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How Using Expert Help Can Unlock Big Savings

Posted 26 November 2021 by Lizzie Leigh

Matt Turner, founder of boutique buying agency Astute Property Search discusses how expert help can unlock deep discounts in a frustrated market...

We hear from Matt Turner about the buzz of best bid scenarios that lead to securing a client’s dream home...


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

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 can offer a wealth of advice that can help our clients make informed decisions. During the process, all 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 who appreciate service and are used to paying for expertise and 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 (instead of an investment), 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 ex-pat couple currently living in Singapore. They had a very precise brief, which was that they wanted to live on one of four streets in “the Counties Estate” in Wanstead. 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 and in some cases struggling to secure property, resulting in them pulling out of their own sale and 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 John’s 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.


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.


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