Swimming pools, both indoor and outdoor, his and her bathrooms, accommodation for staff, and endless tech-powered gadgets are just some of the luxuries sought by wealthy homebuyers. They want a certain lifestyle but what this looks like depends on the stage of life they’ve reached.
Those with school-age children want to live close to the right schools and surround themselves with similar people in a prestigious location but they’re equally happy to travel over an hour to see their friends or will invite them to stay. This group values open-plan living space but with a separate playroom to avoid plastic toys strewn across the floor - a nod to the minimalism trend which has increased in popularity. Security and privacy are both highly desired which often means private grounds without neighbours peering over their neatly trimmed privet hedges.
Some want a base within easy reach of London, perhaps a large detached property with a small house to one side for staff. This group may well have a home on every continent and are among the world’s richest. They will likely have a place in central London but will also want a country pad, probably within two hours of the Capital.
Very wealthy retirees seek a property with room to house their staff and enjoy private walks within their own grounds because they like to feel secure. They enjoy hosting dinner parties and events but also want to feel relaxed and comfortable.
Tennis courts, swimming pools, and croquet lawns usually feature on a wealthy buyer’s wish list. For those in a rural area, a light open plan farmhouse kitchen, complete with an Aga or similar range oven will suit them perfectly, while those buying a townhouse seek a modern tech-heavy kitchen fitted with the latest high-tech oven. Buyers looking at the upper end also want to see oversized marble tiles in the bathrooms with his and her dressing rooms just off the master bedroom - with the room itself spanning to as much as 1,500 sq ft. And then there’s tech such as voice-operated lighting, smart heating and control pads throughout the home connected to a sound system and air conditioning.
There is no precise definition of a HNWI but in 2016 HMRC declared that anyone with assets valued in excess of £10 million was categorised as such.
There’s a second group referred to as ultra-high-net-worth individuals among the finance community who are in a different league and are often dubbed ‘the world’s super-rich’ for good reason. Knight Frank’s Wealth Report suggests this group have a net worth of US$30 million (£24.5m) or more, including their primary residence. These figures seem astonishingly high on paper making it seem impossible that more than a handful meet the criteria but the report suggests there are around 155,996 across Europe, with each individual owning up to four homes. On average, 32% of their total wealth is allocated to primary and secondary homes. It's likely their future purchase will be bought off-market, well away from the prying eyes of Rightmove’s avid users which is one of the many reasons HNWIs and UHNWIs turn to buying agents.
With more properties than ever being sold off-market - now roughly one in 4 sellers choosing this route over a certain price point - hiring a buying agent, (also known as a search agent or a property agent), will secure home movers a spot at the front of the queue for the moment these ‘hidden’ homes come to market. The super-rich value discretion and baulk at the idea of their new bedroom plastered across the portals for all and sundry to see, so they will always use a buying agent to access these ‘secret’ homes on their behalf.
HNWIs regularly have a budget of £4million and up for their next property. They’re busy people who don’t have the time to research the true value of a property, check in with estate agents, or place sealed bids because they’re closing their own deals for their highly paid day jobs. They hire a buying agent to do this heavy lifting because they value an experienced property negotiator who can play multiple roles including confidante, advisor and more. We take professional advice for all other investments, such as wine, gold, or equities, so why wouldn’t we do the same when buying bricks and mortar? Sellers have estate agents to look after their interests, smart buyers have buying agents.
With property likely to be the biggest personal purchase most of us make, every buyer is particular, and with the right support from a search agent, buyers are more likely to secure the right home at the right price, with or without the croquet lawn.
Jason Corbett is the Founder of Rowallan Buying Agents. They cover all of SW London, Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire and Sussex and Kent. He has an in-depth knowledge of Gloucestershire, Somerset, Dorset and Scotland.