Dalham London in Detail:
Property Handover


In the latest of a series of interviews with Dalham’s London expert team, Property Care Manager, Ruby Jokun, discusses the intricacies of prime property handovers in London and how Dalham London ensures a seamless transition for new owners.

When Dalham is appointed to manage a recently purchased property, how do you assist clients with that handover from the developer’s side?


If it’s a developer handover, Dalham would normally have an existing relationship with that developer. Our teams work in preparation for the handover, ensuring all the required documents are requested—owner’s manuals, insurance certificates, warranties—to ensure a seamless handover.

Is that process different if it’s an individual seller rather than a developer?


The process with an individual seller is slightly different because these are predominantly properties that have been occupied previously, as opposed to a new home developments.

We take the same approach on both cases as the objective is to obtain all necessary documentation and as much historical information as possible. That normally relates to past works, any warranties or service contracts in place, and following a review seeing where we can inherit or enhance those contracts to keep continuity in the servicing of the property.

How does Dalham ensure that the transition is a smooth one for a new owner.


It all comes down to making sure you have the right documentation and address the right areas from the offset. There is always a certain level of excitement as a new purchaser to receive a new property and focus is normally more towards design and furnishing with the mechanical running and operational systems normally overlooked. Dalham focuses on the less glamorous side upon initial appointment to ensure we have a strong technical understanding of the property while also assisting with families with the more joyful parts of owning a property.

Is the Dalham Property Handover service included in your Vacant Property Management offering?


When we onboard clients, we like to do so fully. We offer multiple services, but they’re restricted to properties or clients within the portfolio, which creates fairness across the business. A handover service is normally done during onboarding. Ideally, we like to be appointed from the offset, but we do have scenarios where we inherit from existing property managers.

What are the key aspects of a property that Dalham focuses on during the handover inspection?


The key element is understanding how the property functions, from the mechanics and operating systems, through to the utility systems. Dalham spends a lot of time focusing on these key areas while also assessing the maintenance history of the property.

How do you ensure that you understand the complete history of a property?


With older Victorian properties or more traditional London residences, historic data is very important because the most knowledge you can gain on a property is from its existing or previous owner. While we might face circumstances where sellers are hesitant to hand over information, by asking the right questions and looking at who has worked on the property historically, we can save time and fill in gaps when we onboard the property. This provides the continuity and information that us and our clients require.

How does Dalham handle the transfer of warranties and insurance to ensure the new owner is adequately protected from day one?


People take for granted the age of appliances, particularly in new build properties. However, a lot of these appliances are purchased quite early prior to completion so the warranty is normally from the time the appliances were purchased, not from when they were installed within the property. Dalham meticulously understands when these units were purchased and directly contacts all suppliers to ensure the appliances are re-registered under the new owner’s details. We also validate servicing because if you don’t service regularly, it invalidates them. Dalham always looks to see how we can prolong the lifespan of appliances and mechanical systems. Regular preventive maintenance is critical.

Similarly, tell us about the process for setting up and managing utilities in a property and addressing historical bills.


Understanding who the utility suppliers are across all properties is important. Dalham assess this based on the information initially from the current or previous owners and then cross-checks by contacting the providers to ensure all communication and billing is updated and directed to care of Dalham. This ensures bills are addressed promptly to avoid unnecessary disturbances, overdue payments, or legal issues.

What sets Dalham’s Vacant Property Management service apart from other management companies when it comes to preparing a new property for occupation?


We always take a long-term view and approach. We’re committed and determined to onboarding the property correctly, as the more work undertaken at the offset, the smoother things are for the clients and our team. The initial onboarding work is considerable and requires a detailed approach and its less commonly undertaking by traditional estate agents as this is more an owner’s responsibility. However, at Dalham London we assume this work from the owners as household managers we see the value in a detailed approach to mitigate future risks. 

What mechanical and operating systems do you focus on in a property?


Mechanical operating systems depend on the type of the property. A standard London property may have one or two operating systems. But super prime residences have a huge range of smart home technologies and integrated software.  They’re complex with a lot of moving parts. If we’re brought in prior to completion, we assist the surveyors in detailing this to ensure we understand what has been installed and where needed we will bring in our own specialists to go through the systems to determine their configuration and operating functions.

In these newer properties with a lot of integrated technology, how much of a consideration and how much work goes into managing those systems?


As much as these technology subsystems provide ease and comfort of living, when things go wrong, it’s not a flick of a switch to fix. Everything is integrated and linked. The more complex the system, the more meticulous the management and observation of that system need to be. Many of the super prime properties have remote access and smart home systems. Electrical systems are very much the most complex and challenging part, even more so than mechanical heating and cooling systems.

What challenges does Dalham face when onboarding a new property into the Vacant Property Management portfolio and how do you take them on?


With properties that we inherit we’re typically brought in when something has gone wrong and there’s an urgency and time sensitivity to resolve it. We must quickly resolve issues and understand how the issue occurred and assess the weaknesses within the property. While also   knowing how to manage all 3rd parties associated with the property, and navigate through those relationships to reach a conclusion.

Can you share some examples of how Dalham’s management services help clients ensure a seamless and enjoyable move-in experience?


It depends on the client. For families looking to create a family home, we’re normally given more time to prepare, and it makes for a seamless move-in. We have instances where people have a specific timeline, whether it’s a family member coming to study at university or taking up employment in the UK. Dalham gives options and mitigates the risk to clients associated with them having to work with multiple parties. Our streamlined approach to getting deliveries, installations and maintenance undertaken is swifter than a single individual due to our strong network of suppliers.

Tell us about the importance of trust and relationship-building that Dalham is known for?


Having the client’s trust, or an existing client already familiar with Dalham’s service levels, enables us to do our jobs to the best of our ability. For example, we request a lot of diligent work from third parties like surveyors and specialists. A client less familiar with approach might be reluctant to incur such initial costs. However, clients appreciate the value and importance of spending initially to bring the property to a certain level. Inevitably, a strong preventive maintenance programme will reduce future overheads and ad-hoc expenses from reactive maintenance.

What additional services or support does Dalham offer clients when setting up a new property and incorporating it after the property handover is complete?


We’re fortunate to have a very wide and strong network of third-party suppliers. They assist with everything from furnishings to redevelopment to dressing to cutlery. Every element has a system within Dalham. Because of the nature and geographic location of these properties, we’re able to work with many of London’s leading third-party suppliers.

You advise clients to contact Dalham before completing a purchase. At what stage in the buying process should they reach out if they’re interested in having Dalham manage their property?


While the solicitors undertake their due diligence after a sale is agreed upon, we also insist that our property management diligence is done in tandem. The reason is that before a property is purchased, it gives us a lot of leverage to insist on and request certain documentation that might be overlooked during the purchase process. Because we’re taking a view of how we will look at the property after completion, once the lawyers and sellers have completed, we have a comprehensive, holistic approach. The earlier we’re involved, the more efficiently time is allocated post-purchase.