The Belsize Park agent with his eye on Buckingham Palace
- Credit: Archant
Being threatened with hockey sticks by unhappy tenants in his first job showed Amit Batra, owner of Lexingtons Residential, how not to run an estate agent.
What’s special about your agency?
We’ve been established since 1995 and customers aren’t just a number here. We treat everyone as an individual and they get to meet the boss – I show them properties. I’ve got a degree in estate management so I’m more qualified and experienced and able to advise them on the market.
Where do you live and with whom?
I live in Golders Green with my wife and 11 year old daughter.
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Why did you buy your current property? What’s your favourite thing about it?
The prime reason was that it was about 10 to 15 minutes drive from work. My favourite thing about it is the garden and the off street parking.
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If you weren’t an estate agent what would you be?
I’d be a business consultant or maybe even a writer. I read more business-related things but I don’t know whether I’d write fiction or something more related to business. I’m happy with agency at the moment though.
When did you buy your first property and what was it like?
My first property was bought in 1997 and it was a three-bedroom terraced house in East Finchley that needed a bit of tlc. I saved up and got it at a good price, as agents do.
What’s your dream house?
I say this to a lot of people: if we all had our way, we’d all live in Buckingham Palace. Everyone agrees that Buckingham Palace is it, but their three-bed in Belsize Park comes second. So my dream house would be Buckingham Palace or else as close as possible to it. I’m a city person and would love to live as close to the centre of town as possible.
How long have you been an estate agent? What’s the most shocking/surprising thing you’ve seen on the job?
I’ve been an estate agent since I was 22, so 24 years. The very first company I worked for kept having people coming in demanding their deposits back, tenants were marching on them with hockey sticks asking for their money. They were advertising properties that didn’t exist. I was worried I wasn’t going to get paid so I left pretty quickly.
How has the local property market changed since you started out?
It’s changed dramatically. When I was starting out properties were advertised in newspapers and the public would read then for everything they wanted to know. Now it’s all on the internet. The change isn’t always for the better. In the old days of print advertising an agent would never pay to put in a false or out of date advert, now with online advertising it happens far more often.
What are the most common mistakes clients make?
I beg landlords if they’re putting in a new kitchen or redeveloping to make sure they put in a dishwasher. Only last week I was on my way to a viewing and the prospective tenant asked if there was a dishwasher. When I said no they decided to skip that viewing.
Vendors ask themselves if they were a buyer and they wanted a property how much they would pay for their home. We work out the profile of the buyer who’s likely to be interested in their particular property. The wider the profile, the higher the chance of selling that property and the quicker it will sell.
What are your top tips for the local area?
Belsize Park has a number of attractions. People like the style of houses with the white stucco, it’s near transport, it’s got a villagey atmosphere, it’s close to two major parks and a choice of schools.