Last month we wrote about the shortage of available property for sale under the £1million mark, and that still holds true today. In fact March could be measured by how similar it was to February, and therefore how we appear to have settled into a fairly stable marketplace after the highs of last spring and the relative lows of the festive season.

The budget left people feeling reasonably positive, with no particularly big news either way around the property market, but some good news on income tax and general feeling among us all that we’ve got a little more money to spend, despite the squeeze on public spending that is such a big talking point.

Next up of course is election season, which historically means that everyone holds off doing anything that isn’t absolutely urgent. This has an interesting, if temporary, effect on the property market, reducing the amount of property becoming available and the number of new people registering to buy. However, what that leaves us with is a concentrated bunch of single-minded buyers and sellers who are thoroughly committed to moving home. What this normally translates to is an increased willingness on both sides to come to an agreeable offer in as short a space of time as possible: homeowners know they have a smaller pool of buyers to choose from, and buyers know there won’t be much more coming to the market until after the general election.

We don’t really take much of a political stance on the outcome of the election as there is little evidence – other than very short term initial reactions – that anyone buying or selling an urban loft or unique living space will allow whatever party is in power to interfere with their moving plans. Our clientele is fundamentally made up of successful creative types or those in the financial world, both still thriving sectors in the London economy and – possibly more potent when it comes to our particular marketplace – driving factors in the capital’s identity.

So we anticipate a fairly drama-free few months ahead. If the lack of supply to date continues well beyond the election then a rise in achievable prices would be somewhat inevitable, although we are unlikely to see anything like the lift we saw a year ago. Obviously it’s impossible to accurately predict anything in the London property market – it makes a fool of anyone who tries to do so – but 2015 looks like a year of modest price increases and a relaxed positivity.



We’ve recently sold a number of properties without ever publicising them on either our website or any of the property portals. You might think that would limit the amount of enquiries, viewings, offers and even the eventual sale price, but not so.

Interestingly enough, not every homeowner wants the world and his wife – or indeed her (or his) husband – traipsing through the door. It’s not necessarily a big sell to say to someone that we have more registered buyers than anyone else, or get more enquiries than anyone else, or that we’ll have more viewings. In fact, many homeowners would rather have a quieter life, spending less of their time tidying up in case someone wants to take a look. They wouldn’t even mind having less offers to sift through; they are, after all, only going to sell to one person and having a more targeted approach to who comes round – and who may offer – is proving quite a hit.

We could never do this in a traditional marketplace or high street estate agency. The way regular estate agents compete with each other is through who’s got more of what; more buyers, more properties, more branches, more viewings. Book in three or four local agents to come round to your house and they’ll all be trying to outdo the other on the numbers front, with little or no difference between them in terms of the actual experience you’re likely to get. This isn’t a criticism; we’d undoubtedly do the same if we were in that marketplace. However, it isn’t the only way to market a property and, for anyone with a space outside the norm, it probably isn’t the best way either.

Trying to create an air of exclusivity around a typical terraced house in a street of ultimately identical homes would be a fairly pointless and fruitless affair. If we tried to keep the presence of such a property secret, buyers would simply go elsewhere, because the feeling of missing out would be considerably reduced when compared to nabbing that unique double-height loft in a converted Spitfire factory. And that’s the crucial difference.

So, how does off-market selling work? In short, it’s really a very simple matter of singling out the very best candidate(s) for a particular property. So rather than showing it for all the world to see and taking round anyone who phones up and wants to go (actually we never do that, but stay with us), we look in even finer detail about what it is that someone really, really wants and contact only those who match on every count. There is very little prospecting here: only those who fit the bill 100% get the call.

We can only do this because we take so much information from buyers in the first place; we’ve never operated a scattergun approach to marketing anyone’s home, but our off-market selling takes this honing down to the next level. What this has created is a sense of time well spent for buyers going out on viewings, a more relaxed experience for owners, and a feeling of exclusivity, excitement and even camaraderie between the two parties.

We’ll be doing more of it.