For the past four years I have been working with the Board of CLEA, publishers of The London Magazine, owned by 48 of ‘the Great & the Good’ of London estate agency including Savills, Knight Frank, Hamptons and Marsh & Parsons. The original brief was to advise on digital data sharing options – a job which culminated in CLEA Limited becoming majority shareholders in the excellent Lonres.com service. 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.
My day job continues to be a buying agent, finding homes for clients in both London and the country. Frustrated that so few buyers actually seek professional advice when making a purchase and to answer numerous calls for an affordable alternative to the cost of the full buying service I have developed a new ‘pocket agent’ business that runs alongside the main buying agency. It’s still a work in progress but is already proving popular with those unused to buying and selling property every day. For example just recently I have been helping people who have just gone through a divorce as they go about trying to divide the old marital home into two new properties and deal with the upheavals associated with making a new life.
Charging £180 a week I help clients choose a selling agent, negotiate a sensible fee, decide what to buy and where to look for it, check schooling and commuting options, help them evaluate potential properties, point out where to look for homes that may not be on the open market and assist with negotiations. I then help navigate the path of home improvement – dealing with builders, architects, decorators and tradesmen. It’s like having your own private office to sort out the things that can otherwise fall between the cracks!
In the meantime I am producing more newsletters and marketing material for companies. Having worked for three years with the lovely people at W.A. Ellis in Knightsbridge helping to produce their monthly newsletter I am beginning work on the next generation of corporate communications using ‘web tv’ to inform and entertain clients and compliment their social media efforts. Look at the Hargreaves Lansdown video put together so professionally and providing content of genuine interest their clients – 24,000+ viewers so far is a powerful argument. Other sectors are already using video and the residential property industry is playing catch up.
Finally, I still provide regular radio and tv commentary on the housing market. 2013 will have many challenges as Funding For Lending kicks in making a further £5-£10bn available. The Governments’ Localism plans and other inititives like NewBuy, FirstBuy and Shared ownership schemes all come to bear on the supply of new homes and the affordability & accessibilty of mortgage finance. What will happen to prices? Where should you look to make money from residential property? Who will be the winners and losers as the national housing crisis grips the country firmly by the throat? So much to consider and a rolling 24 hour news cycle to discuss it in.
Exciting times to work in and nice people to be working with. The next few months look like they’ll be worth tuning in to.