The high-end estate agent building his dream home

Jack Malnick of TK International

Jack Malnick of TK International - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Jack Malnick of TK International is converting a shop in Islington into the perfect London batchelor pad

What’s special about your agency?

My colleagues and I are all incredibly driven and with a 150 years combined local experience we have experienced the highs and lows of the property market and dealt with a wide variety of people from all walks of life. Building relationships with clients over the years has led to continuous recommendations which is something we are immensely proud of. We have a great team here with a range of different characters and personalities, and everyone brings something to the table – it works perfectly.

Where do you live and with whom?

I am living in Muswell Hill with a friend whilst work is being done to my new flat in Islington.

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

I managed to get very lucky with my current place. I was buying from a developer in Hackney who, on the day we were to exchange contracts, decided he wanted a lot more money than we had agreed for a flat he had not even finished – charming guy. I walked away from it and a couple of weeks later saw a shop in Angel that had just fallen through, and bought the shop. It was my perfect location in the heart of Islington and with a bit of research I discovered there was a chance I could build a flat above and behind it. I get to do what everyone dreams of – build my perfect home from the bottom up, in the exact position I would want it to be.

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

Something that wouldn’t leave me stuck behind a desk, probably sport related and ideally somewhere sunny. I am very active and competitive (which is what brought me into this in the first place!). Either that or a job involving problem solving – I love a challenge.

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

I bought my first place five years ago – it was a run-down ex-council three-bed duplex garden flat in Islington. It needed a complete overhaul, leaked and had mice problems. Perfect. Actually buying was a bit of an eye-opener. A lot of estate agents start quite young, before having bought anything themselves, and spend their days telling people how to buy whilst not having gone through the process themselves. Going through it all made me realise just how painful and nerve-racking it can be sometimes.

What’s your dream house?

A classic Georgian house that has character but a very modern interior with great views, close to a vibrant area. Throw in a football/rugby and cricket pitch, a couple of horses, tennis and squash courts plus swimming pool and I think that might just about do. If we could move Lake Zurich and the mountains to London then that would work nicely.

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

Six years now and plenty of surprises. One of the recurring themes though are the lengths that people are prepared to go in order to get something they want, whilst others are prepared to lose out purely on points of principle. When buying or selling the most sensible, intelligent and grounded people can become the most irrational.

How has the local property market changed since you started out?

It never really changes – they are the same properties just different people and higher prices. Everyone wants the perfect place, in the perfect location, at the perfect price and the demand in our key areas of Hampstead, Belsize Park and Primrose Hill never decreases.

What are the most common mistakes clients make?

It’s hard to say that a client has made a mistake – yes you may be frustrated they have not taken your advice and accepted a “great” offer but given time they will get their price: the market always catches up no matter how long it takes or we find just that one person who falls in love with the place. The mistake, if any, is the client usually thinking it will happen sooner rather than later.

What are your top tips for the local area?

A sunny day on the Heath looking over the ponds or down towards London is hard to beat, particularly if you have just left one of the great beer gardens some of the local pubs have. Avoid driving around Hampstead and Belsize during the school run if you value your sanity and want to get anywhere near your destination in good time.