Thinking of buying a London property for investment, for self-use or for your children while they study? Or do you already own a UK property and need property management services or want a new letting agent? Jordan and Lucy, two ex-Singapore expats, set up Edwards & Plumb to help international clients find, purchase and manage their property investments and homes.
We talk to them about their company, plus what you need to know about buying and managing a London property in 2024.
London property management and investment property in the UK
Hi Jordan and Lucy! Tell us a bit about Edwards & Plumb Property.
We are a husband-and-wife team based in Southeast London. The concept behind the business came when we were living in Singapore, with many people asking us to find them secondary market homes and investment properties whilst working in the corporate sector. We found a gap in the market as most international buyers only have access to new build or off-plan properties. In addition, we also let and manage those properties that have been purchased for UK property investment.
How do you help people interested in buying or managing UK or London property?
We start by understanding the objective of purchasing a property. Is it for investment? Or is it for personal use? Each transaction is very different and we work with clients to understand their priorities and needs. An example of this could be buying property for self-use – for example, a son or daughter who is studying in London. Often, we find parents who are paying extremely high rents decide that it’s more cost-effective to purchase a UK property and have the stability and the benefit of self-use. In the long term, this property could also turn into an investment producing a rental income. Another example could be a family wishing to relocate to the UK in the future.
In both instances, we would factor in their priorities, which may include specific locations for education, transport links, access to amenities and a safe neighbourhood. Unlike a high street estate agent, we have a vested interest in what the client purchases rather than promoting properties that don’t necessarily fit their profile.
What are the challenges and mistakes made when buying London property from abroad?
The three main challenges people face are:
- Only having access to new build/off-plan properties
- Buyers underestimating the time and energy to purchase and manage a property
- Lack of transparency, independent advice and lack of choice
When it comes to London property sold in the international market, 99% of it is off-plan. Typically, these properties are sold at seminars and road shows by agencies that get paid high commissions. If you’re buying pre-existing property, then it’s extremely hard to find someone who can invest the time and has knowledge, along with honesty and transparency. Travelling to the UK is simply not practical from a cost and time point of view and many buyers won’t find a suitable property in a short timeframe.
With property management, the most common mistake investors make is being driven by price. Many investors prefer to pay less and are hit with hidden costs further down the road. Typically, high street agents have high volumes of properties and high turnover of staff, resulting in low levels of service.
What would you say is your point of difference?
Many buyers we have worked with have previously been overwhelmed by legislation, hidden costs and agency fees. We value transparency and integrity, and we work for the buyer, not the seller, when purchasing a UK property for investment or self-use. Also, we have access to the open market, allowing us to find the right property and negotiate the best possible price. We collaborate exclusively with international clients mainly based in Singapore, Hong Kong, the Middle East and Europe. Having lived in Singapore for many years, we understand the importance of having someone on the ground to provide expert advice and local knowledge.
Three major differences between us and your typical high street agent:
- We are paid by our clients, which means we have a vested interest in what they are purchasing.
- We have extensive local knowledge and a proven track record of helping many international clients find, purchase and manage their properties in London with the added personal touch.
- We understand the complexity of owning a property whilst living overseas. This is why we focus on having a limited number of properties/clients on our books at one time. It allows us to offer a high level of service.
If someone wants to buy a London property, what’s the process?
- Consultation – to fully understand the buyer’s needs and requirements
- Onboarding – ID checks, contracts between client and agent, deposit payment
- Sourcing – finding suitable properties within the criteria list and following market analysis
- Initial viewings – evaluating the properties that are of most interest
- Negotiating – providing advice on price, options for negotiating, condition of the property, and any renovation required
- Making an offer – working with the seller/agent to submit a formal offer
- Concluding – post acceptance, working alongside the mortgage broker, solicitor, tax advisors and surveyors for a smooth and hassle-free transaction
- Completion – successful purchase, key collection and ongoing management where applicable
What are your fees?
Buying a London property usually comes with a price tag exceeding GBP 500,000. Our fees are simple:
- for purchases up to GBP 2 million = 2% of the overall purchase price.
- for purchases over GBP 2 million = 1% of the overall purchase price.
All fees are paid upon completion of a successful transaction, with a nominal upfront fee to start the process of finding your property.
Our London letting and property management services focus on long-term rentals with fees starting from 12.5% plus VAT, with no additional fees for the renewal of tenancy agreements, additional property visits, inventory checks and so on. We do not specialise in Airbnb or short-term rentals, and we work hard to find tenants that are committed to long-term contracts.
What areas of the UK do you cover?
London and the Southeast, including Kent and Surrey. We can find properties in other parts of the country, but London is our focus. However, if a client is looking for a UK property in a specific area outside of London, we’re happy to have an initial chat. We’ll see if we can provide our expertise as we do collaborate with partners around the country.
The next step towards your London property investment
Contact Edwards & Plumb for a chat about how they can help make your London property investment journey a seamless one – from negotiating, sourcing and securing properties on your behalf, to providing London property management services and estate agency services.
Looking for more property tips, both in Singapore and abroad? Visit our Property section.