Meet the estate agent who worked her way up from Saturday girl to manager
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
Claire Beauchamp-Ward started at Prickett and Ellis as a weekend job. 18 years later she still working for them, as well as persuing her passion for restoring old properties to their former glory
What’s special about your agency?
The staff in our company have always the most special thing about Prickett and Ellis, which was established in 1767. We pride ourselves on having ‘real’ people here who not only have huge amounts of knowledge and professionalism but who genuinely care about their clients. As a truly independent agent, Nigel Ellis, a direct descendant, has established a network of six interconnected, individually designed offices. We are very excited about our new office opening in the heart of Muswell Hill on Fortis Green Road to celebrate out 250th anniversary. Designed in the style of Renie Mackintosh, it is really stunning and I can’t wait to be working up there.
Where do you live and with whom?
I live in a lovely road, Bidwell Gardens, very close to where I work, with my husband Simon, who is a landscaper and my two children who go to school locally. We have an elderly dog Poppy and four chickens who live in the garden and give us the best eggs.
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Why did you buy your current property? What’s your favourite thing about it?
We bought our current house because we have a real love of restoring properties to their former glory, it was very run down and rented out for several years, but under the grime were some lovely original features. The house is on a corner and so I love its open aspect and the new garden my husband built me last year is divine.
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If you weren’t an estate agent what would you be?
If I wasn’t an estate agent, I would have definitely loved to have done interior design, which is a great hobby for me now. I find re-vamping furniture or changing a room completely absorbing and my house is full of unwanted pieces from various homes I have sold over the years.
When did you buy your first property and what was it like?
I was incredibly lucky to inherited a deposit for my first flat from my grandfather, who was a real inspiration, hard-working and self-made, and knew the value of investing in property. With that deposit I was able to buy a 2 bedroom flat in Crouch End about 20 years ago, which at £72k seemed a huge sum at the time.
What’s your dream house?
I would love to have a really big house in the country, I have a really soft spot for Edwardian gentleman’s residences, but anywhere old and big would be fine by me.
How long have you been an estate agent? What’s the most shocking/surprising thing you’ve seen on the job?
I started at the agency as a Saturday girl, working for my mum who was an agent in Highgate. A few years later, after doing a degree and travelling abroad I came back to agency, that is now 18 years ago. We really see some sights doing this job and some things can be quite shocking but I think the thing is that we often come in at the end of some really sad times for people including divorce or bereavement and so I think our job is to help as much as we can and be compassionate.
How has the local property market changed since you started out?
In some ways the market has changed hugely, the Internet of course is a major game-changer. The new wave of Internet agents have really made the more traditional agents ‘sit up’ and assess where they are and what they are providing. However, I strongly believe that most things have not changed and what people really want is to feel valued and outstanding customer service is at the heart of that.
What are your top tips for the local area?
We are really spoilt in this area. There is a great mix of superb schools, great housing stock, transport and wonderful open green spaces within easy reach.
Are you good at Monopoly?
I have bred some very competitive children, and as they say, ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’, so I would say that I like to think I am the best at Monopoly, but I am not sure my family would agree with me.