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 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.


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.