Monday, 25 August 2014


Let's go a little more in depth.

Getting the current property took approximately a year of research and hunting.

That involves trawling though auction catalogues (or dealing with "dodgy" agents -but that is another post- ) and focusing on some highlights to "do the homework"

- transport links ( I will never look at anything further then 10mn walk to an underground/overground station)

- looking into the legal pack to make sure no surprises there of course.  (There may be building restrictions )

-sq ft price of the sold comparable properties nearby (zoopla and right move ) check averages of all comparables  (at least 10)

- checking planning history on the council website and estimating potential extensions /conversion potential in terms of planning approval. (That estimation is one of the hardest bits... Very hard to second guess these people - and the possibility to add some 200 sq ft area into the garden can make or break a project when the sq ft resale value is at the 1000gbp (that's 200k straight off your resale value)

- viewings (sometimes you will arrive to join a crowd gathering in front of a property. Prams. Dodgy drug lords looking types. And of course builders etc.... Am not exaggerating I should dig out a photo really!  )

- checking structure issues and estimating repair bills

- do "maths";  estimate the refurbishment cost and include other costs like stamp duty etc. Take the estimated resale value based on the sq ft price of comparables, do a best case and worst case scenario. And determine a top price. Basically what you should be ready to pay on the day.

-finally walking around the area day time and night time .... How does it feel like ? Have you got a couple of trendy coffee shops already on the high street or is it all fish and chips and betting shops? (Basically are there early signs of gentrification. That's the bottom line of any " upcoming area" ) .... Check the walk to the station. The walk there may be through some seriously unwelcoming council estate. Would a potential buyer like that? Does it fit the target purchaser you have in mind?

Overall over the year I would say in depth research was done on approx 25 properties ... Clapham, Crystal palace, Peckham, Forest Gate, Forest Hill, Brockley, Camberwell (will tell you about the Camberwell garage in another post... We made news there!) Walthamstow, Bow Stratford..... I could go on. But really mostly around the "new" east London line.

... That's 25 properties where as an architect, you can't help but imagine and " dream" about what the potential is.
What can be done and some special ways of extending and gaining extra sq ft.

And of course sometimes the bidding will just fly by the "top price" which took all that research.....

And you do wonder how have they done their maths? 

Other times, you will battle it out with the last opponent and you may push your top price by another 10k .... 20k 30k ... but reason prevails and you let go...  that instant the hammer falls and the other bidder has it. 

One of the key rules is "don't fall in love" ....but sometimes i have to admit. I am a bit of a softy and it still hurts to see a beauty run away with a another stranger.

Below... Some research notes on a property I still regret!