4th January 2024

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Buying in London: The Prime London Property Buying Process

The process of buying a house in Prime Central London can understandably take buyers down a different path than a typical property purchase. With the help of a London buying agent, you can find a home that suits you and your family, or invest in Prime London property with healthy yields and capital gains.

When we say ‘Prime London’ property, we’re not always talking about a clearly defined geographic area or a specific price per square foot, but a combination of factors including location, price, and those more abstract qualities that make a property ‘desirable’.


Why Prime London?

The project of investing in property anywhere in London, or indeed across the country, is to spot opportunities that offer high demand and reliably high yields, along with a proven history of capital gains. A key difference straight away is that when the housing market elsewhere suffers, Prime London properties often hold their value due to consistent demand and high net worth among buyers.

Which areas are included?

Prime Central London stretches from the West End to the City, and includes some of the capital’s most desirable and trendy boroughs.

Some of the most established areas for Prime London property include:

  • Belgravia

  • Chelsea

  • Kensington

  • Knightsbridge

  • Mayfair

  • Notting Hill

Other parts of the city have earned ‘Prime’ status in recent decades due to modernisation and improvements to the built environment, including areas like Covent Garden, Earls Court and Marylebone.

Key differences between Prime London vs. rest of London

When you buy a property in Prime London, you’re making an investment that you know should hold its value over the long term. The area is likely to be well supplied with local amenities, with high average net worth among its residents.

Buying elsewhere in London has its own potential. You may be able to secure a better deal when making a cash purchase in a near-Prime postcode. Buying an unmodernised property may also be easier, allowing you to add value through refurbishment.


Settling on an area

Choosing an area is one of the first steps in the house buying process in London. At Black Brick we have a huge amount of experience looking after many different types of buyers. Some of our clients know London exceptionally well and know exactly where they want to buy. Other clients are less familiar, and searches can often start quite wide before becoming more focused. Whether you know exactly where you want to buy or are more open to be being led and guided by us, we have the best team of buying agents to help you succeed. 

If you’re buying a home for yourself, you likely have a good idea of your personal requirements. If you’re buying as an investment or to rent out, consider the main selling points of any typical property:

  • Amenities in the local area
  • Access to open space
  • Convenience for work
  • Good transport links
  • Nearby schools/nurseries

Think about the standard ‘shopping list’ any future tenant or buyer will have in mind, and look for an investment that ticks as many boxes as possible.


Using a buying agent vs. an estate agent

An estate agent ultimately acts on behalf of the seller and in most cases, their fee is based on a percentage of the final sales price of the property. A buying agent is wholly interested in getting the best result for the buyer, and as well as saving you valuable time and money, can often access properties which are off market and would otherwise be out of reach. At Black Brick, 50% of properties we sourced for our clients in 2023 were not being openly advertised. 

Avoid complications

Your buying agent should be on hand to resolve any complications, or at least to help you understand them. You’re unlikely to get that support from an estate agent, when you are the buyer and not the vendor.

Negotiate a better deal

Again, buying agents act on your behalf, so it’s in their interest to negotiate a better deal for you, rather than to push for the highest purchase price you’re willing to pay.

Advice, professionalism and expertise

Professional advice from a buying agent can help you to spot potential pitfalls in the house buying process in London, with easy-to-understand guidance like our Questions to Ask when Buying a House Checklist.

Access to off-market property

In some cases, your buying agent might know of properties that are not even on the open market. This can allow you to arrange a private sale without open-market competition, and you may secure a better deal in exchange for faster completion.


Buying process by property types

London property includes a wide variety of different property types, and even in Prime Central London locations, there is a good mix of houses, apartments, detached and terraced properties to choose from.

Some London property types to consider include:


Offering excellent yields and low maintenance, flats and apartments in Prime London locations are always in high demand. If you are buying for investment, it’s important to understand what the service charges are as this is a cost which is paid for by the Landlord and will therefore reduce your rental yield. 

Traditional townhouses

Townhouses, mews and terraces are highly sought after and can deliver substantial capital gains if you hold on to your investment until the housing market peaks. Unlike apartments there is no service charge but expect to have to pay for the upkeep and maintenance of your property. 

Old vs. new

Consider the age of the property. Older ‘period’ properties can have desirable characteristics and good potential to add value by modernising. New builds may be more energy efficient and therefore benefit from lower running costs and maintenance issues. 

Off plan

Buying new properties off plan (i.e. not yet completed) can give you a head start on the local market, with potential to negotiate a better price for an early purchase but beware of overpaying, and buying into developments which are high density. 

Renovation and modernisation requirements

Look for essential modernisation that could add to the total cost of a property, but also for opportunities to add value by renovating to a high standard.


Timeframe and additional costs

If you’re looking at buying a house in London the process might seem daunting, but the capital’s property market is fully mature, and with expert help there’s plenty of reason to feel confident about making an investment in Prime Central London. At Black Brick we help ensure all our clients have the very best team around them to help support the buying process. This includes specialists such as surveyors, valuers, conveyancing solicitor, lenders, tax specialists, architects, project managers and interior designers. 

How far to the finish line?

The timeframe for buying a property can vary from a few weeks for a cash purchase with no chain, to several months for more complex transactions. If you are adding a full refurbishment to that, the start to finish house buying process in London can take six months or more.

A good estate agent, buying agent and/or conveyancing solicitor will all help to reduce this timeframe, by taking into account all of the relevant issues upfront and reducing the risk of unexpected delays later.

Costs unique to Prime Central London

Different parts of the city create different expenses, and there are certain costs unique to Prime Central London locations. 

One of these is the Congestion Charge; while there is a 90% discount for residents who live within the Congestion Charge zone, the address must be your “main or permanent home” and the vehicle should be registered at that address.

You will be required to pay 100% of the Congestion Charge until your exemption is approved, and any future guests and couriers visiting your address may also have to pay.


Get a buying agent’s help

To find out more about any of the issues raised on this page or to benefit from a buying agent’s help in your Prime London property search, contact Black Brick today.

We’re ready when you are


We’re ready when you are

We would be delighted to hear from you to discuss your own property requirements. For a non-obligatory consultation, please contact us.

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