16 November 2023 Luxuriate Life Magazine

Inside Property Vision: A moment with Georgina Bolton

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Property Vision helps ultra-high-networth individuals secure exclusive properties before they see the market by providing impartial advice on every aspect of property purchasing internationally and in the UK. The buying company works with numerous trusted intermediaries such as financial professionals and world-famous artists to ensure their clients are buying an ideal property. We caught up exclusively with Georgina Bolton, a senior associate at Property Vision to gain insight into the business and reveal what’s next for the practice.

What led you to specialise in luxury real estate?
I feel very lucky in that I fell into a boutique real estate practice in Kensington and Chelsea earlier in my career. After this, I changed tact and moved to a luxury interior design firm based in Knightsbridge where I headed up the Business Development team. I was fortunate that this role took me across the globe, from the Monaco Yacht Show to the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix, entertaining clients and generating new business, along with promoting and growing the brand I worked for. It has provided me with the springboard to best advise clients looking to purchase a property, from not just a real estate element but also bringing in a design perspective — diving deeper into how clients can best utilise a space for their individual needs. At Property Vision, we have industry leaders with amazing experience such as Philip Harvey (senior  partner) and Rob Fanshawe (managing partner / head of country) who we are learning from every day.

How does your approach to buying off-market luxury real estate differ from standard residential properties?
Buying agents are not estate agents. We act solely for the buyer – meaning we are employed to offer transparent and meticulous advice for a client’s property purchase. People don’t wake up in the morning and decide that they want to pay someone to find them a house. However, at the top end of the market, most properties we find for our clients do not, and will not, ever appear on the open market. Property Vision is proud to celebrate 40 years in business this year and throughout that time we have a proven track record of purchasing the best in class properties across the country. We have also built a trusted network and a reputation for offering the best advice and highest level of service.

Through our industry connections we are approached first about properties on the ‘off market’ or ‘grey market’. In the UK, we have a growing team and are able to provide advice to clients buying from the tip of Cornwall up to the Scottish borders. Ninety-eight percent of our clients come through word-of-mouth recommendations.

What are some current trends shaping the real estate market?
Not as many people have the appetite for undertaking a project these days due to the rising costs of materials, therefore clients are often searching for a turnkey property, where they can move in with only a suitcase. Interestingly there has been a large shift within the last two years alone. It used to be that unmodernised stock would sell like hotcakes, as buyers would want to put their own stamp on a property, and this is less prevalent now. Whilst developers are still active in the marketplace, the financials naturally have to make sense more than ever due to the rising costs. Looking at how long unmodernised stock versus modernised stock stays looking stagnant is a good barometer for the market.

Can you predict any future real estate trends?
Branded residencies are becoming hot property globally. The development of these branded projects continues at rapid pace. According to Savills, 20 new London projects are set to be completed by 2030. A new Mandarin Oriental project on the South Bank is slated for completion in 2028, which will also serve as the brand’s third London hotel. The market for branded residences is expected to continue its rise, in part because of the growth of the global population of UHNWIs.

What challenges do you face as a luxury advisor, and how do you overcome them?
With next year being a general election year and potential changes in political leadership, there is an expected time of uncertainty in the market as new policies are brought in and the market responds. One piece of potential tax adjustment which has prompted particular concern is higher Stamp Duty rates aimed at international buyers, which could discourage investment. This would undoubtedly affect growth in the capital, with an increasing rate of American, Middle Eastern and Asian nationals investing in London. However, it’s worth noting the high-end residential market tends to be more immune to policy shifts, with property prices and more resilient demand. Potential plans to abolish Non-Dom status in the UK would also impact the top end of the market.

What advice would you give buyers and sellers when negotiating in the market?
We offer our clients a full suite of detailed information available to provide confidence and validation on a purchase, taking into consideration all factors such as local area, upcoming planning and neighbours. Working solely on the buying side means clients know we are impartial. We actively advise clients on their purchase and handle negotiations to ensure they also secure it for the best possible price.

What is the main piece of advice would you give to individuals looking to purchase properties?
Establishing a precise brief from a client is key, although one must be adaptable to change as it is a continual educational process for any client, and they may review or update their brief at any time. As part of working with Property Vision, we are often telling our clients to take their time and not rush into buying a property that may not be completely right.

How do sustainable luxury properties contribute to the communities that surround them?
Statistics are emerging which show that the capital values and rental returns of low emission properties (both residential and commercial) significantly exceed those of inefficient alternatives (although the disparity is greater in countries where there is tougher legislation). Furthermore, the health benefits of warm spaces are well recognised.

However, the beneficial effect of these positive messages needs to be enhanced by reducing the hurdles. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea lifted the requirement for individual Listed Building consent for solar panels in March last year, and are consulting on additional glazing being allowed in Grade II listed properties – previously unheard of – as long as there is no ‘harmful visual effect’. All other local authorities need to follow suit. Reducing VAT for green energy retrofit works, or lower rates of Stamp Duty for low carbon house sales would also help.

Climate change isn’t going away, and pressure will mount on governments to ramp up legislation. As this happens, we are all going to be forced into action but the availability of the necessary kit, along with technicians and builders to install it, are all going to become more expensive and harder to find. Whichever way you look at it, the early adopters are going to come out as winners.

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