The monthly magazine providing news analysis and professional research for the discerning private investor/landlord

Evaluating Property Deals

West London based property developer Louise Wheeler offers her opinion on the due diligence that investors need to consider when evaluating the potential for profitable property projects

I am often asked just how do I find properties with considerable renovation or development potential. The answer is that there is no simple answer! During my many years as an investor, builder and property developer, I have used a variety of strategies to find deals with varying degrees of success.

I have spent much time and effort in order to purchased deals from agents, from auctions, from vendors responding directly to my adverts, and used leaflets, car stickers or sourced from enquiries via my website.

I also pay a fee  to get daily email alerts from a website which  searches for new properties on the big portals that have words such as ‘renovation, extension, modernisation, potential etc’ in their listings for the locations in the UK that I have selected. I have also met many investors at networking meetings who have found deals but were unsure what to do with them, or who could not raise the finance to complete. My name was also given by a family friend to a neighbour who was in financial difficulty and I ended up buying their house. It’s amazing how deals come to you, once you make it known what you do, you will gradually gain a reputation of being a reliable buyer, but only when you have been in the market for a while.

Without a doubt, buying from estate agents can often be the cheapest way, but is it the easiest? There are a number of rules when you are building up relationships with agents that should always be adhered to. Visiting and calling the agent on a regular basis, making sure you do not exaggerate your financial position and never, ever renege on a deal once agreed. These are just some of the all important rules that you need to adopt if you want to be taken seriously by your local agents. Patience definitely is a virtue as far as agents are concerned. If you call into an agent once, give them your card and ask the spikey haired youth at the front desk to “give me a call if you get anything interesting”, I can tell you your card is very likely to be quickly ‘filed in the bin’.

Persistence, politeness, give them clarity in what you are looking for and making sure the agent knows that you respect them and that they are the expert and that you need their help. These are all tips that will help you build a rapport. There is of course no substitution for ‘social proof’. Once you have successfully purchased one dealfrom an agent, and you have proved you can ‘put your money where your mouth is; well that’s generally when things can start to take off with an agent relationship.

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