08 Oct Who lives in a house like this?
Is it possible to guess your nationality by your home?
Somewhat reminiscent of the 80’s TV game show ‘Through the Keyhole’, hosted by Sir David Frost where contestants were shown a video tour of a mystery celebrity’s property and asked to identify who ‘lived in a house like this?’ James Wyatt, Partner of Barton Wyatt, the award-winning estate agency in Surrey says yes – the chances are you can guess your nationality by your home.
Wyatt and his team have over 120 years combined experience, working with clients from all over the world in both sales and lettings, teaching them what to show (or not to show as the case may be) their clients often based purely on their nationality.
With 70% of their current purchasers and 65% of current tenants being from overseas it has been important to acquire these skills to ensure that a client’s precious time isn’t wasted and that the utmost professionalism is shown to the buyer who will often be spending several million pounds.
So what lessons have the Barton Wyatt team learned about their international clients? James Wyatt shares a few of his insights:
Americans are easy to please if the house is spacious, the master bathroom has twin basins, bedrooms have walk-in ‘closets’, kitchens must be modern and the fridge huge. Reminders of home are always welcome and a top loading twin tub just might seal the deal if it’s a rental. Americans are not hugely into large beautiful gardens – a compact ‘yard’ which appears easy to maintain is favourable. Our friends from over the pond tend to be hugely keen on tennis and golf so the ease of access to Wentworth is a great pull for them.
Choosing from what is available today I would select Pine Acre as a must for American buyers. Set in the heart of Wentworth – which would wow anybody – this five bed, five bathroom house with all mod cons and covering a whopping 9,000 square feet is a terrific family home.
Asian nationals are often here on a 3 year stint with business so tend to be tenants rather than purchasers – but not exclusively. The first properties we show clients from the East are gated communities. They are very keen to move close to similar folk, congregating in certain streets or micro-areas. They don’t tend to look for ‘big’ homes but more compact and tidy properties in a ‘safe’ environment.
In today’s market Number 7 Lime Tree Walk is a five bedroom detached family home and a dead cert for an Asian family, one of only 11 on the estate and set within a gated community.
We have worked with many Scandinavians in our locality which is particularly favoured due to TASIS (The American School) and the American Community School being nearby. On the whole, Scandinavian clients are very easy to please. They frequently select modern and stylish properties with stripped wood flooring throughout. The Scandinavians are attracted to creativity and design flair. Their houses often will have a really ‘cool concept’ and slick furniture so rooms need to be really quite spacious with lots of light.
Being built now is the most futuristic house to be seen on Wentworth for many years. Fortuna Lodge will cover an extraordinary 15,000 square feet and features a central underground pool that will be an amazing feature of this six bedroom home.
Our Russian and Eastern European clients are all very private and that extends to the homes they choose. Often moving to the UK to escape a shadow of fear that hangs over the Eastern bloc, they crave concealment and do not look to ‘group’ themselves. The houses we show them are almost exclusively new builds, never overlooked and with the very latest technology – being able to alarm your house from the other side of the world appeals to the Russian nature. As for interiors, they love some glitzy paraphernalia – bright and shiny bling is in for our Russian friends.
If I was selecting today then Park Place in Windlesham might be the perfect choice. This is a magnificent country house which stands impressively within a mature woodland setting and approached via a private road. Wrought iron gates open onto a gravelled drive flanked by mature trees and rhododendrons which leads to a central fountain in front of the house. With eight bed/baths there is plenty of room for guests and staff but best of all is the Disney themed cinema, complete with ticket booth.
Comparing sales to overseas nationals in 2012 with other years shows a great leap in foreign money being invested into the UK property market. Barton Wyatt has sold 65% of this year’s stock to foreign investors compared with 60% in 2008 and 30% in 2000.
As James comments, “Despite the recession, the UK remains a ‘safe haven’ for many global property investors with areas in and around London at the top of the wish list for many overseas buyers.”