Mollie Crowley is part of the Lettings Team at Harrods Estates, working from the Chelsea office. Mollie joined Harrods Estates as a Letting Negotiator in 2016, bringing with her a wealth of experience in prime central London luxury lettings: working with some of the world’s most luxurious properties she shares with us what she thinks of lettings, Chelsea and the current and future market.
Did you always want to work with property?
Yes, property has always interested me. My dad builds real estate, we always lived in houses being completely renovated so from a young age it was always an interest of mine.
What is a typical day at work for you?
I usually go to the office in the morning and check emails, the days vary because viewings can happen at any time, from 8.30am until 6pm. I will usually do a call out at some point in the day: to look at a potential new instruction that we may be taking on, or to show property to clients. In addition to this there may be meetings with corporate clients, both in respect of managing properties on their behalf and also securing property for them to rent, on behalf of executives. There is also admin and paper work to keep on top off, updating tenants and landlords with viewing feedback and market knowledge, rental valuation of property and ensure that paperwork for each letting is processed correctly and on time.
Tell us a little about your career:
I’ve previously worked at Pastor Real Estate in Mayfair, John D Wood Chelsea and Mountgrange Heritage in Kensington. I have been working in lettings for the past seven years and have a strong understanding of the Prime Central London market.
What is your favourite part of London?
Kensington and Notting Hill. I love how you have some of the most expensive and grand houses such as Lancaster Crescent, which is just a stone’s throw from the more diverse area of Ladbroke Grove and Portobello Market. The area also has some charming and fun places to go out: I particularly like Hillgate Village because of the quaint coloured houses and the non-London feel to the place. Not to mention the hallowed Hillgate pub, which has the best crab and avocado on sourdough I’ve ever had.
How is working in Chelsea?
Chelsea is a great area to work in with a diverse range of property from contemporary Chelsea Harbour and the beautiful period buildings on Cheyne Walk overlooking the river, to the quintessentially British stucco fronted houses by South Kensington. It’s always busy with a really diverse mix of people. I love going out to eat in Bibendum and PJ’s. There is so much to do in Chelsea and I never get bored of the Saatchi gallery. Duke of York Square pretty much offers everything you need from brilliant restaurants to great shops. The Chelsea office is such a fun environment and we are starting to get busy, following the annual summer lull in the market, as people think about options and moving before the holiday period end of the year. We currently have an exciting range of instructions form super ultra-prime houses and penthouses, to more modest luxury period mansion apartments.
Has the market been affected by Brexit?
Yes definitely, the main thing it has affected is more people taking the decision to put property on the market to let and making that decision more quickly. There has been an increase in people looking to rent, notably Europeans, because they want to wait to see what will happen with Brexit and how it will affect the UK property market before committing to buy. This is great for the lettings market and I believe that once things are more certain with Brexit it will be good for the buyer’s market too, as those who are renting will make the transition to purchase.
What trends do you forecast for 2018?
I think prices will remain flat in prime central London lettings. While landlords will not see rental income increasing at a similar rate to the last 4-5 years, this will help ensure a busier market.
What do you think makes a good lettings negotiator?
Commitment, flexibility, hard work and a willingness to go the extra mile for clients: both landlords and tenants.
Do you find the work challenging?
The work can be challenging particularly when you are trying to encourage a landlord to accept a slightly lower price than usual, as you believe the tenant will be right for their property and circumstances. Many landlords would prefer longer term tenants than change every twelve months. It is about establishing a good relationship and ideally matching the right tenant with the right property and landlord, in the prevailing market. Some people hold their own views and opinions on their property and the market: which can be challenging.
Educating people about the market can also be. The prime central London market is distinct and different from the rest of London and the UK. Most things people hear or read in the media are generalisations for the country as a whole that do not acknowledge specialist markets like prime central London.
Do you find the work rewarding?
Yes, very. Seeing someone settle into a new home and hearing how grateful they are for how easy you made the process for them is rewarding. Equally, seeing someone redecorating or renovating a property from scratch, ready to let, going through the journey with them and being asked for opinion and advise, prior to letting it for them, is one of my favourite parts of the job.
Who is renting properties at the moment in Chelsea?
A huge range of clients, but I would say the majority of people renting are families at the moment with a few young professionals and couples.
What are some of your favourite properties currently available to let through Harrods Estates?
I love this property because the apartment has been finished immaculately with Harrods furnishings
A stunning triplex apartment with incredible view of Princes Gardens from the private terrace
A beautifully presented apartment, situated in the heart of South Kensington, moments from some of London’s finest shops, bars and restaurants