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Dubai: Victoria Garrett, from the UK, is married to Rob and they have one toddler son, Orlando.  Victoria was a specialist estate agent dealing in high-valued properties for Knight Frank in London and now continues to work for Knight Frank in Dubai.

Seashells On The Palm and Knight Frank are not responsible for any purchases made as a result of this article.  These are just fun tips and advice, and facts to consider when purchasing a property at the discretion of the buyer.

Bringing the London Market to Dubai

London –  a city that inspires and dazzles as much as Dubai in many people’s imagination.    With its history and heritage, neatly juxtaposed alongside the extreme modernity and cutting edge of the City of London- with new developments on the horizon, alongside signature projects and residential districts such as The Shard, Battersea Power Station and King’s Cross on the horizon, it can often be a complex riddle to solve in where to live, not least where to invest in the London property market.

I have been a specialist in Chelsea, South Kensington and Knightsbridge homes in what is regarded the Super Prime bracket (£6m +) for Knight Frank for the last few years.   I have however been a property agent and personal investor for over a decade – with experience from Richmond to Battersea and beyond.   My home turf remains Battersea, but I have always professionally been attracted back North of the River to Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham boroughs.   I now find myself in Dubai – a new and exciting chapter in my personal life and property experience.

I have always personally been a fan of Victorian houses, but having recently bought and renovated an Edwardian house myself; there is plenty of opportunity to draw value from the authenticity and heritage of many London homes, spanning different periods.    London is essentially a City containing small villages, many of which form the popular High Street destinations of today’s urban sprawl, and I would say it is always a good move to be close to one of these destinations – be it the ever popular King’s Road, Northcote Road, Wimbledon Village High Street, Marylebone High Street, Hampstead High Road, Portobello Road or more up and coming and edgy High Streets of East London’s bohemian districts such as Hoxton, Shoreditch and Walthamstow even.

But with the influx of signature developments there will also be good investments to be had in areas without natural village High Street feel.    It is important to think about transport links, proximity to green spaces or the River Thames, which is eternally popular, and along the banks of which many of the best modern developments, both in design and investment return are to be found.

Buying in the London market needn’t be a minefield, but it does take effort.    The Estate Agents are employed to advise the seller, unlike Dubai, and it can take serious legwork exploring houses just in one district even.    A buying agent such as The Buying Solution, Prime Purchase, Property Vision can help, but also in some key markets such as Chelsea and Belgravia, individuals with extremely strong networks can be the key to getting into the right house, at the right time.    Some of the best houses don’t even make it onto the open market, so the percentage paid for this service is well worth the return, as prices continue to rise in strong areas by upwards of 9%.

It isn’t always necessary in this market to do extensive renovations, but it is another way to add value.      To that end, look for roof or garden access to be able to extend, as the vogue for basement living is going to be shortlived if the increasingly concerned planning authorities have their way as is the case in Kensington and Chelsea.     Besides, being closer to the sky means light – which would probably be my number one watchword in a City where for three months of the year it is dark very early in the day!

Tags: Knight Frank Dubai, Property in Chelsea, Property purchases in London, Victoria Garrett

Sunday, March 02, 2014