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Remember Jim’ll Fix It? He fixed it for me!

When I was young I used to watchthe Jim’ll Fix It TV show on Saturday nights. The show was about turning dreams into reality for children all around the UK. I remember his funky red armchair with gadgets inside. As a child I always fancied the idea of having Jim ‘fix’ something for me (and also always fancied the idea of meeting Superman!)

Decades later I have changed. I no longer have any desire to meet superman, I’m now obsessed with property, and property deals. So you’ll understand my surprise when after all this time, so many years after I had forgotten about the Jim’ll Fix It show, perhaps in     a way Jim did ‘fix it’ for me, as, we ended up purchasing his pad in London. And for a good price.

Jim died last year in October 2011 at the ripe age of 84 years. He had a rich life including running 200 marathons, raising money for various causes and all sorts of other things.

He had a gold casket which was placed at a 45 degree angle facing the sea along with some of his cigars and medals placed inside it. The casket was concreted to prevent it being raided by thieves.

His property came on the market as a probate sale. We came across it and managed to secure the property for our client at £325,000. The property is worth between £390,000 and £425,000. We are planning on selling it on, due to the cheap price of the property in relation to its location it will sell quickly on the open market.

The entrance has the grand look of a 5 star hotel, this is an ideal pied a terre. Many properties for sale are described in this way, but actually few are. Most are just dingy studios with strong locations. This one is in Park Crescent, facing Regent’s Park, and it has the wow factor.

It took a ridiculous amount of time to close this sale, as the managing agents required guarantees regarding the service charges. It would have been easier to provide the funds and hold them considering the time it took to get the guarantees. But this is the way they work and so we had to dance to their tune.

It is often difficult purchasing probate properties as there is always the risk of someone coming in and offering a few thousand pounds more and thus scarpering the deal and months of hard work. Luckily we managed to hold things together. We were ready to exchange about three months ago, the delay was simply as mentioned, giving the management company guarantees regarding the service charges. From one angle the property was rising in value due to the time taken to exchange, from another angle the danger is never far as the door is open for someone to come in and snatch the deal.

Looking at the recent auction at Savills it seems prime London Lots are going for top money. The auctioneer commented “that London Lots in general were steamy”, for example a flat in Fulham sold for £705,000, well above its guide of £495,000.

Last week we were looking to purchase a couple of Lots in Maida Vale, they went way above what they should have. We went in hoping to secure a one bedroom in Maida Vale which was guided at £250,000, it ended up going for £330,000. Another property we were after was a two bedroom with potential to convert into a three bedroom. This property was guided at £300,000 and ended  up going for £410,000. This is what happens when you allow too many end users into the auction room. Decent property folk are robbed of the opportunity of making money from the auction room! It should remain the sanctuary of investors, with a strict entrance policy which disallows first time buyers and end users entering the room!

The game has changed, and auctions by nature are a very hit and miss game.

Consider for example the last Allsops auction. The room was half empty, and three Lots we had put in didn’t sell. One sold after the auction, another sold for higher than the reserve a month later, and the other we now have people biting our fingers off for it.

They were prime auction Lots in Shepards Bush, Kensal Rise and W2, so why did they not sell at the auction? I’ve put the reason down to bad timing: a combination of the jubilee celebrations, the coming of Olympics and the summer holidays.

Given the interest in prime stock this Park Crescent property may be a good one to stick into the auction – of course at the right time.

Suresh Vagjiani

Managing Director

Sow & Reap

A Property Investment Company

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!Tips of the Week

Purchasing property is not a get rich quick scheme, it is a solid investment which will rise steadily into the future. If it was a get rich quick scheme it could just as easily go the other way.

An investment property should be bought with hard numbers and due diligence, not the same criteria you would use when buying your own home, this would be anemotional and lifestyle purchase.

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