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Q&A: BUYING

CAMILLA DELL
MANAGING PARTNER
AT BLACK BRICK

Q. Dear Camilla, I am thinking about selling my property, but I am nervous about the upcoming general election and how this will affect the property market. Should I hold off until the election is over?

A. Actually, we think that the current market is an ideal scenario for anybody looking to sell. The market has been short on supply for best part of a year now, which has pushed properties in prime central London up 9 per cent.

On the demand-side, there are still huge numbers of people looking to buy houses in the capital – particularly foreign buyers, who are looking to invest and take advantage of the weak sterling and fall in the market.

If you are thinking of selling your property, you should capitalise on the current market dynamics now. We fundamentally believe it’s a good time to sell a property – but it’s also very important to price your property realistically. Properties with over ambitious asking prices will deter buyers but price sensibly – reasonable asking prices often attract multiple buyers and can sell for more than the original price.

Q. Dear Camilla, I am thinking about selling my property. It’s a top-end property in a prime location and I am wondering if I should sell it “off market”. What are the advantages and potential pitfalls of going down this route?

A. The most common reason that people will choose to sell off market is because the underlying seller wishes to protect his identity, perhaps because of money issues or divorce, or perhaps because he is high profile and only wants vetted buyers in through the door.

The advantage of taking this route is that you are far less likely to have time wasters. Also, thanks to the perceived cachet of selling off market, such a strategy can also entice prospective buyers to make an offer more readily, or even exceed the asking price. However, you will probably get fewer viewings and it will take longer to sell the property. Buyers may also think that there is less competition and will negotiate harder.

If you are selling a property at the top end of the market (more than £10m) then an off market route may still be best. Choice of agent is crucial and you need to plan out a careful selling strategy with them.

If you don’t need to protect your identity, then it is probably more effective to market the property using a good agent. Initially, it is best to choose just one agent. If they struggle then you can consider instructing others. But be careful not to overexpose the property.

Camilla Dell is the managing partner at search and acquisition consultancy Black Brick. www.black-brick.com.