What are the main challenges and/or opportunities in your sector at the moment? How would you characterise them?
The existing UK Stamp Duty regime continues to dampen the market, both for national and international clients, while capital restrictions in other regions is also slowing, and in some cases preventing, investment. Development activity and price growth outside London and the south east is a clear opportunity for buyers and investors who wish to purchase property in the UK – in locations that offers an acceptable ROI.
How has your industry changed in the last decade and how do you expect it to change going forward? What is your firm doing to adapt?
In the 1970s and 80s there were a few multi-branch national agents: the Savills and Knight Frank of today were smaller agency practices, along side the other leaders in the field at the time: Hamptons, Chestertons, John D Wood, Anscombe and Ringland in North West London.
Estate agencies with fewer branches were the norm, with their ‘retail’ units very much defined by the geographical location of their instructions. The terms imposed by many of the prevailing agents of the day placed strict conditions on fee sharing with the smaller agencies, making it extremely difficult for new agents to succeed in the market, or indeed for one agent to show another agent’s property, because it was uncommon to be retained by the buyer at that time.
Thus control was firmly in the hands of the appointed agent with prime focus being on earning the fee: whether the modus operandi was in the client’s best interest or not, rather than the true needs of the agent’s client, neither the vendor nor in truth the applicant was given much respect or consideration. This resulted in many agents becoming too embattled in turf wars to contemplate growth. Few agencies realised times were changing and those who did pursued growth rapidly creating regional, national (and thence international) chains at that time.
The inflexible approach of some of the firms of the day created the opportunity for more service orientated agents to gain ground. Those who were knowledgeable, focused and willing to work all hours and understood the needs of the new breed of buyer were able to gain market share by achieving exceptional sales figures on the properties they were instructed on.
This driven ability and willingness to work outside the established ways and not to be limited by the accepted 9 to 5 routine of other agencies was in part responsible for success at Beauchamp Estates and one that has and continues to drive its growth today.
How are things different in your field when working with HNWs?
As an established agency our reputation continues to grow, along with our business, through focus. The team’s commitment to clients, coupled with the individual negotiator’s desire to succeed and not to fail and not to loose a sale or lead, drives success.
As a company we focus on the same type of property and clients, in locations that are appropriate to our client base. For Beauchamp Estates this means locations of interest and relevance to High and Ultra High Net Worth individuals, working with corporate and private clients in each location wherever it might be.
Many of our clients are cash rich, yet time poor, have very full schedules and expect the highest level of service and attention to their requirements. HNW and UHNW clients do not live ordinary lives and are used to being able to access and have things that ordinary people do not, in a manner that is convenient for them: their approach to property is not hugely different. As a purchase is also likely to non-essential, such matters may be driven by a whim of the moment or a particular inspiration.
Why are you industry leaders? What are the advantages for HNWs working with you?
Beauchamp Estates is a specialist, or boutique, agency, focused firmly on our clients’ needs, rather than their geographical location. Being small means that we are more dynamic in nature and can be more flexible than many larger organisations, both in respect of client relationships and the deals we are able to facilitate. This client lead, dynamic approach delivered through a committed and experienced team is why we are industry leaders.
The term ‘boutique’ means small and while this may be true in respect of physical size, in the modern market place this increasingly bears no relation to the reach or scale of the enterprise. Particularly where those within the business are experts and specialist in their area of expertise, like Beauchamp Estates.
How/why did you choose to do what you do?
Primarily because I like meeting people and also the opportunity to work with interesting and intelligent people.
What separates the great from the good in your field?
Tenacity and constantly pushing boundaries, coupled with market knowledge, client focus and understanding clients’ needs.
Do you have a mantra, or working philosophy?
Never give up: show and show the applicant again. Never give up on an applicant: the more you show them the more you need to show them, else you will have just wasted your time.