I understand you’ve been working in partnership development, project management, and income generation for many years.
Please tell us about your property career, from Directing Hamptons, to the present day.
I only ever had the one job, lasting over forty years, and this was with Hamptons Country House, working with prime properties. As you can imagine after such a long time, my name eventually became synonymous with Country House.
Property is in my blood, and after so long at Hampton’s, it wasn’t going to dry up overnight, so I began to work for myself as a property facilitator, helping owners of prime properties realise market potential, recommending the right agents. I can also help with finding houses, even the off-market ones! Over the years I’ve built up a huge amount of contacts, mostly around the Home Counties and London, so the step on from Hamptons seemed to make total sense.
What key changes have you noticed within the property market recently?
Trend is extremely important. The thing used to be to buy a 16th century country pile, but these days the fashion is towards space, light, openness and integrated family-style rooms. In the last ten years we’ve also seen an increase in modernist-style builds, a trend that was huge in the sixties and is now making a massive comeback.
Name a memorable moment during your last forty years at Hamptons.
There is one particular story that sticks in my mind, despite the fact that it happened a long time ago in the mid-1970s. The property market had suffered a dip, and we were dealing with a beautiful property deep in the Surrey Hills. The property was a big lovely manor house, on the market for £125,000 – which was a lot of money in those days! The dip was such that the property eventually ended up selling for 50% of the asking price!
Despite that one time, the property market has grown hugely over the years, especially with an increase in foreign market and a matching surge in exciting new builds and designs. As ever, the housing market still has its challenges; at the moment the stamp duty has of course hit hard.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
It all boils down to a love of property, people and problem-solving. These days I mix business with pleasure, perhaps taking a morning out for a round of golf or a meeting at The County Club alongside my work.
How long have you been a County Club member?
Since 1990 - I’ve been coming here for twenty-eight years! The County Club is a real hidden gem – those two red doors hide so many charming rooms. It’s kept its traditions as a private club, and has been run incredibly well by its manager and team.
As a Director, it’s been a great opportunity to have a say in The County Club’s focus. As well as being a wonderful club, we also like to help out a worthy cause every year, picking a different locally-based charity each time. This year we have chosen the charity Home-Start Guildford.
What do you consider to be the benefits of being a member of The County Club?
A lot of people work in Guildford, it’s a very nice environment for lunches, coffees and working, as well as business meetings and networking of course. We even have a lovely suntrap terrace leading off from the dining room – you have everything you need! When you look out of the windows, it is such a great feeling to see the bustling crowds and the lovely high street that Guildford is so lucky to have.
After many years, I’ve made so many friends and contacts here that I consider the main benefit of the club to be the opportunity to network and socialise within an optimal environment.
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