Harrods Estates specialise in the sale and letting of prime residential properties in Central London, with offices in Knightsbridge, Mayfair and Chelsea. The company is also due to open a new outlet in Kensington. Jamie Ndah caught up with Director, Shirley Humphrey, to find out more.
LM: How long have you worked in the luxury property sector and when did your journey within Harrods Estates begin?
SH: I have worked in property for almost 20 years now. I joined Harrods Estates in 2000 to head up the Residential New Development & Marketing Departments. Prior to that, I worked for leading UK house builder, Berkeley Homes, as the Sales Manager for Harrods Village in South West London.
LM: What is your personal definition of luxury? What luxurious item could you not live without?
SH: Luxury is quality, attention to detail and fantastic design. My luxury item that I couldn’t live without is jewellery as I love collecting beautiful pieces. I also adore Scented candles such as Roza Dove, Jo Malone, Diptyque and Christian Dior.
LM: What makes Harrods Estates so special?
SH: We specialise in offering the finest property in prime central London. Our highly skilled team is on hand to provide advice and expertise to both sellers and buyers looking to invest in the London market. Being part of the global Harrods department store sets us apart from other Estate Agents. The brand opens doors for us around the world and we can offer so much more than an estate agency service. From personal shopping, interior design, private jets or arranging a fully stocked fridge, we can do it. We have clients that have come back to us year after year. Many have been repeat clients for over 15 years.
We also have a fantastic Asset Management service which is renowned as one of the best in London. The level of service we offer at developments such as Ebury Square is that of a luxury hotel, with top security, 24 hour service and all the extra benefits for being part of the Harrods Department store.
LM: London is a popular destination for property. How has this benefited the luxury property market there?
SH: London is a global hub, and therefore attracts wealthy individuals from across the globe who are looking for a secure investment, in a stable marketplace. London also has wonderful lifestyle benefits. Here we have some of the best restaurants, theatre, museums and hotels – everything the world has to offer on the doorstep.
LM: London has seen a number of significant new property developments over the past few years how do you feel this has impacted the luxury property industry in the city?
SH: There is a continued high demand for luxury property in central London and a shortage of stock. New developments which offer a luxury lifestyle and the highest quality finishes will be very popular with the discerning purchaser, and therefore adds great value to the area and contributes to the increase in property values in prime central London.
LM: Harrods Estates supports various charitable organisations. Can you please tell our readers about your associations with Macmillan Cancer Support and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, and why these associations are so important to Harrods Estates?
SH: Donating to charities is part of the Harrods corporate philosophy and is extremely important. The Harrods Group is involved in a range of charity organisations and has worked with Macmillan Cancer Support and Great Ormond Street Hospital for many years. Harrods has also recently become founding corporate partner of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Foundation, which involves giving back in different ways across the borough. All of the Harrods staff participate, helping local businesses, residents and schools.
Part two of the interview with Shirley Humphrey, Director Of Harrods Estates by Jaime Ndah
LM: What are the types of luxurious properties that are sold or let by Harrods Estates?
SH: We sell and let the finest properties in prime central London locations including Knightsbridge, Mayfair, Kensington, Chelsea and Belgravia. Our properties can range from one bedroom pied à terres, to penthouses and grand houses.
LM: What is the profile of your clients wishing to purchase or let a luxurious property from Harrods Estates?
SH: A client wishing to buy or rent a luxury property through Harrods Estates will be highly successful, knowledgeable and wealthy. Many are captains of industry with families. We work with people from around the world including those from China, the Middle East, Russia, the UK and Europe.
LM: What has been the most lavish property sold by Harrods Estates? Is the sky the limit with regards to budget?
SH: We sell properties which are anywhere from £1million to £100 million. If the property is right, people will pay a premium to have it!
We have been lucky to work on some of the most prestigious developments in Central London including Trevor Square, One Hyde Park and The Knightsbridge. We are spoilt for choice on our favourite and it is impossible to choose.
LM: Away from Harrods Estates what are your favourite luxurious destinations and properties in the world?
SH: For me, my favourite destination is the South of France, but I also love New York and parts of Asia such as Malaysia.
LM: Please tell our readers about your recent Harrods Estates pop-up shop and why it proved to be such a hit?
SH: The pop-up shop took place in January for three weeks, where Harrods Estates occupied three windows. We are the only department store in the world with a property division, and it is an excellent way to enhance awareness for the luxury properties we have for sale and let. We have had clients coming in to buy a pair of tights and walk out with a luxury home!
The pop-up shop this year was even more special as we were able to launch the stunning Manhattan Loft Gardens development in Stratford. We had lots of interest from investors, students and those looking to invest in a new London home right next to the Olympic Park and Westfield.
LM: Harrods Estates has offices situated in Knightsbridge, Mayfair and Chelsea. Please tell our readers about your new office opening soon in Kensington, and what you have planned for the opening?
SH: Opening a new office in Kensington is part of the Harrods Estates expansion plan to grow the number of offices in Central London. We are delighted to be opening the new office on Kensington Church Street in April and we have a fantastic launch party planned to mark the occasion. We have been selling and letting property in Kensington for many years and we are delighted that we will have an office there where people can pop in and ask the team any questions they may have. We also have a commercial office in Paris which is highly successful. With a fantastic team and a 360 luxury service, we can offer our clients everything from personal shopping, theatre tickets and private jets, through to property management.