Diary of an estate agent:central London

Monday

It’s a busy Monday — in fact it has been a busy couple of months — so I find myself in the office early, tying up loose ends, finalising deals from the weekend and preparing for the week ahead. By 9am I’m at a valuation for an instruction I received last week, a quite incredible studio apartment owned by a well-known client of ours. After a rival agency failed to sell the home, we’ve taken up the challenge on both the lettings and sales teams. Game on.

There is also a long overdue catch-up scheduled in with one of my good industry contacts, an old friend who I’ve known for 10 years. We have a great chat and he then asks for our help on more than 40 new instructions. An astonishing outcome — and a great challenge for us all.

Tuesday

Martial arts practice sees me up before 6am. My days always start early, but today I’m training for my upcoming World Championship jiu-jitsu tournament in Las Vegas. It’s a passion of mine and a great release, so recently my early mornings have been filled with sparring sessions at the studio practising game plans, although the office is rarely far from my thoughts.

Fresh from practice I get to work on letting a property off-market, a method which is becoming more of a trend in the super-prime lettings market — it’s typically more popular in prime sales. The instruction is a wonderful family home in Belgravia, which is currently being refurbished. I’ve had interest from a family who have viewed the home five or six times mid-construction work. It’ll be ready soon and they can’t wait to get a feel for the finished product. I get the feeling that will get them over the line.

Wednesday

I showed a student around a wonderful penthouse apartment in Marylebone last week, and today begins with a catch-up with her. Despite the stunning panoramic views, her father would prefer her to live in Mayfair. Not to worry, I’ve found her the dream property in Duke Street. They make an offer immediately — my efforts to find the perfect home that meets their needs has paid off.

I head out later to meet Jake, one of the directors at Russell Simpson, for lunch at The Orange in Pimlico with a landlord and his team. We’re working with them on various projects. We discuss the market and how, despite Brexit, the prime central London lettings sector is still thriving, especially for us. We’ve taken on a huge number of instructions in recent weeks.

Thursday

I’m back in Chelsea first thing this morning, visiting an instruction in Cadogan Square that we believe should be valued at slightly less than one of our competitor agents has said. The landlord picked us to help alongside another agency, showing that accuracy in valuation is still key in the lettings business.

Later, I meet a relocation agent and show him around a magnificent four-bedroom family home in the heart of Chelsea. The lettings market always gets busy with relocation experts in August, who are out to ensure that they secure a deal before businesses get busy and the schools reopen in September.

Friday

A thank you note arrives at the office from the student I found a home for in Mayfair. It’s always good to get positive feedback and I’m sure we will work together again.

I meet up later on with a lady who is in search of a central London family home. The last time we met I showed her a wonderful mews house in Kensington. She loved it but wanted to offer significantly less than the asking price, so my new task is to find her the perfect home at the perfect price tag for her.

She is keen to stick with us and I have shown her a few more homes since then. Some offers have fallen through close to the finishing line, but today we strike gold as I have matched her with a first-floor apartment in Kensington.

What a week. I’m looking forward to a weekend with my family and some time out to perfect my jiu-jitsu in time for the City of Lights.

Charlie Woods is lettings director at Russell Simpson in central London (0207 225 0277).

Read the original article on Homes and Property.

A Chic London Mews Apartment With Unusually Large Rooms and High Ceilings

The exclusive cobblestone courtyard known as Turnchapel Mews sits between Clapham Common and Battersea Park in south London. In the mid-19th century, the now private and gated mews served as horse stables for the main houses on the surrounding streets.

A charming and quite large apartment there, the five-bedroom No. 8 Turnchapel Mews,occupies the top floor of four terraced mews houses and has a large outdoor terrace (most of the apartment is on one floor, but a small part is on a separate floor). In the 1980s, the acclaimed author Roald Dahl lived just downstairs, according to the listing agents.

“From the outside it’s hard to envisage the space within,” said Jake Russell, a director at the London firm of Russell Simpson. “However, as soon as you step inside, it opens up into this wonderful, open environment.”

“Often, mews houses have smaller proportions than a normal house, with lower ceilings and tighter rooms, but No.8  couldn’t be further from the norm,” he said.

The rooms feature a prominent peaked roof with exposed beams that add character and a sense of history. They are bright with natural light, Mr. Russell said.

You enter the home via a grand entrance hall, which leads to a stairway up to the apartment. The stairs lead directly into the dining room, with the master bedroom suite, which includes a private dressing room, off to the left. Through the dining room is the expansive drawing room.

“The kitchen is the heart of the home,” Mr. Russell said. Located on the second floor, the space features a loft-like peaked ceiling with wooden beams and three sash windows, “which create a wonderful sense of light and space.” The kitchen also has wood cabinets, marble work surfaces, an island and rustic wooden flooring.

“I would imagine this house going to a family or to someone working in the City or West End,” Mr. Russell said. “Its proximity to a number of stations means buyers can take advantage of the quick commuting time, while the private, gated nature of the mews provides a peaceful privacy.”

“It is also very close to two of the finest green spaces south of the Thames, which will appeal to families,” he said.

Read the original article on Mansion Global.

Politics, Policy and the Battle Against the ‘Mansion Tax’ : December 2014 Stamp Duty Changes

Introducing the Russell Simpson Stamp Duty Calculator to the website, along with a brief comment on the latest Stamp Duty changes implemented in December 2014.

Prime Central London property has unabashedly outperformed, with the exception of classic cars and fine wine, all other sectors of what has otherwise been a languid economic recovery and by virtue of this, provoked to varying degrees, covetous contempt. You have no doubt encountered in healthy measure the political manifestation of this in the proposal of the ‘mansion tax’ and other variations of a tax on property.

It is an idea that has gathered momentum and captured the imagination of those who have suffered greatest at the hands of the economic crisis, acting as a cathartic exercise designed to sate the appetite for retribution. An indignant Robin Hood springs to mind.

It is, however, vitally important – we feel – to emphasise that such a proposal exhibits a flagrant disregard for the long-term well-being of London and in turn our country as a fertile and alluring home, where one can put down roots, for the world’s greatest and most industrious businessmen and women, who bring with them many positives for our nation. We must take heed of the consequences of the heavily socialist policies of Francois Holland, which have so efficiently driven away the bright and brilliant offshore in France.

The latest stamp duty changes, effected in December of 2014, appear to be a combative piece of politics on behalf of the Conservative party that presents a measured and sensible alternative. It taxes the incoming purchaser who one assumes can, reluctantly, afford it (particularly since the change only becomes more expensive at £937,500). It is an adjustment in overall transactional costs that has to be evaluated and considered prior to purchase, and can therefore be avoided if necessary. It does not penalise the asset-rich cash-poor and does not indiscriminately punish those British citizens who have had the good fortune to unwittingly benefit from ownership of properties that have risen in value as our country has prospered.

What effect it will have on our market is not yet clear. It is a safe guess that rising frictional costs is likely to hamper volume of transactions. With the balance of supply and demand currently favouring the purchaser, it is also likely that the cost will be absorbed by vendors, precipitating a market wide price adjustment, southwards.

Here, below, are the tiers and breakdown of the new rules outlining these changes to the structures of our new SDLT (Stamp Duty Land Tax).

Residential Property Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

Purchase Price of Property

Rate of SDLT (% of portion of purchase   price)

£0 – 125,000

0%

£125,001 – £250,000

2%

£250,001 – £925,000

5%

£925,001 – £1,500,000

10%

£1,500,001 +

12%

Due to the nature of the more complicated tiered system, we have devised a stamp duty calculator which is available on all sale properties on the Russell Simpson website. Alternatively, Click Here to visit the dedicated page for our Stamp Duty Calculator. 

Russell Simpson’s market comment on “Chelsea Micro-Markets”

An insight from the market leaders in The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea into the many shades of grey that one can find in one of London’s most popular residential areas

RUSSELL SIMPSON REPORT EXPLORES THE SIX DISTRICTS OF CHELSEA

Russell Simpson highlight that the 2,965 acres that form what we all think of as Chelsea is not just one district, it’s actually six distinct hamlets or micro-markets, each with their own features, buyer profiles and top addresses, comprising; Old Chelsea, Burton Court, Chelsea Green, Chelsea Town, The Boltons, West Chelsea.

Latest figures from Lonres show that, in the past 12 months up to April 2014, 57 prime properties valued over £5M have sold in Chelsea, averaging £2,396 per sq. ft. outselling neighbouring Kensington.

Alan Russell of Russell Simpson, said: “With over 35 years of experience in the Chelsea property market, we have a formidable knowledge of Chelsea’s micro-markets, types of buyers and favoured addresses.  This review details a great deal of what there is to know about the local neighbourhoods of Chelsea, offering a detailed insight into one of London’s oldest and most famous residential areas.

Old Chelsea

Old Chelsea has been an area popular with the wealthy, as well as the artistic fraternity, throughout history.  First used as a residential base for the Saxon maritime industry, transporting chalk from the River Thames, the residential base for royals and their advisors, as well as producing the world famous Chelsea China before the porcelain works on Lawrence Street closed in the 18th Century.

    • Flat prices: £2M – £5M
    • House Prices: £3M – £50M
    • Why Buy: Historic ambience and waterfront location
    • Who Buys: International buyers (Russian, American and European), high-net worth couples and families  
    • Best address: Old Church Street, Cheyne Walk, Upper Cheyne Row Lawrence Street

 

Burton Court  

Once home to Oscar Wilde, who resided in Tite Street and once the English retreat of American filmmaker, Joseph Losey, Burton Court is Chelsea’s ‘Intellectual Quarter’ according to Russell Simpson. Various art galleries, including the Saatchi Gallery, the vast green space of Ranelagh Gardens and Burton’s Court Green and the location of Chelsea Library, Burton Court provides a calm retreat from busy inner city life. 

    • Flat prices: £1M – £6M
    • House prices: £4M – £15M
    • Why Buy: Close to sporting areas (Tennis, cricket), RHS Chelsea Flower Show, grand views, Royal Hospital, museums
    • Who Buys: Downsizers (area provides lateral flats with good views), socialites, families,       intellectuals, investors, pied-a-terre
    • Best addresses: Franklins Row, St. Leonard’s Terrace, Smith Terrace 

 

Chelsea Green 

Chelsea Green, located in the north east corner of Chelsea is described as a ‘village within the city’ by Russell Simpson. A number of local outlets, butchers, fishmongers and restaurants, based around Elystan Street, produce a traditional village ambience and sense of local community.

    • Flat prices: £1M – £4M
    • House prices: £2M – £12M
    • Why Buy: Village ambience, local produce and shops create local community feel, close to top language schools
    • Who  Buys: ‘Chelsea locals’, young continentals, investors
    • Best addresses: Markham Street, Jubilee Place

 

Chelsea Town

Chelsea Town is located along the north side of the King’s Road, stretching along most of its entirety. The array of high-end boutiques, art galleries and Michelin starred restaurants based along the King’s Road attracts wealthy internationals that enjoy having luxury on their doorstep.

  • Flat prices: £750K – £35M
  • House prices: £5M – £25M
  • Why Buy: Good family houses, Manresa Road development, large lateral flats, good restaurants, close to South Kensington
  • Who Buys: Families, investors, international purchasers (Saudi Arabians, Africans and Russians)
  • Best addresses: Manresa Road, Chelsea Square

 

The Boltons 

The Boltons is one of the best places to live in Chelsea according to the Russell Simpson report. Providing large private garden spaces, terraced gardens and garden squares, properties in The Boltons are perfect for families, with strong transport links to the West of England (A4, M4) for weekend breaks, as well as easy connections into Central London. 

  • Flat prices: £1M – £10M
  • House prices: £5M – £80M
  • Why Buy: Strong transport links to west of England (A4, M4), big garden terraces for families, family houses, ‘Hollywood Road community’
  • Who Buys: families, young professionals
  • Best addresses: The Boltons, Gilston Road, Tregunter Road, The Little Boltons, Harley Gardens

 

West Chelsea 

Popular with young affluent Chelsea residents, West Chelsea is the home of ‘The Chelsea Beach’ a stretch of bars and restaurants along Fulham Road, which can boast the young royals, Princes William and Harry, as well as the Middletons as regular visitors. 

  • Flat prices: £500K – £4M
  • House prices: £2M – £10M
  • Why Buy: Good transport links via Earl’s Court, galleries, price competitive properties, close to ‘The Beach’, on the edge of Chelsea
  • Who Buys: Young crowd (First Time Buyers, young families)
  • Best addresses: Chelsea Park Gardens, Netherton Grove, Gertrude Street, Park Walk

The New Russell Simpson Website

We are delighted to announce that, after much blood, sweat and tears, and hours of grafting, we are able to launch the NEW Russell Simpson website, a collaboration with the brilliant Oil Internet…

We are delighted to announce that, after much blood, sweat and tears, and hours of grafting, we are – with great excitement – able to introduce you to the NEW Russell Simpson website, a collaboration with the brilliant web-designers at Oil Internet.

Uncomplicated and concise, the new website offers far more straight forward access to the many and varied properties available to purchase and let via RS, and with enriched clarity and improved usability.

The new website also hosts a great handful of new features, geared towards an enhanced and intuitive user-experience. Incorporating the burgeoning Social Media side of the business along with a dedicated News page, the Russell Simpson website now delivers a clean and clear real-time connection with the front line of Prime Central London Sales and Lettings.

Immediately available also, to one and all, is the quarterly RS Newsletter.

We hope you like it…