As valuable capital assets, London property invariably yields handsome rewards for the astute investor by providing vital building blocks for portfolio expansion and diversification. It is vital, therefore, to regard the selling of a home as a tactical business decision to be undertaken with the aim of reducing costs and increasing the return on investment. The difference between a moderately profitable transaction and a financial windfall is usually down to the timing and levels of preparation that you’re ready to undertake and it’s in these areas that the expertise and advice of an established estate agent becomes an essential resource.
There can be many reasons for selling and some are more time sensitive than others; a career relocation, schools, new addition to the family or even a need or desire to free up capital. Even if there are no time pressures, it helps to set a schedule, so that all the different components of the sale fall into place. Set aside a period for research of, not only the local property market, but also prospective estate agents, conveyance experts and local tradespersons should you need them. Assess the costs involved as well as the time their services will require.
Estate agents who claim that they can sell your property quickly are not necessarily the right people for the job. Agents will be in regular contact with you through what is widely acknowledged to be a pretty intense and stressful period, so it is important you do your homework and choose your agent carefully. You can spot the good ones by their proven experience and willingness to be transparent. Some questions to ask are:
Good agents should be able to market your property readily, as soon as you instruct them. They should also take professional, high quality photographs that show your property in the best light possible, guaranteeing plenty of interest. They’ll also give you tips on getting the rooms ready. Benham and Reeves also provide a video and floorplan, not all agents do, so do ask them what is included, where and how they will be marketing your property to ensure it reaches the maximum audience.
Maintaining a careful balance between attracting buyers and maximising profits should start with a professional and accurate valuation of your property. This serves as a solid base for negotiation and will enable you to budget accurately as you decide how much to spend on getting the property ready for market.
Benham and Reeves offer a free online valuation that can be accessed via our website and this is a good place to start. As you research, you’ll soon recognise that the age, size and location of your home are major factors in any valuation calculation, as is the state of the economy and these are variables that are more or less out of your control. There are, however, some other things that can be done in order to give your property the best chance of attracting the full market price.
Of course, any potential buyer will also be carrying out a survey and that’s where things get a bit more detailed and it’s important to have most of these bases covered. These details are what potential buyers will be looking at:
It should be noted that once you have done your research, a formal valuation should be sought and this is best performed by a qualified agent who will need to visit your property to take a proper look at the size and condition. It is advisable to get the valuation in writing as you may need this if hoping to secure a mortgage loan in principle.Contact us if you would like to arrange a free, no obligation of your property.
So you have a property with great potential, near to vital transport links and full of attractive features. How do you add further value?The next three points focus on cost-effective strategies that can be carried with minimal fuss and bother:
Potential buyers looking for a home in London can be pretty much spoiled for choice, especially when they’re looking at a new build. So it’s wise to ensure you have the competitive edge when selling as there are likely to be other apartments for sale particularly if it’s a large scale property development built over several phases. You don’t have to make major renovations to impress. A selection of stylish and tasteful soft furnishings can transform your property from “Next, please” to “Yes please!”
Some estate agents have close relationships with interior design and furnishings experts and will make helpful suggestions regarding your property. High quality furnishings, accessories and artwork don’t have to cost the earth and their knack of providing eye-catching focal points often prove invaluable.
Services such as:
Once you have instructed an agent, every viewing of your property should be treated as a potential sale. Keep the property in tip-top condition and take notice of any feedback or suggestions that might come your way; either from the agent or a prospective buyer.
Some agents do not need you to be available for every viewing but in some instances, it can be helpful – be guided by your agent.
Don’t leave the choice of a conveyance solicitor to the last minute or to chance. Your estate agent will be able to point you to any number of experienced professionals who will be able to take on the legal heavy lifting that goes with selling a property.
Getting your property ready involves getting your paperwork ready as well. Good solicitors will have all documentation up to date and accessible before you accept any offer. They’ll then keep in touch with your agent as to the progress of the sale and have contracts ready to sign as soon as both parties are ready.
Before your property can be marketed, you will be required to complete a property information questionnaire. This will ask you to include relevant information relating to any issues you may have regarding your property boundaries or any dispute with neighbours; whether you have appropriate approvals for any building works or freeholder consent for things like loft conversions or extensions. You will also be asked to mention any known defects. It is recommended that you be as transparent as possible from the outset as answers that are vague or incomplete are most likely to come up during the conveyancing process which could delay things and cost you more money in the long run. It could also impact the outcome of your sale.
High professionalism throughout the process
Our experience with Benham & Reeves Hampstead was very pleasant. High professionalism throughout the process, a great valuation and viewing organisation, not to mention that it only took a couple of weeks to get an offer. Jeremy was extremely professional and helpful, so much so that we immediately recommended him to our neighbours.
Experienced and excellent to deal with
I felt it important to express my gratitude to Tom for all his hard work, assistance and understanding in achieving the completion of my property today. Tom is experienced in sales and an excellent person to deal with. He knows how to handle a situation. He is patient and understanding. Due to his coordination with solicitors and myself we were able to push a time limited conveyance through which had a deadline for tomorrow. A genuine asset to Benham & Reeves, Tom is a sheer pleasure to work with, thoroughly reliable and honest. I wish Tom all the success going forward and I hope to deal with him in the future, again.
Sale of my apartment in W1
Throughout the selling process of my apartment which through no fault of B & R was a quite complicated sale, I found the staff of B & R to be efficient, professional and attentive. I have no hesitation in recommending them both as letting agents and selling agents.
Outstanding service by Philip
Philip has been wonderful in our house hunting in London. He listened to our needs and had been so patient in finding that right one. The whole process took a year and he was never discouraged. Instead, he was always very accommodating and positive. Now, we have finally moved into our new place. We highly recommend Philip to anyone who is looking for their dream home. In fact, we have already referred some friends to him. Thank you Philip and we appreciate all your help!
Excellent and professional services
Philip provides professional services and advice on property acquisition. Very friendly and helpful.
I just wanted to drop you a line to say thank you for providing me with an excellent service. You proactively sought out properties that met my investment criteria which led me to purchasing an ideal property. I appreciated your friendly and professional manner and felt I could really trust your judgement, which is something I did not feel with other estate agents. I would highly recommend using your company and will hopefully be purchasing another property through you soon.
A Satisfied Buyer!
I was happy with your service particularly in keeping the sale alive when the vendor was losing faith. My agent (Sofia) was invaluable in overcoming the various hurdles and concluding the sale successfully. Thank you from a satisfied buyer!
At the end of June we saw the deadline for the government’s Stamp Duty holiday which is now being tapered down until it is phased out completely at the end of September. And I am sure many homebuyers are wondering what effect this will have on the London property market. But this is just one of the factors influencing the residential property market in London so let’s take a look at the broader picture. Looking beyond the Stamp Duty holiday Of course, the Stamp Duty holiday has had a major influence on the UK property market which has outperformed all expectations in recent months, with house prices across the country reaching record highs. The average price of a home in London in May was £497,948, around £7,000 below March’s record of £504,384, but still £17,000 above the level at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. And there is no doubt that the holiday contributed to the outstanding performance of the UK property market. But it was only one of the driving factors. In London, the property market has not experienced a surge in demand to the same extent as other parts of the UK, with transaction levels remaining steadier and the gradual tapering of the scheme should ensure that there is little or no negative impact. As a result, we expect demand to remain consistent, and in fact, for momentum to build over the next few months due to other influences. Lockdowns prompt a shift in priorities Homebuyers’ changing requirements have also been a real catalyst in the buoyant London property market. We have been spending much more time at home over the last 18 months, making us appreciate just how important our home is. In particular, we crave more space – inside and out – as our homes become somewhere we can both live and work – and this has become a driving force in what we are looking for in our perfect home. In fact, space is now often more important than traditional requirements such as proximity to public transport and this is prompting some people to move further out where this space is more affordable than in central London. New ways of living – and working While there is always a lull in demand over the summer months, as people take their annual holidays – at home this year if not abroad – we expect enquiry levels to continue to grow as we move towards autumn, with strong activity prompted by workers returning to their offices (at least part time) and maybe considering a new area to call home. We will see this trend continue as we all start to adapt to new ways of working – and living. Meanwhile, as travel restrictions ease, international buyers are considering a move back to London and perhaps buying a home rather than renting. Of course, some of these will be executives moving to the UK capital as they are on secondment with their firms, while we are also seeing growing numbers of BNO passport holders from Hong Kong seeking a permanent move to the UK. Financial incentives influencing the London property market Increased demand has also been prompted by incentives such as the government’s 95% mortgage scheme, together with historically low interest rates. While for overseas investors the weakness of sterling is probably the key driving force, bringing significant cost savings. In addition, many potential homebuyers have been saving significant amounts of money during the recent lockdowns. Those who have remained employed have had nowhere to go and not much to spend their money on! The Bank of England estimates the amount saved by individuals could be as much as £100bn. This gives buyers a substantial deposit for either their first property or their next move up the ladder. Shortages of good properties across London And of course, a continuing shortage of properties in London and the UK generally contributes to the strength of the property market, keeping house prices buoyant. The government says we need 300,000 new homes a year to meet demand yet on average we build only 250,000 – so demand continues to outstrip supply across the country. Larger homes being snapped up in Hampstead and Highgate Areas like Hampstead and Highgate are extremely popular and we've seen many corporate executives relocating to London with their families, thanks to the outstanding schools in both areas. This year is no exception and the Hampstead residential property market is changing quickly. We have been receiving a lot of instructions recently and these are selling well. In particular, larger family homes (three/four bedrooms) are being snapped up by the domestic market, families mostly, who are keen to move to the area before the start of the September school term. Some of these buyers have down-sized from central London homes and prefer the extra space they can get within their budgets and of course, being near the Heath is a real bonus. We desperately need more stock so if you are thinking about selling your property in Hampstead, please get in touch with our Hampstead Sales branch to arrange a free market appraisal of your property. Read more comment from Benham and Reeves in the national press If you’re interested in the London residential property market you won’t want to miss our regular market comments in the national press. Our director, Marc von Grundherr, gives regular interviews to national newspapers including the Times, The Guardian, the Evening Standard and City AM, giving his perspective on the latest property news and trends. One of the most recent is his contribution to an article in The Times about investing in a property along the route of The Elizabeth Line (Crossrail), outlining Marc’s own experience of investing at The Green Quarter in Southall. And of course, you’ll also find plenty of interesting articles by going to our News area where you can see recent press coverage. Are you planning to buy or sell a London property soon? If you are planning to buy a property in London soon, or if you plan to put your current property on the market for sale, please get in touch with our sales team to discuss your requirements or arrange a free market appraisal.