Children’s Apartment – Case Study

Our Client had worked with us on many occasions before and was an overseas investor who normally bought property to develop in some way to add value before resale. 

On this occasion he was looking for a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom flat for his son who was coming to England to study at Imperial College in London.  He wanted a flat which his wife would approve of, so in good condition, to which he could add value and very close to the university so that his son could walk to lectures.

As this was his son’s first time away from home and in a foreign country, our Client was concerned about security and it became clear that a block of flats with a porter would be an advantage.  The son was a keen sportsman and had been Captain of the Athletics team whilst at school so the family thought being close to the park would be a good idea. 

There was also an element of speed required as the son was due to startuniversity within a month of our instruction.

We discovered where the son would attend most lectures and agreed a radius of a mile from the main university campus although the family felt the closer the apartment was to the university, the better.

Imperial College is situated in South Kensington, a smart area situated between Kensington and Kensington Gardens to the north and Chelsea to the south.  In view of the requirement to be close to the park, we concentrated our efforts on the Kensington area. We were concerned that many of the apartments available at the time wouldn’t meet with the Mother’s approval as there were few which had smart communal areas.  Then we found a few flats in a popular portered block which had just had the communal parts renovated and which looked like they might work. One was on the lower ground floor in fabulous condition.  Another was on an upper floor with views but we felt it was expensive for what it was.

Fortunately just before the Clients came to the UK, we heard of a third option.  It wasn’t on the market yet but the owner’s circumstances had changed and they needed a quick sale.  It was in dated decorative condition and really needed a fresh coat of paint and a new bathroom and kitchen but the layout worked well and we thought that if we could organise a deal quickly, then the work could be done in time for the start of term.  We sent the video off to our Clients and waited for their reaction.  By this time, we had sent them rather a lot of videos and details, so they were well-informed about what was on the market.  They responded quickly and we agreed we would show them this particular flat first and then view other things.  We also did a little research so that we had a good idea of what price might be acceptable to the owner.

When we showed our Clients, they could easily see the potential.  We had already obtained quotes for the work required and discussed offers with the owner’s representative so we made a quick call and a deal was agreed at 15% less than the price the owner wanted on the basis that our Clients exchanged contracts within a week and paid in full within two weeks.  We had already obtained quotes and allowed time for an appointment with lawyers at the end of the day for our Clients so we discussed the quotes and credentials of each lawyer and made a call to the lawyer our Clients selected to arrange to meet them later that day and to ensure they started work immediately.

In the meantime, we carried on with our other viewings.  Our Clients liked many of the other properties we showed them but they were very excited about the flat they had agreed to buy in Albert Court and so over lunch, they decided not to continue with any other viewings.  The son wanted to go to Imperial to start getting things together for registration so we dropped the father and son at the university and we took the Mother to a bathroom shop and kitchen wholesaler to choose a kitchen and two bathrooms.  The location deserved a premium finish so we had also brought along some stone samples from which she was able to select floor and wall coverings.

The next day the family were able to choose and order the furniture for their new flat, before flying home again to pack up their son’s things ready for his university life in London.  Fortunately the vendors papers were all in order and the lawyers were able to work quicker than expected.  On the day of completion, we collected the keys and met the builders on site.  Within a couple of hours the old kitchen and bathroom and carpets had been ripped out and the flat was being prepared for the new fixtures and fittings.  Two weeks later, it had been freshly painted throughout, the large family bathroom had been divided into one en-suite shower room and one bathroom and there was a brand new kitchen too.

We met the family again the next day and welcomed them to their new flat.  We provided a map and information about the easiest ways to get from one place to another as well as suggesting a bank manager, doctors, dentists, supermarkets etc.  We had also changed all the bills into the name of the new owners and arranged for bills to be sent directly to the parents.  We asked an Estate Agent to value the flat following the work and the investment had worked with the flat already valued at just over 25% more than the purchase price.

It was a very busy month for us, but our work meant that the father had acquired a new investment which had already jumped in value, the mother felt secure that her son would be safe in his new home and that it was in good condition and the son was happy to be living across the road from a park, 5 minutes walk from the university and close to everything else that he might need.