Spratts-factory
It’s hard to imagine a setting more serene or a loft lifestyle more archetypal than a converted factory on the banks of a leafy East End canal. From early morning coffee to sunset over the water, it’s a royally unruffled urban existence and a retreat from the daily grind.

This particular loft provides exactly that utopian dream: 1720ft2 of proper industrial space sitting on the banks of the Limehouse Cut and carved from a floor of the former Spratt’s Factory, the UK’s first tinned pet food production facility.

Original converted back in the 1990s, the apartment has been very recently brought right up to date by the current owner in a refurbishment that delivers some rather nice and unique touches, not least of which the use of old woodwork benches in the bathrooms as basin stands.

Spratts-bathroom

Elsewhere it’s a genuine loft in every sense, with high ceilings, big industrial windows (now double glazed), rugged oak floors, grit-blasted brickwork and newly exposed iron columns and beams (inexplicably covered up in the original conversion) painted in a rich velvety purple against an otherwise bright white paint job.

Spratts-living-room

As with all the best spaces, this one has a useful quirk. In anticipation of extended stays from a visiting Australian mother, a kind of studio-within-a-loft was created, giving extra privacy to guests or lodgers (with its own entrance along with kitchen and bathroom facilities) but that can easily function as part of the overall apartment. It’s an ingenious idea that delivers many possibilities for future owners.

The apartment is for sales at £1,225,000 and full details can be viewed here.

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Unique-Social-Media-Montage
The last few months have seen us really get going on our social media pages to reach out further to our likely audience but also to attract a wider public, perhaps people who are interested in homes and design but not necessarily looking to buy or sell a property.

This allows us an element of fun in our posts as the aim is not to directly sell something. Yes it’s about increasing the awareness of our brand, but in an entirely different way. Social media, as the term implies, is about being social, not about selling.

This gives us much more freedom in what to post, and to plunder our catalogue of photos built up over the years of selling and letting unique London property. In some ways it’s a real trip down memory lane, rediscovering the incredible houses and apartments we’ve worked on, and reliving the experiences of showing people round.

Our Instagram account of course is the perfect environment for pure property pleasure, whether for homes that are currently available or simply a bit of nostalgic voyeurism. Everyone loves to know how people decorate their homes and to find out what’s behind the doors of many of London’s converted factories, warehouses, schools and other repurposed buildings.

Our Facebook page is proving the perfect environment for alerting the world to what’s available to rent and buy right now and our posts are beginning to garner engagement, likes, shares and comments. We’re approaching 1,800 likes on our page and are committed to breaking through the 2,000 barrier by the end of September.

That just leaves our Twitter feed, and therein lies the challenge. We are keen to avoid being another one of the countless profiles where the only service provided is re-tweeting other people’s ideas. Or, worse, constant “aren’t we great?” tweets. Twitter, to us, should be about sharing unique and useful information and insights. That is what we are determined to offer.

We’re learning exactly what we have to say on a daily basis that is not simply an ego tweet (which – who knew? – most people aren’t so interested in), but that is informative and useful to anyone following us.

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sherlock-holmes
If you think the title of this blog is so blindingly obvious as to deem the article pointless, we encourage you to think again.

Yes, we have indeed been the recipients of an attempted dupe from somebody who instructed us to sell a property – after showing us around it themselves, no less – but who turns out not to be the owner, nor even be known to the people who are.

We discovered the news after receiving an ‘interesting’ phone call from lawyers acting for an owner who had discovered our photographers inside their property. What makes it even more interesting is that the building where all this happened has a concierge who not only gave the the keys to the person pretending to be the owner when showing us round, but also on a second occasion to our photographers. So it’s possible – although certainly not proven – that the imposter had an accomplice.

To anyone contemplating a similar move, we thought it might be nice to save you some time and to illuminate you on some procedural matters that prevent you simply selling any property you fancy and receiving the money from the sale.

1) Estate agents are now required to see proof of ownership and proof of identity (i.e. your passport) before commencing the marketing of a property. If you can’t show us that, we can’t market the property.

2) Conveyancers are also required to see proof of ownership and proof of identity in order to act for the owner in a sale. So your name will need to be on the title deeds at the land registry in order for the conveyancer to proceed. And if you say you are acting on the owner’s behalf, your conveyancer will require proof of power of attorney, alongside proof of identity of the actual owner. The conveyancer acting for the buyer will also want to see that.

3) You will need to look like the person on the passport. Better still, to be that person.

4), You will need to apply supply a bank account for the money to be transferred to and banks also require proof of identity to open accounts. You can’t just go into the solicitor’s office on completion with a couple of large suitcases and fill them with hard cash.

5) If your plan is to have the money paid into another person’s account, the conveyancer will also need proof of identity for that person in order to comply with money laundering regulations.

So you see, it is not like nicking someone’s shoes and selling them on eBay. And you will get found out.

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UMM-July-2016
It looks like the property market has woken up again after a brief Brexit power nap. To say this is welcome news would be something of an understatement as, in the first half of July, we found ourselves wondering whether it was curtains for the rest of the year.

But now the dust has settled on the Conservative party election and that it’s pretty clear that our withdrawal from the EU isn’t going to happen overnight or be a rushed affair, it appears that life is getting back to normal.

Of course the interest rate cut to 0.25% was a massive to boon to buyers, particularly in London where property is so expensive that any reduction in interest rates becomes even more meaningful than in most other parts of the country. We’d say there is a real opportunity there to borrow at a ridiculously low rate, particularly if that can be locked in for a number of years. Certainly savings are beginning to look like a wasted use of cash for the foreseeable future.

So life at Unique has been particularly busy in the last couple of weeks. We’ve been out to see much more property than we have in a while, and arranged far more viewings. The mood is very different to the end of June.

There are some hurdles. A lot of homeowners lost their buyer after the Brexit vote and many people registering with us to buy are at the same time trying to get a new sale on their existing property. And we’re likely going to have an undulating experience of reported property prices. With the figures always released a month after the fact, the news of price increases and falls is always behind the times, but often sparks a reaction.

For us, if prices were to come off slightly we’d see nothing wrong in that. The property market has been very favourable to owners over the last few years so a few percent off pre-Brexit values won’t make much of a dent in the equity built while prices were continually on the up.

We finally launched our new website in July to a universal chorus of approval. The user experience has been greatly improved, properties are better presented and the whole thing has a crisper, fresher feel. Do take a look.

That’s it for this month – see you at the end of August.

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New-Unique-website-photo
It’s been many months in the making with more tweaks and twists than we care to mention, but we can finally announce the launch of the brand new Unique Property Company website.

We’ve been working with the very talented MDS Group to bring about a sharp, fresh and modern transformation with massively improved user-friendliness, a beautiful slideshow of homepage imagery and greatly enhanced showcasing of the properties we handle.

Functional, simple and sexy is what we wanted and we think we’ve got it. We invite you to have a look around the site and we hope you like it as much as we do.

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