1 Initial Consultation
Whether clients are looking for a single property for personal use, or want to build up an entire buy to let portfolio of investment properties, we always start by arranging a one-to-one consultation with our clients, either in person or via Skype. During this initial consultation we assess the client’s personal circumstances in detail, find out exactly what their investment objectives are and build a thorough understanding of their requirements.
We also take them through exactly how we can help build their portfolio in London, map out a specific strategy for their own portfolio and answer any questions they may have.
Once we have established a client’s individual requirements we suggest current investments and/or specific areas that will most effectively maximise their investment goals.
2. Recommendation and/or Research
Through our extensive connections within London’s property industry we always have a range of investment opportunities available and will recommend the most appropriate ones that meet the client’s requirements. In the event that we do not have any current opportunities that fit the bill our London sourcing team will start a tailor-made search. Armed with the clients brief, our Sourcing Manager will research the opportunities in the areas identified, employ his broad network of property professionals and work tirelessly to source a number of suitable properties. Once these have been identified a comprehensive due diligence report is raised and if the findings adhere to our strict standards, the report is forwarded to the client along with detailed financial forecast, floor plans and independent rental and/or purchase comparable.
3. Property Tour
Having shortlisted between 3 and 5 properties we will arrange for the client to come over to London for a property tour. We accompany the clients on their viewings of the various opportunities, offering advice on the local area and amenities, pricing, rental values and yields. By offering the clients an objective and independent overview of the property and pricing they are able to make an informed buying decision.
Often in the case of pure investment purchases our client have no desire to travel to London to view the properties or are simply unable to do so due to business commitments. In these circumstances we provide detailed floor plans, internal and external photographs of the property and surrounding area to paint a comprehensive picture of the investment. We have even been known to conduct video tours during which a detailed walk-through of the property is filmed for the client’s benefit.
4. Negotiation And Offer To Purchase
Just like our clients, the team at Smuts & Taylor Ltd have identified London property as the investment class of choice for creating and preserving wealth, often purchasing in the exact same developments and/or areas we recommend to our clients.
Having a team of accomplished property investors doing their bidding for them, means our clients benefit from years of experience in successful property negotiations, allowing them to secure the right property, well below the asking price. The process of making an offer to purchase in the UK also differs greatly from that in South Africa and often clients are unaware of issues such as gazumping, sealed bids, paying non-refundable reservation fees to developers or even the expensive implications of buying a property with a short lease. As a result many who venture into the London market unaided end up losing substantial amounts of money.
With Smuts & Taylor Ltd taking care of all the technicalities, our clients can rest assure that they are receiving the best possible advice when putting forward an offer to purchase.
5. Overseeing The Purchase Process
For a South African investor who is inexperienced in the London market, one the greatest advantage of using Smuts & Taylor’s services is the instant access it provides to tried and tested trade contacts.
We assist our clients every step of the way from opening foreign bank accounts and moving money offshore to arranging mortgage finance through offshore institutions or private banks. We also manage the legal process throughout, working with leading solicitor firms who are well versed in dealing with property purchases by foreign investors. Working closely with these conveyancing professionals, lenders and other representatives who may be involved, we ensure the purchase progresses smoothly through to completion and handing over the keys.
6. Aftercare, Letting and Management
Post purchase, our dedicated Lettings and Management division takes over to assist with all the administrative tasks required to ready the property for occupation by the clients or prospective tenants.
This includes changing utilities and arranging for furniture, window treatments, EPC’s, gas safety certificates and any work that may be required.
In the case of buy-to-let investments we also have an in-house lettings service to ensure the property is rented successfully and to deal with the day to day management of our clients’ properties. This service has been established specifically to fill a growing need from our clients, who want experienced professionals to look after their investments and the peace of mind knowing that they can contact us directly in either SA or London.
Our complete management service take care of everything from paying the clients ground rent and services charges to collecting the rent and taking care of any maintenance issues.