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March 12, 2024updated 18 Mar 2024 10:15am

Best country property specialists 2024

Country property specialists are the advisers trusted by high-net-worth clients ready to invest in rural real estate

By Spear's

An escape to the country is a dream held by worn-out urbanites the world over. Even the most cynical city-slickers would struggle not to be charmed by Britain’s finest country houses and estates, or enticed by the prospect of owning a slice of farmland.

Country property specialists are the advisers trusted by high-net-worth clients to invest in rural real estate, whether they want to upgrade their primary residence or expand their property portfolio with a second home or commercial venture.

‘It’s my job to know about every property that can be bought,’ one Top Flight adviser told Spear’s. ‘That way clients have access to the full market.’ This approach is typical of the best country property specialists, who rely on their vast networks and insider knowledge to show homes that aren’t on the open market.

From restored Elizabethan manor houses to innovative new-builds that remain sympathetic to their surroundings, the properties on offer are often one-offs that require just the right meeting of buyer, vendor, time and place – it is the job of the best country property specialists to orchestrate these moments.

Country specialists: names to know

Philip Harvey of Property Vision (left) and Jonathan Hopper of Garrington (right) both return to the Top Flight

Returning to the Spear’s Country Specialists Index this year are industry leaders including Jonathan Hopper, of Garrington, and Philip Harvey, of Property Vision, who both retain their Top Flight ranking. Among the 17 Top Recommended advisers is Jonathan Bramwell, of The Buying Solution.

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There are also a number of new additions to the index. To view the complete list, see the table below, or visit Spears500.com for further details.

Jamie Freeman

Firm: Haringtons
Ranking: Recommended

Freeman works with private clients to secure their dream homes across the southern counties, including Surrey, Somerset, Dorset and Sussex. 

Before joining Haringtons in 2014, Freeman worked for Knight Frank as a senior negotiator, and then within the firm’s specialist HNW buying agency, The Buying Solution. Freeman tells Spear’s fashionable buying areas for HNWs include Hampshire, Wiltshire and Berkshire — areas with exceptional schools and good train routes to London. 

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View the full profile at Spears500.com

Ben Horne

Firm: Middleton Advisors
Ranking: Recommended

As head of country buying at Middleton, Horne acts for private clients who are looking to purchase high-value country houses across the south-west of England. 

Horne completed his first degree from the Royal Agricultural College and went on to serve in the armed forces before embarking on a career in property. Horne also holds a master’s degree in land management and wrote an award-winning thesis on how to improve energy efficiency in listed buildings.

View the full profile at Spears500.com

Gemma Maclaran

Firm: Middleton Advisors
Ranking: Recommended

Maclaran worked in investor relations in the City before deciding to change her career path and has since gone on to become an expert at locating prime property in the Cotswolds. Having grown up in the Cotswolds, Maclaran has a comprehensive knowledge of the area. This is certainly beneficial for her clients, as one recently told Spear’s, ‘Without her help we would never have known about the property or achieved the purchase.’

View the full profile at Spears500.com

Mark Crampton

Firm: Middleton Advisors
Ranking: Recommended

As Middleton’s specialist adviser for Surrey and Sussex, Crampton has acquired an unrivalled knowledge of the area, with more than 14 years’ experience in the sector. He told Spear’s he never takes on more than five or six clients at any given time, which enables him to deliver a dedicated service to each one. 

View the full profile at Spears500.com

Methodology

In selecting and ranking country property specialists, the Spear’s Research Unit conducts extensive research of the market, including interviews with well-informed observers, industry insiders and of course the advisers themselves. These take place both face-to-face, and on video and telephone calls. Candidates for inclusion are asked to fill in a form to provide data and a description of their work and client base. In finalising its selections and rankings, the Spear’s Research Unit employs a proprietary methodology that includes a weighted scoring system. This takes into account factors including an adviser’s standing, reputation, client base, recommendations and testimonials, the firm they represent, their level of engagement with the process and certain industry-specific criteria.

Best country property specialists: the complete list

Find out more

To explore all the Spear’s indices, and to use our find-an-adviser tool to identify the private client adviser who is right for your specific requirements, go to the Spear’s 500 website.

To receive relevant research updates from Spear’s – and thereby give you and your firm the best chance of being included in future Spear’s indices – please register here. If you are an adviser featured in an index and would like to update your profile or provide additional information, please email research@spearswms.com. If you are not featured but would like to be, please fill out our form.

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  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
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  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
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