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Helping Hand

25.10.21

Abode2 spoke to Matt Turner, founder of boutique buying agency Astute Property Search, to discuss how expert help can unlock deep discounts in a frustrated market

Tell us about your experience and Astute Property Search’s offering

Personally, I have over 21 years of experience as an estate agent and buying agent, so I know how the market works, where to source the best properties and a wealth of advice that can help our clients make informed decisions.

During the process all of my clients can see the value that a buying agent adds to the process.  Be it advice, time saved or through negotiating to get the best deal.  Buying property in the UK always has its speedbumps, it is far from a perfect process, so the buying agent, in my view, helps streamline the process mitigating problems and issues before they arise.

What is your typical client demographic? 

We tend to work with international investors or busy professionals who already live and work in London and need someone to do the leg work.  People that appreciate service and are used to pay for expertise & results. Whoever we work with I always find that our consultancy and management fees will be more than absorbed in the reduction in price that we are able to negotiate at the end of the process.

 

Do you operate/specialise in a specific location? 

It is more the process that we manage rather than focusing on an area.  In the 11 years that we have been operating we have covered almost every London borough.  From Wimbledon to Wanstead in the outer areas to more central locations such at Notting Hill, Hampstead or St John’s Wood we will always find what our client is looking for and at the right price.

What is the most interesting project/deal you’ve worked on? 

I always get that buzz when I win a best bidding scenario especially if the property is for an end-user  home, as it means so much more to the client and can make such a difference.

This was the case for a transaction this year for an expat couple currently living in Singapore.  They had a very precise brief of that they wanted, which was to live on one of four streets in “the Counties Estate” in Wanstead.

Only two house came onto the market in six months, one of which I sourced directly by hand delivering letters over the Christmas holidays.  That owner changed their mind and decided to stay put.  So when a house on Warwick Road E11 came onto the open market we were very keen.  The agent held an open day with 20+ viewings with bidding taking place the following week.  After some negotiations I managed to secure the property and get it through two days before the stamp duty cut off at the end of June.

How has the market performed in 2021 and how do you see it going in 2022? 

The main trend has been “the exodus of London” with buyers searching for greater outside space and property with ample square footage to work from a home office.  So, prices for houses have increased incredibly with multiple bidders in most cases.  Vendors in the suburbs have subsequently been moving further out to more rural areas also and in some cases struggling to secure property resulting in them pulling out of their own sale thus further shortening supply in the suburbs.  I can only see this trend continuing, as property prices generally rise during periods of high inflation.

The market in central London in my view offers great value in the long term especially for apartments. The lull in the market has been hindered as people search for greater square footage, outside space, less need to work from the office but also from travel restrictions with the bulk of international buyers unable to come to London. In June I managed to secure an apartment in St Johns Wood 15% below what other properties are being listed at, so if you scratch the surface there are big savings to be made in prime London.

Do you believe London still appeals to certain international buyers or has the market     been impacted by Brexit and the recent pandemic? 

With travel corridors opening, I think we will see a mini bounce back into the London market between now and the beginning of 2022.  As already stated, there is value in the market and property prices like stocks have a resistance level (once they get to a certain price there will be many buyers).

London has always been a favourite for international buyers, be it for currency diversification or lifestyle and I cannot see this changing.  Universities still attract in high numbers and a common search is parents from overseas buying for their children that are studying here, banking on the fact that typically prices in London rise year-on-year, so they can case out their investment for a good profit when the kids move on, keep it as a rental asset or use it as a city pied-a-terre.

What would your main piece of advice be to those looking to buy a home in the current climate?

If a client is looking for a home and especially a house, then we advise in the current market to pay the asking price or more to secure the property.  It may seem expensive at the time but the longer you wait, the more expensive it will become.

For apartments, shop around and be more bullish with your offer.  Try not to fall in love with a home and keep your business head on when offering.  This is where using a buying agent can really help keep your feet on the ground and not pay over the odds.

www.astutepropertysearch.co.uk

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