Diary of an estate agent: prime central London

A grand Regent’s Park lady in her vintage Roller and a Premiership footballer in his blacked-out Range Rover.
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My aim for this week is to get an exchange for a client at £20 million and after protracted negotiations, we seem finally to be there with the sale and their ongoing purchase north of Hyde Park.
I left the New York restaurant trade in 1998 to move to London to sell prime property. The industry here in the capital has many similarities to running restaurants stateside. It’s just about really great service — except that client “facing time” in the hospitality world is over a much shorter time frame, as opposed to living and breathing every moment of the property sale process with some of the world’s most well-heeled people.
I have now worked in the heart of the capital for over 15 years and have seen house prices soar across prime central London. I have seen and sold some of the city’s most magnificent homes and worked with many interesting and demanding residents.
I call on an exceptional lady who is selling the home she has lived in for 50 years in Regent’s Park. While incredibly grand, she is completely charming but also a little intimidating, and at first I think I will only get a few minutes. However, after a couple of hours engaged in the history of her life in the house, and how she came to buy it, she takes me out to the garage and together we power up a vintage Thirties Rolls-Royce — an afternoon I shall never forget.
As head of our London operation I spread my time over all nine of our offices. I am in our Mount Street office in Mayfair this afternoon, the best for celebrity spotting as it is opposite The Connaught hotel and the street has transformed into a microcosm of global luxury. We are currently selling eight car parking spaces for £2.25 million as a whole — the price of a nice house in Fulham. We have also just sold an off-market property at £25 million.
I head to Barnes to see a true flagship property and possibly one of the most expensive houses to come to the market in SW13. The house is the most fantastic new build and even has summer and winter pavilions. We recently acquired an independent agent with two offices in the area. The purchase follows our successful acquisition of south-west London agent Sullivan Thomas last year, and continues our expansion in the capital, linking our presence here to our offices in the home counties. I have always loved the village-like feel of Barnes and am looking forward to spending time in the area.

At the top end, most of our instructions are off-market and although discretion is paramount, it is always a little disappointing not to be able to publicise some of these deals. Today I am conducting a viewing of a very smart house in Belgravia which I have also shown to one of the football Premiership’s highest earners. You can always guarantee they will show up in their blacked-out Range Rovers.
Despite the press obsessing about claims that London is being taken over by foreign buyers, we are still seeing plenty of interest in the property market from Britons in prime west London. 
  • Tim Macpherson is head of London residential at Carter Jonas in Hyde Park and Bayswater (020 7590 4694).

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