Everything wealth managers and advisers need to know about navigating London’s property market | 08 April 2022

The London property market has been enjoying a revival in recent months, with rising prices, buyer activity on the up and supply increasing faster than in other parts of the country.

Yet while stock levels are improving in the run-up to the traditionally busy Easter period, and more houses are coming onto the market in Kensington & Chelsea, Highbury & Islington and Fulham, to name but a few, demand continues to significantly outstrip supply.

Vendors face a Catch-22 situation; they are putting their homes up for sale and achieving strong prices, only to discover they can’t find anything to buy. Or, if they do manage to find a suitable property, they are up against multiple bidders, having to pay over the odds to secure it. Knowing the best way to approach such a situation can be difficult if you’ve never done it before; in this instance, we might advise a client to move into a second home (if they have one) on a temporary basis or go into rented accommodation. We would advise clients to avoid chains, if at all possible, especially if you find yourself at the bottom of one, completely reliant on the parties above.

Finding strategies to help your clients navigate this market is part and parcel of what we do. Given the various complexities of the market, if you have clients who want to invest in London property – whether that be a main residence, second home or investment – you may find that you don’t have the time or expertise to provide the level of consultancy and specific advice required.

Engaging with a trusted partner such as INHOUS who can be relied upon to provide exceptional service for your client, ensuring they are well-informed and accurately advised, could be the answer.

The advantage of a search agent

One way of getting ahead of the rest of the buying pack is to be represented by a search agent. If your client is spending £2 million-plus on property, it may be possible to do it on their own if they are a cash buyer and have all their ducks in a row. But with the majority of buyers represented by a search agent, they may find themselves at a disadvantage if they are not in a similar position.

Vendors and agents know that represented buyers are not window-shopping but are serious because they are paying a specialist to source property on their behalf. They will satisfy anti-money laundering regulations, as they will already have gone through all the necessary checks, as well as having their finances ready and a good quality lawyer lined up. Any offer they make will be more well-rounded and considered than that of an unrepresented buyer because as their adviser, we would ensure that this is the case.

Lack of stock means that search agents have to work hard to source off-market opportunities, contacting homeowners directly in some instances to see whether they are prepared to sell, and making the most of our black book of contacts, built up over the years. With an increasing amount of property transacted off market, never even hitting an estate agent’s website, unless your client has a search agent in their corner, they won’t even get to hear about much of what is for sale. We are able to justify our fees as we unearth opportunities for your clients which would not otherwise be available to them, using our connections and exclusive network to source exceptional properties.

Not all search agents are created equal

One of the knock-on effects of the surge in activity and interest in the London property market has been the uptick in number of advisers setting themselves up as buying agents. With many claiming different USPs, how do you choose the ‘right fit’ for your client?

It should go without saying that a good search agent will act in your client’s best interests and provide the highest levels of service but there is also a personal aspect on top which can be hard to quantify. Not every search agent is the right fit for every client; we spend a lot of time with clients, getting to know them really well and ensuring we find the best property match for them.

We often work with wealth managers and bankers, advising their clients and keeping them in the loop every step of the way. You will know your client better than anyone so should have a good feel for which search agent would be the best fit and work well with them.

Managed sales service

Discretion is fundamental to high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals, whether they are buying or selling. Our managed sales service offers a better alternative to the traditional estate agency model and satisfies this desire for complete discretion. Who wouldn’t prefer a select handful of qualified applicants to view their home rather than putting it on a property portal and taking potluck with the masses?

We leverage our exclusive network of buyers and agents to market your client’s home to the right buyer. We handpick the best selling agent, taking care of the entire process and ensuring your client receives the right advice to achieve the best possible outcome.

Why INHOUS for London property?

Having a trusted partner who will work with you, providing an extension of your service to your client, could mean the difference between your client buying the property of their dreams (or selling their existing home in a private, relaxed and hassle-free way) or missing out. There are relatively few search agents offering the level of expertise and advice we provide, and even fewer who are able to deliver a managed sales service. Get in touch for an informal chat about any questions you have.

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