Shaping lifestyles and setting precedents

Conducting a property search for a client with an open mind and an open ended budget provides an immense amount of opportunity! However, property led searches over location require greater focus.

The Brief

The most important time for a Consultant to focus their client’s requirements is when there is too much flexibility to the brief, and there are no budget restrictions. Without this, a search will become clouded and unmanageable.

With an initial focus on Mayfair and Belgravia, a £10M-£25M budget and the only specific requirements being number of bedrooms and a private outdoor garden, exposing a client to a variety of property types of varying values at the start of a search enables the Consultant to quickly define and relate to their tastes. This was particularly true in this instance when it came to location.

The Search

Despite an initial attraction to Belgravia, the client quickly realised that the area did not present their desired property type and the properties viewed in Mayfair were clearly not suitable – either too small or the layout was not to the client’s taste.

Pushing the boundaries slightly, the Consultant took the search ‘off brief’ to show the alternative property types offered in different locations.

The search area was therefore extended into Chelsea, Kensington, Holland Park and Knightsbridge as well as viewing two further properties in Mayfair, as the client remained quite drawn to this area. These latter two properties were different to those previously viewed in Mayfair and after viewing, the client felt one of them did represent a real opportunity.

A commercial property with potential for a conversion of usage and the possibility of buying the freehold, added further weight to the property’s appeal. After the client showed initial interest, the property went to a sealed bid against four other buyers. Despite submitting an offer the client was out bid and the property was secured at an inflated price and so the search continued.

The client was soon shaping a more defined picture of their perfect home, and with this the understanding that it is rare to find a property that meets ones personal style exactly. To achieve the ultimate property often means choosing one that requires significant work. In this instance, the client was attracted to properties that were an authentic representation of its particular style or period which they could complement with their own taste.

Four further off market propositions were presented: a modern riverside flat with a 60 metre river frontage, a low build house in Belgravia that had planning permission for a modern construction, an un-modernised former convent in Notting Hill and a Grade I listed house on Chiswick Mall.

Viewing a number of properties across different locations gave pause for thought enabling greater consideration for the lifestyle each property and area could offer.

The property on Chiswick Mall had instant appeal. Apart from meeting all the requirements, it had also been recently restored to a style that matched the client’s tastes. It was fate! A Grade 1 listed property, architecturally it was true to it’s period. It boasted eight bedrooms, an imposing central staircase, two excellent main reception rooms and extensive river views. It also presented the unique characteristics of a country residence while being only four miles from Central London.

The Negotiation

With a guide price of £16M, an initial bid of £12.5M was flatly refused but provided an opportunity to gauge the vendor’s approach to negotiations.

An increased bid of £13.1M was also rejected although by now it was clear the vendors expectations had started to move away from the guide price. A best and final offer of £13.5M was submitted along with exclusive terms to demonstrate the client’s commitment to purchase. The offer was quickly accepted.

Value Delivered

Unique properties such as this are often difficult to value accurately when there are limited or no direct market comparables. In most situations a new precedent is set, quite organically, through the negotiation stage. Using its knowledge of the area, the architecture of the property and current market conditions, Garrington was able to influence the vendor’s expectations on value and achieve a considerable saving for the client.

Inspiring the client by offering a wide array of property types early in the search was a critical factor in its successful outcome. The consultant’s ability to identify a property’s true value ultimately drove the negotiations.

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