Interview in Surrey Life magazine with James Wyatt

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2010

A partner of Barton Wyatt in Virginia Water, James Wyatt is also chairman of the Surrey region of the National Association of Estate Agents

.What are the key trends that you expect to see in Surrey in the coming months?
There can only be one word – volatility! The message from the government is unquestionably ‘tighten your belts’. This will undoubtedly lead to many homeowners, or aspiring homeowners, thinking twice about moving until they understand the full personal effect of this latest financial squeeze. However, people need to purchase or sell property whatever the state of the economy. First time purchasers, marriages, expanding families, divorce and death – they all lead to property sales.

Tell us what excites you most about the area you work in?
I work and live in Virginia Water. It is a pleasant and affluent village, centred around the world famous Wentworth golf club, of which I am a member. Also, on our doorstep is Virginia Water Lake, which is often used for filming – recently Russell Crowe filmed scenes for Robin Hood there, and several Harry Potter films have used the park. Given the nature of the area, I get to see, sell and let some pretty fantastic homes, and meet all sorts of interesting people, many of whom have become friends.

Are there bargains still to be found in Surrey?
You’ll have to look hard! But yes, in any market, there are bargains. Last year, many house builders were selling property below market value just to keep their cash-flow going. Although prices are generally stable, some sellers are cutting their prices now. We’ve just had a price reduction of £750,000. Mind you, the original asking price was £7.5m so it’s all relative!

What would your top tip be for someone who is moving house?
Work out a sensible budget for your overall costs; pay your agent well (no surprises there, but they will repay you many times over with a great offer!); use a good removal company (the cheap outfits will leave you despairing); and choose a recommended solicitor – cut-price conveyancers do a cut-price job.

•Barton Wyatt, The Estate Office, 2 Station Approach, Virginia Water GU25 4DL. Tel: 01344 843000.