Top 10 London Selling
‘The stamp duty single-handedly brought the market to its knees,’ says the impressive Louise Hewlett. ‘As humans, we don’t change. What’s changed is how to finance [buying a home]: I don’t know if you’ve seen a mortgage form recently?’ she says, with a hint of a smile.
Hewlett notes that these difficulties have changed the role of agent. It used to be a role of showing property. ‘I’m finding that that is no longer the case. We are everything to that person. [The client] has to trust you and for that period you’re the most important person in their life. You become the marriage counsellor, the school adviser. That’s what makes it so interesting. It’s all about the people.’
Nowadays, she says, ‘lateral living has become very popular’ with the typical vertical townhouse no longer a first choice. Hewlett, who both buys and sells (‘I am a traditional oldfashioned estate agent’ ), is widely admired in the industry. One peer enthuses: ‘In my wildest dreams I wish I had her client list.’
Hewlett grew up in Abu Dhabi – when she was 19, her father told her to get a job. ‘I was just extremely lucky and I knew a lot of people, and went to work for one of the ruler’s wives who had a big rental portfolio.’ And she hasn’t looked back.