Beating the odds in Primrose Hill

I love searching for property in NW London and was excited when I got this brief to find a family home providing circa 2000 sq ft of accommodation, four bedrooms, and an NW postcode, which wasn’t too far from Marylebone.

I always go and meet all the agents face to face as these relationships make all the difference in the process. Below is a photo I took of all the business cards I collected from local agents.

The search started in Spring 2022 and a few properties came close to the brief with offers put in.

Then in September 2022, a Liz Truss-shaped economic spanner was thrown in the works and interest rates began to rise significantly with market confidence going the opposite way (down!). 

So we put a pause on the search.

Picking up when things settled down

Six months later, we picked up the search again hoping to take advantage of reduced house prices that were a direct result of the higher rates of interest.  

Putting economics to one side, this was a purchase to live in and not a yield-based investment. It was a family search, and therefore a strong element of emotion comes into play. 

Over this period, I went to look at all the relevant properties on the market that fit the brief.

My job in part was to keep strong relationships with agents to get first opportunities when new property became available and even pre-market viewings.  You can see below the images from my phone for a visual representation. I always take photos and videos when I do previews to show my clients. For this brief, I saw more than 50 properties.

We finally set eyes on a great house in Primrose Gardens NW3 though unfortunately, the agent whom I had a great rapport with informed me they had just had an asking price offer from a chain-free cash buyer based overseas.  

We couldn’t match the offer of the other buyer so we had to think outside the box.  

What did we have going for us that the other buyer didn’t?

Well, it turned out to be a few things.  

Upfront due diligence: We said we would organise a structural survey straight away, essentially do our due diligence upfront.

Trustworthy buyers: Second, I kept reiterating that we had a definitive need for this house, my clients lived around the corner, had purchased before and knew the UK process, and could be trusted in that aspect.  An overseas buyer may run away at the first obstacle.  

An incentive: Thirdly, my clients had a property they were looking to sell (separate from this transaction) in future months.   We gave the carrot to the agent they they would get this property to sell. With this incentive, we were able to get our nose in front of that higher offer. 

Anyhow, this paid off and incredibly we negotiated this transaction some £60,000 below the other offer!

What our client said

As mentioned above choosing a family home is a very personal choice, and below I’ve put in our client’s words what this effort and result meant to them:

“Finding a family home is time-consuming and challenging, especially in the competitive London market. We decided quite early on to be assisted in our search by a professional. Matthew stood out as extremely knowledgeable of our target market, very enthusiastic, and proactive in leveraging his deep network of contacts to source the property both on and off market.  He is a pleasure to work with, he maintained a strong line of communication with us, managed advisors efficiently and proved an able negotiator in securing our ideal home. We highly recommend his services!”

Lorenzo, NW3

Astute Property Search: Press and Media

Astute Property Search - In the press

I am often asked to comment or give my views on the London Property Market. These can be news, trends and insights. Here are some of the articles that have quoted me.

Property Reporter – How to save a chain from breaking

Evening Standard: Buying a house in 2022: why are there no homes for sale and how can you beat other buyers?

Estate Agent Today: Home hunters urged to go offline to find agency stock

Property Reporter: Why buyers should switch off the laptop and actually meet agents

Property Reporter – How Buyers Can Navigate the Housing Shortage

Taiwan News – Astute Property Search launches Asia Team

Money China – new Asia team  

Property Investor Today – Chinese buyers increasingly looking for UK invesment opportunities

Evening Standard: eight of the most common questions asked by first-time buyers

What House: How Using Expert Help Can Unlock Big Savings

Property Funds: World Overseas buyers return to London with apartments in high demand

Property Reporter: – Overseas buyers return to the capital

Sunday Times: How to make a fortune flipping property

Evening Standard – Autumn Budget 2021

The Times: Are UK House Prices Set to Fall?

Politics and Property – the Potential Corbyn Effect

Sunday Times – 6 months after my offer was refused, the property is still on sale”

House Beautiful Magazine – 11 stylish design trends that can actually devalue your home

The Negotiator – My take on the post election property market

City AM (In the same article as The Prime Minister, is that a good thing?). 

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