A Golden Age For Con Artists
We live in the golden age of information.
If you want to find out a fact, you just whip out your mobile and google your question.
It couldn’t be easier which is why this is also a golden age for con men.
I was reading a business book at the weekend, which had the following quote from William Shakespeare:
“The Golden Age is before us, not behind us”.
This is a sentiment I happen to agree with and because I thought I might use it myself and have a degree in English, I was intrigued to find out which play or sonnet this came from as it didn’t ring any bells. So, I looked it up on google and a quick scan of the first page seemed to show that it was Shakespeare.
BUT, not one of the links gave the source, i.e. the play, letter or sonnet, that the quotation came from. This set alarm bells ringing because the source is nearly always mentioned when Shakespeare is involved.
Yet, here were dozens of sites confirming that old William had written it.
So, I kept on digging and after a while it appeared that a French philosopher said it in the 1700’s, but I couldn’t be bothered to waste any more time verifying this. However, I am now fairly confident that Shakespeare never said “The Golden Age is before us, not behind us”.
But this is the danger of the information age we live in. It is very easy to get information which lulls people into a false sense of security and knowledge: unfortunately, if something is written in a book, a newspaper or the internet, we believe it to be true. Especially if we read the same fact from two different sources.
But as the above shows, people only do very basic research, i.e. the first few links on google normally, so it is very easy for a lie to be treated as fact and then become conventional wisdom as more links/sources reiterate the same falsehood. This becomes even more dangerous when you consider that hundreds of millions of people rely on their facebook and twitter feeds for news.
Facebook’s algorithm actually works out what news and news sources you prefer and feeds them to you, thus excluding other opinions. They do this because they want you to like what you read, so that you stay on the site for longer…
So, although there is more information than ever before, it is often less easy to verify the quality and veracity of the “facts”.
You want to bear this in mind when doing your research on London property. Most of what you will read in the newspapers is too general to be of any use and is often downright inaccurate or merely opinion pieces from people who have no track record in property (even f they have impressive credentials).
There is no substitute for undertaking massive due diligence. You need to be speaking to all the estate agents in your target area. Just speaking to 10 or 15 agents on a weekly basis is nowhere near enough – there are over 200 estate agencies in prime central London.
You also need to be viewing all the properties that vaguely meet your requirements – even if you know they are not quite right – to help you build a frame of reference for valuations.
If you don’t do this, then it will be very easy for even a semi-skilled estate agent to justify a high price for a property and fool you into overpaying. You must keep in mind that the estate agents are paid by their clients, the sellers, and are legally obliged to achieve the highest price possible. They are not allowed to lie, although unfortunately some do, but they only have a vague duty of care to you, the buyer.
And whatever your budget, it is likely to be a significant sum of money to you. Even if it isn’t, I doubt you want to overpay for a property or discover that you could have bought a better property just around the corner for less.
But this is what happens day in and day out. In fact, it is why I founded Mercury Homesearch in 2001 – I got fed up with the advice and service I was receiving from estate agents, not to mention the lack of quality information.
So, please ensure that you take the time to do in depth research otherwise you will just get the same result as the masses who overpay and/or whose properties underperform the market.
Good luck and if you have any questions or concerns about acquiring a property in London or require any information on the market, simply email my assistant, Veronika, at [email protected] or call 02034578855 (+442034578855 from outside the U.K.).
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Who am I and why should you listen to me?
My name is Jeremy McGivern. I am the founder of Mercury Homesearch, the internationally renowned property search consultancy, and author of The Insider’s Guide To Acquiring Luxury Property in Prime Central London. I have been acquiring property in prime central London for clients for over 13 years.
Having physically viewed over 22,000 properties in prime central London, studied the details of over 153,400 apartments, houses and investment opportunities and spoken to 232+ estate agents every week for over a decade, my advice is in high demand and has featured everywhere from Bloomberg Television, The Financial Times and The Daily Telegraph to Forbes India and Bahrain Confidential.
Please note that the strategies and techniques revealed in the book and CD’s are not just theory. They have been tested and proven over 13 years of acquiring hundreds of millions of pounds worth of prime London
property for my clients, who include some of the world’s wealthiest families and most successful entrepreneurs and business people - it may surprise you but over 30% of our clients are British and based in London so this information is relevant whether you have bought a property in London before or not.
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Good luck finding your ideal home in London.