to do this, then would it be a bad idea to delegate it to someone who does have the skill, expertise and contacts?

“I cannot recommend Jeremy highly enough. If you are planning to acquire a property in London, he will find you an exceptional property and save you time, stress and money. His fee has already paid for itself several times over.”Mr. Z. Sidek (South Kensington)


And yes, that is a crass promotional message! But I founded Mercury Homesearch 20 years ago because I became fed up with the agents (I have never been an estate agent) and believed there was a far better way to acquire property. Fortunately, it seems I was right.

Contact Mercury Homesearch

If you would like to discover more about membership of Mercury Homesearch and how we have helped both British and international buyers from all over the world, so you can acquire your ideal home or investment property, simply email my assistant, Dee, at dee@mercuryhomesearch.com or call 02034578855 (+442034578855 from outside the UK).

Topic: Best property investment

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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