2016 was a triumph for Dell, the force behind Black Brick, as she had recently concluded a £55 million transaction for a Middle East client, in what she calls ‘one of the toughest markets I’ve ever encountered’: ‘It’s going to be a record year for us.’
One of the most competitive sourcing experts in London, Black Brick is rapidly approaching their £1 billion total transaction mark since its launch in 2007. The co-founder whose clientele range from first-time buyers to Russian oligarchs and billionaire CEOs, she says the post-Brexit pound fall has caused an uptick in interest from international clients as well, Indian buyers in particular. ‘A lot of our clients have long felt that the London property market is overpriced, and now its price is coming down. Some clients are certainly viewing the current market as an opportunity.’
But it’s not all rosy up in the high end of the market, and Dell finds the trend reminiscent of the 2008 financial crisis. ‘We’re very busy with enquiries from clients wanting to buy, the difficulty is actually seeking out vendors in Central London who are willing to trade at lower levels,’ she says. Dell relies on the firm’s stellar decade-long experience to negotiate better deals for clients: ‘That’s why people use buying agents – it’s our ability to hunt out and find the best deals for our clients, which we’re very good at.’
Heralded for its on- and off-market search skills, Black Brick impresses HNW clients with its softer offerings — including a complimentary concierge, tech-savvy website and property management service.
She also understood that HNWs want assistance even after the signature on the contract, and to this end she launched Black Brick’s post-purchase services – possibly the firm’s real standout. They include a property management service for buy-to-rent clients, which helps them find the right tenant and manage the property, and Vacant Care, which ensures the property is looked after when the owners aren’t around.
Finally, all clients benefit from Black Brick’s complimentary concierge service, which makes their move into their new house much smoother by transferring utilities, telephone lines, internet and TV on their behalf.
Nine in ten clients come from referrals – either from a previous client or from a private banker, with one telling Spear’s that Dell is ‘client friendly and market savvy’.
Another client commended her understanding nature, saying: ‘Camilla Dell is that rare person who instinctively recognises a client’s needs and will absolutely not stop until those are satisfied. We have been thoroughly satisfied by her handling of our property purchase and her refusal to be defeated even in the most grueling negotiation stages!’ And no matter where they come from, clients end up staying with Black Brick. The biggest deal the firm concluded in 2015, for example, was for an African client who had ‘concluded over eight transactions with us over an eight-year period’. She must be doing something right.