The key to accessing Surrey’s luxury housing market – befriend your Agent!

Buying and selling the very best prime country homes is not for the faint-hearted. Luxury homes cannot be treated in the same way that your average UK house is bought and sold and that is the exact reason that specialist prime agencies and professional property buyers exist in the UK.

They have become experts in their field and are used to handling the complications that come with often awkward and tricky transactions as millions of pounds exchanges hands with a rather small amount being awarded to the agent who has quite probably had to jump through many hoops to keep all parties happy.

One agency who are experts at brokering deals for multi-millionaires and billionaires is Barton Wyatt in Virginia Water, Surrey. The team here are highly trained to deliver a consistently flawless service without gasping if a King or Earl drops in to chat. Forty nine years in the same office has definitely had its advantages.

Sports personalities, leading actors and actresses, Royals from around the globe, TV stars and pop stars are all known to frequent the discrete offices in Virginia Water in their quest to find the perfect home to rent or buy.

Diplomacy is a key attribute for the sales and rental teams at Barton Wyatt and it is not uncommon that many of their clients wish to remain totally anonymous. Recently there has been a high number of foreign buyers who are also keen to retain their privacy. Not hiding from the paparazzi but just desiring a very quiet life in the leafy lanes that make up Virginia Water and Wentworth.

James Wyatt, Partner of Barton Wyatt, the award winning Surrey estate agent, explains:

“With so much discretion required these days by both vendors and purchasers we often find that houses get sold without the regular paraphernalia of marketing and display advertising that used to be required to make a sale. A very discreet vendor and a discreet purchaser put together – often through a buying agent means that the house might only be seen by one or two buyers before a deal is done and settled. That makes it sound very easy – but it rarely is. These deals can take months of work but our local knowledge and contacts are paramount to our clients at this level.”

The exchange of properties ‘off-market’ has becoming increasingly familiar. It is being driven by a deficiency in fresh stock and desire for anonymity that comes from extreme wealth.

For an estate agent, knowing your patch and your client base is key to being involved in any quiet housing market and those agents from outside the area struggle to know what is going on. Agents that live and breathe the local area are going to hear about something on the grapevine way before anyone else.

Wyatt continues:

“We do not actively encourage this “quiet housing market” – but it certainly has a place in today’s luxury property world, particularly when you are dealing at the very top end. With this in mind it is important to our buyers and vendors that we are ahead of the game and can ensure that the playing field is relatively even.

“Much of our business commences out of the office – meaning on the golf course, at local business networking events and lately, standing on the side-lines of the pitch at my children’s schools. This informal setting seems to get people chatting and before I know it I’m working whilst watching an 800 metre race, a tennis match or a goal! Property salesman that do not live and breathe the local area really don’t stand much of a chance.”

Compton House Occasionally a decision to keep a property off-market is taken by a vendor on the advice of their agent. For instance if someone is hoping to sell their house and talks to an agent in early December, the agent might suggest that they go down the off-market route first providing they have obtained the necessary documentation and agreed terms with the agent. If no buyer emerges by the end of January then it could be a better time to put the house on the market for all to see.

Off-market sales had previously been considered to be limited to the finest parts of London but this is a rapidly growing trend in prime Surrey stock. Barton Wyatt completed a significant proportion of their sales off-market in 2013 and expect this trend to continue.

James Wyatt reveals his thoughts for the rest of 2014:

“We anticipate house price increases and a greater number of sales for 2014 – in fact all the indicators point to positive news. My money is on an increase in the region of 10% for Surrey over the next 12 months – the general public are swerving away from over-heated London and confidence is rising rapidly in the Home Counties once again. The Bank of England’s ability to control the base rate and keep it, and therefore mortgage rates, low – is helping this positive momentum.”

For advice or a private conversation about on or off-market Surrey sales, talk to James or Rupert Wyatt at Barton Wyatt on 01344 843 000 or visit their website on