From showgirl to showing homes for Hampstead agent Helen Duncan
PUBLISHED: 11:28 06 February 2015 | UPDATED: 11:28 06 February 2015
Having lived in a shoe box flat and a full-scale restoration, estate agent Helen Duncan is well-placed to advise clients on all aspects of property.
Name: Helen Duncan,
Occupation: Director of Hampstead estate agents Property Divas
Where do you live and with whom?
St Albans with my partner.
Why did you buy your current property? What’s your favourite thing about it?
We first viewed our 170-year-old flint cottage surrounded by green belt and farmland 10 years ago.
The day we got the keys our friends helped us to brush the inside walls down with yard brooms to remove the blackened cobwebs (that’s what you call good friends!). It was truly horrid but we could see the potential - it has been a real labour of love to restore it.
Do you prefer a fixer-upper or plush new-build?
Hmm... Having lived with rubble for floors and wall footings resembling an archaeological dig whilst we re-configured the layout, the jury’s out with me on that one.
Whilst lovely to put your own stamp on something, some people don’t have the time or inclination. Horses for courses I guess; it certainly appeals to me next time to move into it suited and booted – a lovely thought!
If you knew then what you know now, what would you tell yourself when you bought your current home?
Don’t! ha ha
When did you buy your first property and what was it like?
My first job after uni was a graduate management trainee with a building society. It seemed logical to me, with discounted interest rates, to buy my first house, so I did. I was 22. It was small – shoe box actually - but it was mine.
What’s your dream house?
That would either be a barn conversion with huge vaulted reception, or a beautiful beach-front property with lots of glass and a decked terrace overlooking the sea, preferably somewhere hot.
How long have you been an estate agent? What’s the worst thing you’ve seen on the job?
I pursued professional singing after the building society job because I didn’t want to be one of those people who’d sit back and say “I could have had a professional singing career.” I enjoyed performing in some great roles in the West End for many years. I then decided it was time to get sensible and have a proper job.
I learned my craft working in NW3 from around 1999 and joined forces with Sharron Nachoom – my wonderful co-diva, who had her own property management company in 2006, launching Property Divas together in 2007; so about 15 years.
What are the most common mistakes clients make?
Not coming and talking to us about their property plans/long term strategy.
What are your top tips for the local area?
Take an interest in your community, enjoy the parks, keep an eye to values.
Don’t fall into the longevity rental trap - invest in a property even if its not to live in and is out of the immediate area. Buy the best you can in the best location at a fair price at that time. No-one can look into the future, we can only make educated choices.
Come and talk to us about our specialised property finder service, let us source the best we can in an area of choice and then rent it out and leave it to us to manage and deal with anything pertaining to tenant and property. You will get continuity and deal with only one or two Divas throughout the process.
Why Property Divas?
Because we are a handpicked team of highly experienced and motivated professionals covering north west London. Backed up by unparalleled market knowledge but renowned for our personalised approach, dedicated to helping you buy, sell, rent and let in the capital.
Focusing on service just as much as property, we provide honest advice and cost-effective solutions, tailored to every need, whether you’re looking for management services, are interested in refurbishing, or are searching for your dream home. We are award-winning so we must be doing something right.