Gone are the days when you could profit from a development and move up the property ladder by simply “tarting up the kitchen and the bathroom”, according to Lurot Brand’s General Manager, James Robinson.

Lurot Brand property developers

Increases in Stamp Duty combined with a cooling market make it unlikely that you’ll earn enough tax-free profit from your sale to stretch to the costly four-bedder you’ve set your heart on. So what’s James’ solution? Look beyond the obvious, and get creative.

Whether you’re selling your home or letting your property, the message is the same: these days to be successful as a property developer you need to take a lateral view (even if it does take a sledgehammer and a chainsaw to reveal your home’s potential). According to James, “opening lost space in corridors into usable and more valuable living space, knocking flats back together, extending into gardens, or improving access can all enhance your chances.”

You may find these home selling tips difficult to hear if you’ve just bought a property and are planning improvements that are purely cosmetic, but James’ advice is based on deep knowledge of the London property market. His particular specialism is mews houses, a type of property that is probably more frequently and extensively developed than any other kind of London dwelling (despite the fact that many mews houses are located in conservation areas with strict planning rules).

Other ‘lateral’ development methods advocated by James include buying a property with a short lease, particularly if you intend to rent it out. Mortgage companies can be reluctant to offer finance so you’ll need a larger deposit, but if the owner can’t be bothered to extend the lease, you could grab yourself a bargain. James claims that “One of the best things about them is that, in the short term, a short lease property will yield a spectacular rent compared with its purchase value.” He suggests another way of adding value is to apply for change of use: for example, converting a business premises to residential use.

James Robinson and the team at Lurot Brand regularly help owners achieve the best possible sale price and as London letting agents they can also advise landlords on how to present and market a mews property to attract the highest possible rental return. James insists that every London mews property - provided it is properly developed and marketed - has the potential to increase its value, so contact Lurot Brand today to discuss your development plans or to explore London mews properties with scope for an exciting development.

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