Keep a cool head

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 March, 2007, 12:00am

Buyers looking at property in Britain should aim at being analytical and objective during a transaction.

Barry Lea, deputy regional chief executive of Lloyds TSB Bank, said a property search should be accompanied by a confirmation of the existence and strength of a secondary market for your chosen property, as this would determine resale potential.

The property type is also important. In London, low floor apartments with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and covered parking are popular. Developers and vendors dangled various carrots in front of would-be buyers, Mr Lea said. Incentives took many forms, such as rental guarantees, furnishing packages, discounts on legal fees, insurance and preferential mortgage terms. 'It pays to put all these incentives into perspective on the basis that nothing in business is free.'

Antony Fung, managing director at Antony Fung & Co International Property Advisers, said buyers should be sensible when viewing prices.

Reasonable prices now should be about GBP200,000 (HK$3.01 million) to GBP250,000 for one-bedroom flats, and GBP250,000 to GBP400,000 for two-bedroom flats, Mr Fung said. Paying too much would reduce the return and create difficulty in reselling at a profit.

Mr Lea said newbuilds had the advantage of generally being less demanding for maintenance. Glossy brochures are no guarantee of quality. Buyers should also check the track records of developers and vendors, and the quality of finish of their completed projects. 'Consult your solicitor to ensure adequate protection of any deposit or progress payments in case of failure of the project or the developer before completion.'

With conversions and refurbishments, look out for problems waiting to happen, such as areas painted over or covered with marble.