Local knowledge is key

Thursday 13th September 2018 04:22 EDT

We are on the verge of closing a deal in Battersea. The property is a freehold house, which requires modernisation. The property is surprisingly small, given the quoted resale price of £1.2M. But there again, I don’t know the market on the other side of the river. 

A local agent confirmed this is indeed the valid local price for a developed property. Many buyers now understandably don’t want to pay for decoration carried out to someone else’s taste. This point varies across different regions in London. In some areas, they absolutely must have the finished product in order to attract an end user. Usually, it comes down to the type of client who will buy the property. The wealthy are generally cash rich but time poor, and have little time or patience to deal with a build project. Often, they want quick gratification.

In this location, according to the agent, the clientele would be open to taking on a project like this. A freehold house means it is free of hold, i.e. you have no freeholder to report to and take permissions from. This can be very valuable in terms of execution of a project, and can add massive amounts of expense to a project. The local agent claims houses are in short supply, and this one should sell quickly. He recommends a resale price of £950K, which I can live with. However, often the proof is in the pudding. There are agents who are expert in talking a good game to get the instruction on, and also expert in beating the client down once they are in a long contract with them.

To be fair this agent was commercially minded, maybe he smelt that I was in the trade and therefore there was little point in going to and fro in negotiation. Straight away, he offered to resell this for a 1% commission, and no notice period. This means we can dis-instruct them instantaneously. So, there was nothing for me to say. You cannot negotiate if the other side have given you what you want from the outset. Although, I guess it depends on how cheeky you wish to be. Perhaps it helped that he saw that we had recently purchased two properties, on behalf of clients, in the area, and there were possibly more in the pipeline.

We are due to be exchanging on this deal for £760K, and expect a quick resell, no more than 6 months. We may get some light planning in motion, like a loft extension and a rear extension. This always helps to smooth a resale along, and doesn’t cost too much in relation to the uplift you are looking to get. There is much leverage one can get in just obtaining planning permission, without even doing any work on the property.

Love is the Greatest Force

It has been said that the essence of Man is driven by his sense of purpose. When we have purpose, we are alive and effective. If we do not, then our lives do not function so well. Happiness is elusive. My observation is that, while this is true, the ultimate creative force of Man is agapelogical. This means that, fundamentally, we are most effective when we are driven by love. Love begets purpose. Our happiness flows from the degree to which we have defined four loving activities, and the depth to which we apply ourselves to these four loves.

The first is a loving promise to our family. 
The second is a loving promise to a vocation. 
The third is a loving promise to a community.
And the fourth is a loving promise to a higher power, which is either God or some over-arching philosophy of life.

When we dedicate ourselves in love to a congruent set of people, and a world view that is outside of, and bigger than we are, then we are fulfilling our agapelogical propensity. And, thus, happiness prevails. In order to maintain and increase love, we need to adhere to some rules. The commentator David Brooks expresses it very well when he says that rules keep us in a loving condition when we do not feel within us that love. Love is a hugely powerful force, and its existence and flow within us can help us reach heights of achievement that would, otherwise, be impossible.

Abraham Goldberg

Agony Agent is here to help!

Q: Is it necessary to use a letting agent?
A: No. It is not necessary. However, it is helpful!

All rental properties need to be managed. Managing your own property may not be that much of a headache if you’re lucky; perhaps you won’t hear a peep from your tenants for months on end. On the other hand you could get calls day in day out about blocked sinks, and leaking taps; or worse you might get nightmare tenants that don’t pay rent. There are a myriad of issues that could come up, and do come up. 

Either way, issues or not, there are a number of legal requirements that must be complied with, and lots of ‘paperwork’ involved. The actual reality is that most people are not suited to be hands on landlords. Most of our clients ask us to manage their rentals for them. This helps to make their investment hassle free. The idea of giving up their time to deal with piles of paperwork, trivial property issues and calls from tenants makes no sense, as their time and expertise is better spent elsewhere. 

Richard Bond

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