1. Start broad, research the areas, choose one or two and focus on those
It's like going to work without planning your day. You try working on several things and achieve little. Time slips away and before you realise, its lunchtime and you’ve started lots of things but finished none.
It's the same if you are buying a London property. If you spend too much time switching from one area to the next, it becomes confusing and not to mention time consuming. Six months pass, the market has risen and you're more undecided than when you started.
If you don’t know which areas you like or want to invest in, spend a couple of weeks researching the areas, but dedicate a limited period of time to this. Ideally, try and look at a few properties in the areas under consideration just for research purposes. This is best done over one or two trips, seeing two or three properties in each area. This will give you a clear idea of what you are looking for.
2. Find a trustworthy property lawyer
Having a good London based lawyer to act for you on the transaction not only strengthens your chances of securing a property in negotiations, but it can also be the difference between you exchanging contracts and not.
In the current market, the sooner you can exchange contracts, the better. Eager sellers are too tempted to accept another offer if, three months after the sale was agreed, you still haven’t exchanged contracts and they see the market rising.
Although this can be due to the sellers side as much as the buyer’s side, having a speedy and responsive property lawyer will lessen your chances of this happening.
3. Find a reputable RICS surveyor.
Whether you are buying a house or an apartment, the role of your surveyor is equally important. Similar to property lawyers, some surveyors are far better than others. A good surveyor will go into more depth of a property's condition highlighting any defects or structural issues.
Buying property, often more than a century old, you need seasoned advice, not a pro-forma ‘copy and paste’ PDF.