Try before you buy? New trend sees would-be buyers in London being given 'test-drive' opportunities

Posted 13 March 2015 by Keith Osborne

A new trend is allowing some would-be buyers of property in London allowed to 'test out' a property before committing to a purchase...

Running away with itself a year ago amid tales of sealed bids and rival buyers eyeing each other at full-to-the-brim open-house viewings, the London property sales market has slowed in recent months.

At the top end, recent changes to stamp duty and concerns over whether the looming general election will bring with it a ‘mansion tax’ have led to a more cautious market.  

Remaining buoyant however, the London property market has seen a rise in lettings exchanges and, with ‘try before you buy’, a growing trend. Leading London property agents are seeing a growing number of sellers, who keen to achieve an income, place their properties on both the sales and lettings markets, with many open to allowing potential buyers let a property before deciding if they wish to commit to purchasing outright.

Susan Cohen, head of sales and lettings at Pastor Real Estate, says: “We have a delightful pied-à-terre at Clarges Mews which is the perfect solution for someone who wants to ‘try before they buy’ as it is available to purchase or to rent, we are beginning to see a growing trend of people renting specific homes or areas they wish to familiarise themselves with before committing to a purchase.”

Leading specialist in ultra-prime lettings, Mark Tunstall, founder of Tunstall Property London, adds: “The practice of ‘try before you buy’ is more prevalent with overseas purchasers who often look to rent a property before committing to a major financial investment. It is impossible to really get a feeling for an area without living or visiting there for a period of time and this, coupled with the increase in stamp duty which has made buying a property even more expensive, often leads overseas buyers to first rent a property to get to know a certain area, location or development before committing to a substantial investment in their property of choice."

Two examples of ‘try before you buy’ London homes

Pastor Real Estate’s luxury, interior-designed apartment in Clarges Mews, Mayfair, is a one-bedroom property available to let for £800 per week or to purchase for £1.5million. The 610-sq-ft apartment has been beautifully refurbished with wood flooring throughout, a high-quality fitted kitchen with granite worktop and integrated appliances, and a contemporary bathroom suite. The property is available to rent fully furnished, enabling the tenant to move straight in.


Russell Simpson is currently offering The Court House in Chelseaan historic 6,609-sq-ft conversion one of the oldest local courthouses in London into a luxurious mansion, available to rent at £10,000 per week or to buy for £14.5million. The main house boasts five en suite bedrooms and the grand master bedroom occupies the entire top floor, with his-and-hers en suite bathrooms, walk in wardrobes and private studies.


All images courtesy of:

6 August 2015
Zoe Matheson, office manager of Wooster & Stock in Sydenham, tells us about her working day as a London estate agent.Working in south London ...Read more
Interviews with the Experts
Deddington Grange (David Wilson Homes)
31 August 2017
More launches, offers and events from the new homes market around the UK to interest serious buyers of new build propertyRead more
Today's New Homes
Royal Park View (Cruden Homes)
17 August 2017
More launches, offers and events from the new homes market around the UK to interest serious buyers of new build propertyRead more
Today's New Homes

Click here to see your activities