Britain's Top 50 Buying Agencies The most influential, successful, respected & connected prime residential property acquisition specialists in Britain

RATIONALE: PrimeResi’s Prime Movers indices are based on independent research and a range of sources – including a survey of PrimeResi Professional Members, which resulted in over 1,000 nominations for individual firms. PrimeResi.com tracks notable prime residential deals, instructions and business moves throughout the year, closely monitoring which agencies are involved on both the buying and selling sides. Short-listed firms are given the opportunity to submit a company profile and business highlights from the last 12 months. The rankings are qualitative judgements that attempt to measure recent success and business developments, quality of service, influence, innovation, and reputation within the industry; they are not based on company size or quantity of deals done.

Rank Company Name Specialism View
01
Property Vision Buying Agencies

Excelling at sourcing outstanding properties before they reach the open market, and in
negotiating highly favourable terms for their clients, PV has set the benchmark for buyer representation in the UK since the early 1980s.

A steady hand at the tiller through booms, busts and a couple of recessions, the 22-strong team retains its position as our Number One buying agency. 2018 brought a major change at the top, as Peter Mackie stepped down as Senior Partner in January after 24 years with the business – 11 of which were spent in the big chair.

The firm benefits from a particularly deep bench, however, and Philip Harvey took the reins as Senior Partner, having first joined over 17 years ago. Based in London, Harvey is now in control of the whole operation, overseeing 12 partners across offices in London, Ascot and Hungerford.

Consistently achieving deal volumes of around £400m per annum, the UK’s most successful and influential aquisition firm is respected by competitors and clients alike, and remains the industry’s gold standard.

#Independent #Acquisitions #Commercial #London #Country #HomeCounties

02
The Buying Solution Buying Agencies

Founded in 2005, Knight Frank’s independent acquisition arm has maintained a dominant presence in the UK buying agency sector.

Run by the seasoned line-up of Philip Eastwood, Jonathan Bramwell and Mark Lawson, clients know they are in safe hands and in pole position for when that dream property comes up.

Locations covered stretch across London, the Home and Southern Counties, to the Cotswolds and West Country, as well as farm and estate deals across the UK. Despite brisk market head- winds, October of last year proved to be one of the most active months in the firm’s history, with ten deals secured on property worth a combined £78m. Three of the sales were in excess of £10m, and a further two over £5m, while 70% were described as “truly” off-market opportunities, demonstrating the real value of a top-notch search agency.

TBS Head Jonathan Bramwell, described by clients as “a walking encyclopedia”, sums up what’s been happening on the ground over the last 12 months: “Market conditions remain challenging but when the right properties become available, clients are willing to go for it. There remains a shortage of supply when it comes to ‘best in class’ property, both in London and the Country. The Cotswolds has been one of the most active markets for us this year in general, with the area around Daylesford and Soho Farmhouse proving especially popular. The main difference when you compare this market to the previous year is the time it takes to close on deals for clients. In the past it might have been days and weeks and now it is weeks or months. In the past the urgency may have resulted in buyers taking views on minor issues – now clients understandably are more selective and want solutions to problems before committing. This is exactly where our role becomes important. Savvy buyers do want expert advice and guidance through this more difficult climate. The uncertainty has created an opportunity for the truly professional buying agencies; it’s also important to say it’s not just about finding but making sure we do the right deal for them.”

#Corporate #Acquisitions #London #Country

 

03
Prime Purchase Buying Agencies

The independent buying arm of Savills is hard to beat in terms of expertise and sheer firepower. Its five directors have over a hundred years’ experience between them and more than £3bn of property has been acquired across London and the country on behalf of clients since 2002.

The premium service doesn’t stop when the deal is done; clients are offered access to top architects, interior designers, tax specialists and solicitors well after the keys have been handed over. Above and beyond is the approach – the team have made beds, hosted drinks parties and even found a dog breeder for previous clients.

Prime Purchase deals across London and the English counties, while a specialist team manages farm and estate searches. Acquisitions totalling £192m were completed in 2018, with high- lights including a particularly hard-won result in PCL, as the team explains: “We acquired a landmark flat which had sat on the market for over two years at an excessive price. Faced with a dogmatic vendor and an enthusiastic client, expectations required management on both sides and at times the negotiation became fraught. We were delighted our clients took our advice to hold their position, and were able to save £4m on their behalf as a result.” In another notable deal, the firm bought a residential and agricultural estate in the Cotswolds for a longstanding client who had been searching for the perfect property for four whole years. The team made a private approach, and the property never even got near the market. Clients describe the operation as “extremely professional” and “superb to deal with”, with “industry leading knowledge of the best country properties”. “A first class outfit at the very pinnacle of their game”, summarised another.

#Corporate #Acquisitions #London #Country #Agricultural

04
Black Brick Buying Agencies

Cutting a huge swathe through the industry, Camilla Dell founded Black Brick in 2007 and has since demonstrated how to create a recognisable – and formidable – brand within the buying sector.

The roster of services now offered by the Mayfair-based consultancy includes acquisition (buying and investing), managed sales, hotel acquisition, property development, vacant care, rental search, property negotiation, property management and property concierge.

The 14 deals tucked away by the eight-strong team in 2018 added up to a combined value of £81.5m and contained examples of world-class dealmaking prowess.

The £15m acquisition of a mansion on Waverton Street, £10m below its 2013 guide price and at a rate of under £1,750 per square foot, proved one of the standout transactions of year, and the best possible advertisement for having a skilled buying agent on your side.

The firm “represents the very best the industry has to offer”, according to one client; others mentioned “exceptional levels of service”, “a genuinely personal touch”, and “driving a hard bargain” amongst their many reasons for nominating.

#Independent #Acquisitions #Sales #Rentals #PropertyManagement #London #International

05
Robert Bailey Property Buying Agencies

The first port of call for seriously high-profile HNWs, Bailey is a skilled networker and keeper of one of the most envied black books in the business.

PCL development expert Will Hollest came on board in 2014 to help clients make the most of their prize acquisition, followed by high-flying former Knight Frank man, John Waters.

“Under the radar is where they feel most comfortable”, said one insider, “but those who dig a little deeper will generally find Robert Bailey Property is behind some of the most prestigious property sales that take place in Prime Central London. “A responsive, supremely polished offering”, concluded another.

#Independent #Acquisitions #Rentals #London

06
RFR Property Buying Agencies

Founded by husband and wife team Richard and Sophie Rogerson – both former lawyers at Macfarlanes – this fiercely independent full-service offering hails from an impressive range of professional backgrounds and counts William Drake, co-founder of legendary private investment office Lord North Street, as its Chairman.

The 14-strong team, recently bolstered by the hire of former Strutt & Parker man Charlie Naughten, handles searches right across London from its Chelsea HQ, and provides ongoing design, advisory and project management solutions to complete the circle.

Getting a deal over the line in under six hours proved one of the highlights of another successful year for this highly-regarded firm, which bridges the gap between the private client industry and the unpredictable world of residential property in some style.

#Independent #Acquisitions #Rentals #PropertyManagement #Design #London

07
Aykroyd & Co Buying Agencies

When VanHan founders Rory Penn and Thomas van Straubenzee joined Knight Frank’s Global Wealth Advisory team in 2018, former director Hannah Aykroyd teamed up with fellow alumnus Sophie Bonsor to launch their own Mayfair-based operation.

A ready-made roster of heavyweight clients followed, and the now four-strong agency got off to a flyer, chalking up deals worth nearly £60m in its first eight months.

Notable acquisitions have included a 10,000 square foot mansion in W1, bought at the lowest per square foot rate seen on the road for seven years, and a ready-made development project in NW1 – involving four mews houses – for a Hong Kong investor.

“Always a delight to deal with” and “a breath of fresh air” remarked one happy client, while peers praised the team for “knowing the market inside out”.

A welcome addition to the scene that’s already giving the big names a run for their money.

#Acquisitions #Sales #Rentals #London

08
GLP Fine Properties Buying Agencies

The husband and wife team of Giuliana La Pera Davies and James Davies operate well below the radar and have a loyal following of UHNW clients.

Established players, they each have over 20 years’ experience in the upper echelons of resi and cover the very best parts of central London, as well as making forays out of the capital to secure larger properties in the Home Counties and South of France.

Amongst a notable selection of transactions in 2018, they sourced, negotiated and acquired “one of the finest development plots in prime London”, entirely off-market; the extraordinary site came with consent to build a single 25,000 square foot lateral villa set in almost an acre, close to Regent’s Park. A “spectacular” contemporary home overlooking the Bay of St Tropez was another highlight, and marked the fifth acquisition for a long-standing British client.

Those in the know describe the pair as “ultra-discreet”, with a “well-established” client base.

#Independent #Acquisitions #London #Country #International

09
Henry Pryor Buying Agencies

Pretty much the spokesman for the entire property industry, Pryor’s engaging tone and vast experience make him a dynamic frontman and one of the best acquisition specialists in the business.

Regular appearances on breakfast TV sofas and a wildly popular Twitter account have made him an instantly recognisable figure wherever a search takes him. His search zone extends across England & Wales – “half in London, half outside” – with occasional forays out to Tuscany and the Riviera. Pryor has an enterprising approach to the business, offering a realm of services – including £600 “Pocket Agent” and £100 “Quick Check” packages – alongside bespoke search briefs (and media appearances).

His prodigious work rate enabled him to put through 37 deals in 2018, with a combined value of £68m.

#Independent #Acquisitions #London #National #International #PocketAgent

10
Turnbull Property Buying Agencies

Described by his peers as “one of the nicest people in the business”, Johnny Turnbull has spent most of his working life acquiring an unsurpassed knowledge of what he calls “the most elegant parts of London”.

A super-prime specialist, he’s seen every market phase and clients often retain his services over a period of many years.

Fellow Partner Samantha Blomfield-Smith caught the property bug over 14 years ago at Aylesford International and went on to join Turnbull in 2011 after highly successful stints at Cluttons and Brodie Crammond. Together they continue to set new standards in PCL.

#Independent #Acquisitions #PCL

11
Nathalie Hirst Buying Agencies

Having cut her teeth relocating senior executives from Goldman Sachs, J P Morgan, UBS and Citibank, Nathalie Hirst went on to do great things at Property Vision and Savills (heading the firm’s London buying department from 2006-10), before setting up her own consultancy in 2010.

An authority on every element of Prime Central London property, her services are highly sought after and leading law firms often send their very best clients her way. 2018’s successes included “the cliched perfect purchase that every buying agent wishes to achieve”, which involved a genuinely off-market transaction secured at significantly below asking.

Hirst also remains “one of the relatively few buying agents to have a solid grasp of the lettings market”, according to one super-prime insider.

#Independent #Acquisitions #Rentals #London

12
Charles McDowell Property Consultants Estate Agencies

A titan of the HNW scene, Charles McDowell is prime through and through. Chelsea, Belgravia, Mayfair, Kensington and Knightsbridge are very much his patch, whilst his contact book is the envy of everyone in the industry.

Now based in the super-prime mixer on Beauchamp Place, this boutique firm was involved in over half of the deals over £10m in Chelsea last year, along with the second biggest deal in Notting Hill, and the third biggest in Kensington.

One of McDowell’s former clients described him simply as “a brilliant agent…I trust him implicitly”.

#Independent #Acquisitions #Sales #London

13
Haringtons Buying Agencies

In an industry where experience really counts, Haringtons has the benefit of two of its most established and respected personalities.

Jonathan Harington set up Lane Fox’s buying arm in 1986, while Saul Empson began his career in the London resi property market in 1985.

It’s said that what they don’t know about prime residential property probably isn’t worth knowing. 2018 was a £120m year for the firm, with a number of notable deals.

#Independent #Acquisitions #Rentals #London #Country

14
Garrington Buying Agencies

Founded by TV’s Phil Spencer in 1996, Garrington remains right at the forefront of the industry, with comprehensive coverage and one of the largest client (and staff) rosters on our list.

Over 100 house-hunters were represented by the ten-office firm last year, and few are doing more to bring buying agency into the mainstream.

MD Jonathan Hopper is a leading player in setting buying agency industry standards, as a board member of The Property Ombudsman, representing buying agents, and a council member of the Association of Residential Property Finders.

The firm’s insightful research and analysis should be on every serious buyer’s radar.

#Independent #Acquisitions #National #London #Country #International

15
Alex Stroud Property Consultants Buying Agencies

Nine years after striking out on his own, former Savills man Stroud has just completed his 150th transaction.

Renowned for giving a highly personal and attentive service, he relies solely on referrals from previous clients. The mark of a great buying agent, he remains extremely active during downturns in the market.

The majority of his acquisitions are between £3m and £10m, and he averages between 12-15 of them a year, making him one of the most active buying agents in Prime Central London.

Aside from the impressive deal milestone, notable recent acquisitions have included an “incredible” flat in Marylebone, sourced off-market and agreed at “considerably less” than the £7m guide price, and a “fabulous” home in South Ken – secured within a month for clients who had been searching on their own for over a year.

#Independent #Acquisitions #National #London #Sales

16
SP Property Group Buying Agencies

Masterminded by its high-profile MD, Jo Eccles, SP Property Group has evolved from a boutique acquisition outfit into a major player on the property management scene, looking after a whop- ping £1bn worth of residential rental property for its landlord clients.

In one of 2018’s big wins, the block management team was appointed by super-prime developer Lodha UK to handle the building manage- ment of its Lincoln Square scheme, and we hear SP is in talks with other developments of a similar calibre.

The search & acquisition team, which doubled in size in 2018, successfully exchanged on 14 properties for buying clients over the last 12 months, at a combined value of £36m (with ongoing searches totalling a further £14m).

Showing the breadth of the firm’s appeal, 2018’s client roster included a well-known reality TV star, the CEOs of listed global companies, and a senior member of the Saudi royal family.

The rental & relocation team, meanwhile, exchanged on 16 properties, three of which went through in the £20k pcm range.

An in-demand commentator, Eccles herself is the weekly property columnist for London’s most read newspaper, Metro, and sits on the Sunday Times’ “Ask The Experts” panel.

#Acquisitions #Rentals #PropertyManagement #Independent #London

17
The Collection LLP Buying Agencies

Caroline Takla’s multi-award winning operation looks after HNW clients from 41 different countries, including royalty, Forbes-listed billionaires and Bollywood stars.

The Mayfair-based firm offers an in-house Vastu Shastra consultancy to cater to Indian buyers, and Takla herself is fluent in Arabic. 80% of new business is referred in by previous clients.

A very successful final quarter brought the total value of property exchanged deals before the end of 2018 to more than £45m, with over £26m in the pipeline; impressively, the team managed to secure a house on Wycombe Square in Holland Park for 33% less than the seller paid for it in 2008.

“True experts” proclaimed one former client, describing the offering as “the best agency for overseas buyers who don’t know where to start”.

#Independent #Acquisitions #Sales #Development #PropertyManagement #London #International

18
Lichfields Buying Agencies

While many firms tend to gravitate towards the capital’s plentiful period stock, Lichfields has shrewdly carved a niche in the off-plan sphere, and talented director Ed Tryon is said to have acquired more off-plan real estate in central London than any other agent.

#Independent #Acquisitions #Rentals #PCL

19
Heaton & Partners Buying Agencies

The top-end consultancy set up in 2013 by the vastly experienced Ed Heaton – formerly of Property Vision, Savills and Beauchamp Estates – has expanded rapidly to become a purchasing power- house covering London and all Southern counties.

A strong buying team includes alumni from Property Vision, Savills, Strutt & Parker, Chesterfields – and the Grenadier Guards.

The 22 deals completed in 2018 included a “particularly pleasing” acquisition in Wiltshire, secured after a lot of fast-paced legwork against competing buyers over the Easter Weekend. “Immediately before we exchanged one of the other parties tried to gazump us,” says Ed Heaton. “Their buying agent then approached us after exchange offering to buy the contract off our client for a 25% premium over and above the price we had paid. Our client declined and is now very happily ensconced in their new home.”

The firm also deserves special mention for pulling off a rare “double deal”, securing an off-market house for a client, and sorting the vendors’ onward purchase within the given two-week window.

“A wealth of industry experience and nice people too,” gushed a long-standing collaborator.

#Independent #Acquisitions #London #Country #National

20
Middleton Advisors Buying Agencies

Mark Parkinson and Tom Hudson founded their firm on five watch-words: focus, independence, trust, diligence and knowledge.

On these admirable aims has been built a highly-respected, 13-strong operation, perhaps best known for its encyclopedic knowledge of the country market, but now also establishing itself as a key player in the capital.

2018 marked a record year for Middleton in terms of transactions completed, the combined value of which added up to an impressive £168m.

The rental offering has also been gaining momentum, as increasing numbers of buyers look to keep their options open.

“Middleton always goes that extra mile to find the best property to suit the needs of every client,” said one happy custom- er; “simply the best in class”; “a safe pair of hands”; “pleasant, personable and charming”, remarked others.

#Independent #Acquisitions #Rentals #London #Country

21
Quintessentially Estates Buying Agencies

The sister company of concierge pioneer Quintessentially promises clients “access to the inaccessible” and manages high value searches in the most glamorous of destinations, including New York, LA, Hong Kong, Portugal, Monaco Switzerland and Dubai.

With over 150 employees operating from eight international offices, Quintessentially Estates is taking on the world, without losing focus on what’s important to clients.

“They’ve always provided an outstanding service and were able to source incredible properties”, remarked one long-term collaborator.

2018 saw the firm open a new heritage-themed office in Belgravia, offering buying, selling, renting, lettings and property management/concierge services, which is designed to “transcend property norms”.

“We sell a lifestyle, not just a property”, goes the mantra.

#Acquisitions #Rentals #Sales #Lettings #PropertyManagement #London #International

22
Banda Property Developers

Founded by the dynamic Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in 2007, Banda Property has evolved into a key player on both the development and acquisition scenes. This means clients have the immeasurable benefit of an in-house development arm, responsible for delivering some of London’s best new boutique schemes.

After starting her career at Savills, Head of Private Clients Louisa Brodie went on to roles at Kaye & Carey, Brodie Crammond and Turnbull, before joining Banda to head up the property search division. With over 15 years experience, she has a wealth of knowledge and a detailed understanding of the machinations of London’s prime property market.

#Independent #Acquisitions #Development #Design #London

23
Sterling Private Office Buying Agencies

Founded in 2017 by three former Knight Frank buying agents (Jonathan Mount, Sam McArdle, and Rachel Thompson) this impressive new outfit has already built up a strong presence in London – handling £75m-worth of transactions over the last 12 months and advising clients with budgets ranging from £1m to over £100m (one of the standout deals of 2018 saw the team negotiate a whopping £9m saving on a £26m purchase).

Prime country acquisitions have since been added to the menu of services, via a new office run by another TBS alumnus, Nick Mead, and we can expect big things from this challenger agency in the year ahead.

Clients describe the founders as “absolute perfectionists” and their firm as a “top class outfit”.

#Acquisitions #Rentals #Sales

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