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People say necessity is the mother of invention, but frustration plays its role too. ‘I’ve lived in London for a long time,’ says Tomé, ‘and I’ve moved innumerable times, but I found that agents did not really listen. You’d be really specific, let’s say, about the price and the location… And you’d waste so much time looking at so many things that were not at all what you wanted.’ This spur, combined with her knowledge of cosmopolitan Europeans and the properties they actually liked, led her to set up her own firm. ‘When a European said to me: “I want an apartment like the one I have in Paris,” I knew exactly what they meant.’ This quickly ‘snowballed’ into a business. Tomé offers more than prime property finding. First, her predominantly Continental clients quite reasonably don’t understand (and, indeed, often object to) the English system of leasehold. Next, they may want their property ready for when they fly over from Milan or Madrid, so Tomé does up houses, finds contractors and decorators and even pins down personal chefs. She says she’s ‘like the liaison for them in London’. The most rewarding part of her work, according to Tomé, is that her clients, often introduced as friends-of-friends, become friends too. It’s a good sign too, she says, that they come back to her for their next property: ‘They’ll come back to you for years and years, and that obviously shows that you’ve done a good job, because otherwise they wouldn’t.’

Katy Tome Q & A

Katy Tome