In early 2007, to the annoyance of some of my professional colleagues, I suggested that we may have witnessed the top of the housing market. The FT were brave enough to run the story and it got me my first interview on the Today program. At that stage there had been no queues outside Northern Rock branches and we hadn’t heard of a ‘credit crunch’. Flatteringly described subsequently on both radio and Tv as “the BBC’s favorite property expert” I have since made over 300 appearances.
On leaving school in 1983 I worked for Savills for 10 years and then ran the country house department in London for Strutt & Parker. I then set up the first of what became known as the “affiliate groups”, The London Office for provincial estate agents. After 12 years I sold my interest and started an ill-fated multi-listing business called Charles Lister (my middle names). In 2006 this business was bought by Lonres.com.
These days I buy homes for the rich, famous or just for the hard working. I represent people who want someone in their corner to look after their interests while the selling agent represents the vendor. I’m often a foil for people who don’t want who they are to be used against them.
For the past four years I have been working with the Board of CLEA, publishers of The London Magazine and owned by 48 of ‘the Great & the Good’ of London estate agency including Savills, Knight Frank, Hamptons & John D Wood. The original brief was to advise on digital data sharing options – a job which culminated in CLEA Limited becoming majority shareholders in Lonres.com. Thereafter I stayed on to help with improving communications, arranging seminars, the CLEA shoot and the launch of the revamped London Magazine. All of these tasks are now completed.
I have written for numerous websites, newspapers and magazines including BBC Online as well as providing contributions to the regular property roundtables held by MoneyWeek, for The Sunday Times in their ‘Ask the experts’ section. I have also contributed to The Guardian and Mail on Sunday.
I was invited to join the judging panel for The 2012 LSL Property Press Awards and in May was once again a judge for the prestigious Times/Sunday Times Letting Agency of the Year 2012.
I am fortunate to live in the country surrounded by great friends who help us produce our own pork and make our own bacon in a pale imitation of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.