Prime London is one of the most sought-after spots in the world when it comes to international property investors. This is largely due to the favourable tax regime in the UK and of course the fact that it’s a global hub of business, entertainment and culture. However, property transactions are never straight-forward; it’s always important to prepare for potential pitfalls along the way. For this reason it’s vital to be ready before taking the plunge.
When it comes to purchasing luxury properties, there are a few easy steps that can be taken to avoid disappointment. After all, you want to make a good return on your property if you’re spending a considerable sum in the first place – even if you’re going to live in said property for a long time.
Here are some common-sense tips to bear in mind when buying your luxury home.
1. Research the neighbourhood
We’ve all got our standards, and if you’re buying in an upmarket postcode you’re bound to be more discerning than the average buyer. This is why it’s important to do your homework when it comes to the area – you can always make changes to a property but can never alter the neighbourhood! In London, there are at least a dozen areas where the average property price is over a million pounds, which means you’ve a lot of different areas to choose from. From Chelsea and Notting Hill, to the more leafy, town/country feel of Wimbledon Village, there’s high international demand and fabulous investment opportunities in the UK capital. Spending time in the neighbourhood you’re interested in will give you a good feel as to the atmosphere. Think about what you’re looking for – a calm family feel or a cooler, more relaxed funky vibe? Whatever you seek, London will have in droves. It’s just a question of research.
2. Available property types
If you’re looking for a luxury penthouse overlooking the river, it’s no good looking in an area which specialises in six-bed mansions. Sounds obvious, but not every part of town has every type of property. More urban Central London postcodes such as Marylebone, have apartments and luxury penthouses in the main, whereas other Prime London areas have a higher percentage of townhouses and larger homes. The architecture will vastly differ depending on where you’re looking – Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian properties are all very different.
3. Put yourself in your tenants’ shoes
If you’re going to rent out your property, put yourself in the place of your prospective tenants. For example, if you’re buying a luxury penthouse, think carefully about who would live there and what they’d prioritise. If they’re likely to be young, urban, successful professionals, it’s probable they’ll want to be close to transport links and no doubt restaurants and bars. If you’re purchasing a well-furnished mansion and want to attract affluent couples with children, think about schools, parking and local amenities as well as things to do in the day (organic cafes, farmers’ markets, butchers and spas etc). Crime statistics for this target group are also something to consider. Overall, what’s vital is to get a strong understanding of the area and what it will provide for your tenants.
4. Plans for the area
Researching the area is your surveyor’s job; but it’s always good to get a heads up. Are there new development projects in the pipeline? If there are positive transformational projects set to get off the ground this could be great for rental returns and property prices. It’s also important to look at what condition other houses are in your street. If they are run down, despite being mansions, or are badly maintained; this could still bring down the value of your property.
5. Off-market properties
Some of the most exclusive properties in London are actually traded off-market. It’s been estimated that some 15-20 percent of Prime London properties worth over £2 million are traded privately. This is why it can be worth building great contacts in your neighbourhood of choice through local agents, in order to get the inside story as to brilliant off-market deals.
6. Hire a great agent!
Buying a property from overseas can be very difficult as you’re not in the country and it can be hard to view properties and stay in regular contact with agents. However, good agents can use their networks to give you access to the best properties and can approach owners they know directly and negotiate on your behalf. A talented agent can make all the difference when buying top-quality property – just research their track record beforehand for peace of mind.