Developing from scratch in Johannesburg and getting locked in flats with clients give north London domesticity added appeal

Peter Malcomess of Chestertons Kentish Town

Peter Malcomess of Chestertons Kentish Town - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Turning a plot of land in Johannesburg into a four-bedroom house was a formative experience for Kentish Town estate agent Peter Malcomess of Chestertons NW5.

What’s special/different about your agency?

We are one of London’s largest agents with an international office network of over 60 offices across 15 countries and 5 continents. We encourage thought leadership and pride ourselves on being proactive and ethical with a very strong market presence and a real sense of customer service.

Where do you live and with whom?

I live in North London with my wife and family.

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

At the time of buying my family unit was growing so we needed a larger house, in a good area but also one that was close to good schools - sounds like the plight of most parents but these were the most important reasons why we brought our current home. I wouldn’t say there is a particular feature of the house I like more than any other, it’s the fact that it’s the place where my children grew up that makes it so special.

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Do you prefer a fixer-upper or plush new-build?

I am definitely a fixer upper, I don’t think you beat being able to put you own mark on a property by blending period features with contemporary design , Its gives a property a unique personality which is difficult to achieve with a plush new build.

If you knew then what you know now, what would you tell yourself when you bought your current home?

I would tell myself two things, firstly ‘know the market’, knowledge is key to buying the right property at the right price. The second thing would be to be patient. The right property will always come along, but be ready to act quickly when it does!

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

My first property was a plot of land in Johannesburg. I eventually built a four bedroom house.

What’s your dream house?

Ideally and also very realistically a Victorian double fronted house with around 3 to 4 bedroom and 3 floors, and of course a large garden.

How long have you been an estate agent? What’s the worst thing you’ve seen on the job?

Not long enough...!! The funniest, although it wasn’t that funny at the time was when I managed to lock myself and the applicants into a flat, we had no idea how long we would be there fortunately we only had to wait an hour for the locksmith but it was the longest hour. Needless to say they did not buy the flat! I haven’t really seen anything really bad.....yet...thank goodness.

What are the most common mistakes clients make?

Despite receiving professional advice, they sometimes insist on their property being introduced to the market for much than it’s actually worth. It’s important to listen to your agent when it comes to pricing a property correctly as they will have a lot of experience of the market and will want to achieve the best price for the property. Putting the property on the market for the right price will ensure that a buyer is found quickly. Buyers tend to be very ‘savvy’ when it comes to putting in offers and will be very aware of local property values.

What are your top tips for the local area?

Embrace the area, Like Camden, Kentish Town is a great place for emerging cultural scenes and independent shops but without the influx of tourists. There is often music and art events going on under the radar so keep an eye on local magazines and websites to keep up to date on local event as well as shop and restaurant openings.