28 Nov Surviving the London Property Minefield

INHOUS property consultancy – selling in London (March 12th 2014)

London has always been alluring to property owners from around the world. As the financial capital of Europe and a ‘safe haven’ for investment amid the economic instability felt around the world, London presents some wonderful opportunities but buyers and sellers must tread carefully.

When selling a property in this land of opportunity, a seller must navigate the minefield of thousands of unregulated estate agents in a bid to get an unbiased valuation and fair commission – a daunting task for even the people most familiar with London, let alone the time-poor or overseas owner.

The number of individual estate agents employed in Britain is at an all-time high with 562,000 currently working in the real estate industry, up almost 10% between March and June last year according to the Office for National Statistics. Several hundred agencies compete for the London market. Real estate is now the fastest growing sector of the British economy, indicating that the British property market is appreciating fast and now is a great time to sell. This boom also means that for the seller, there are an overwhelmingly high number of agents to choose from.

To compound the issue, there is no regulation policy or licensing scheme that estate agents must comply with in England. In essence anyone could work as an agent or agency without education or experience which has led to a vast number of agencies cropping up, especially in London. Without regulation there is also no protection for sellers.

Choosing the right agent is crucial to get the best return on a property and can mean the difference of thousands of pounds. The proliferation of unregulated agents makes the choice particularly complicated because there is no national standard which agents must comply with or consumers can refer to when making this decision.

Using a property consultancy service – which is independent of all estate agents – can remove this risk, providing unbiased advice and valuations and helping sellers choose an appropriate agent. Using a consultancy which oversees the sale from start to finish enables the seller to make transactions with confidence. The service is also free for the seller as the consultant retains his/her fee from the estate agent.

A property consultant can be particularly useful for international property owners looking to sell in London because they negotiate on the seller’s behalf. This means that they can rest assured that the sale is being handled properly and that it is proactively being marketed as consultants will ensure that the agent secures the best exposure of the property in newspapers, magazines and property portals as well as getting regular feedback on viewings, managing the conveyancing and exchange of the property. A good consultant’s aim is to make the whole experience as smooth and as efficient as possible, saving sellers’ time and money.

In London, house prices have jumped to their highest in three years with property in some boroughs double the value of a decade ago. In well-heeled, sought-after areas such as Kensington and Mayfair, average sale prices have risen 18% to £3.2 million according to Savills. Typical London house prices are now 8% higher than they were in the peak of 2007 and in the central London area of Westminster, prices have skyrocketed by 114% according to nationwide figures.

Bolstering this prosperous London market is the weakness of the pound and the performance of global equity markets which is reflecting well against the flailing Euro. Low interest rates and a Help-to-Buy scheme subsidised by taxpayers are also contributing factors.

To make the most of this positive upswing in the London property market, sellers should act now. With a property consultancy service the transaction can reach its full potential without unwary sellers falling victim to the pitfalls of the thousands of unregulated estate agents which can charge unreasonable fees, give biased valuations and misleading contracts.

For free independent advice regarding selling or renting a property, contact  David Johnson on +44 2073 811 856, by email info@inhous.com or visit the website www.inhous.com

Surviving the London Property Minefield