After a stressful day in Kentish Town, returning home to a village in Essex is heaven

Matthew Stacey, managing director at Matthew James

Matthew Stacey, managing director at Matthew James - Credit: Archant

Matthew Stacey, managing director of Matthew James estate agent, enjoys rural relaxation but says the newly buzzing Fortess Road can’t be beaten for urban fun.

What’s special/different about your agency?

We are a family business with family values. Since 1994 when the company was formed we have had to negotiate our way through two tough recessions.

We’ve been around for a long time now and many people know us, our faces, personalities and the way we work. They know we are professional and that we are not afraid to have difficult conversations if necessary, something I know some agents shy away from. I think this is what separates a quality agent from an average one. Sometimes you have to report the bad news as well as the good and find a solution to move forward. I think we’re good at that.

Where do you live and with whom?

I live in Hatfield Broad Oak, a small village in Essex, with my wife, two daughters and two dogs (an old labrador and an over-energetic pug).

Why did you buy your current property? What’s your favourite thing about it?

Most Read

I loved the village and the potential the house offered. We’ve been there 15 years and have developed sideways and upwards as the family got bigger. I like the fact that it is secluded and faces a stream so nothing will ever be built opposite. Estate agency in london is stressful so it’s nice to get home and relax.

If you weren’t an estate agent what would you be?

I have absolutely no idea! I always wanted a career in property and from the age of 17 pursued this vigorously.

I’ve always enjoyed sport and fitness so may have chosen a career in this field but given the choice, it was always going to be property for me.

When did you buy your first property and what was it like?

My first property was a studio flat. I bought it in 1989 from a friend who was struggling to sell it but bursting at the seams as he was living there with his wife and new born baby. It was my first experience of living away from the family home. It was small, pretty basic but it was my first home and it felt fantastic.

What’s your dream house?

That’s a tough one. Something rambling by the sea in Cornwall or a modern villa with a big pool somewhere very hot abroad.

What’s the most shocking/surprising thing you’ve seen on the job?

I am a real people person and i just love meeting the colourful characters of Kentish Town and Tufnell Park. From my 30 year career i have plenty of stories but my lips are firmly sealed!

In what ways has the local property market changed since you started out?

Apart from the colossal price increases? The complexion of Kentish Town, Tufnell Park and Dartmouth Park has changed with the introduction of environmental zones, conservation areas, the changing face of the high streets and higher achievment levels of the local schools. These areas are now more exclusive postcodes but still a more affordable option than Hampstead, Highgate or certain parts of Camden Town.

What are your top tips for the local area?

I would definitely recommend a trip to Fortess Road. It has changed enormously in the past 12 months and such outlets as Ruby Violet, the ice cream parlour; Shoe Shop, a stylish bistro; and Jonathan Norris, the fishmonger are all well worth a visit. There’s so much more to Fortess Road now, including a very friendly and well established estate agency that goes by the name of Matthew James & Company.