This high end lettings agent remains cool in a crisis

Marie Beirne, Aston Chase

Marie Beirne, Aston Chase - Credit: Archant

Fire, gas leaks and outed electrics can’t put off tenants of the high end properties Marie Beirne lets out on behalf of clients

What’s special about your agency?

We often deal with high profile clients which adds excitement (I recently rented a house in Belsize Park for £10,000/week for our ‘A-lister’ landlord). We also frequently feature on upscale property programmes, most recently the Channel 5 hit ’How The Other Half Live’ with Eamon Holmes and Ruth Langsford.

Where do you live and with whom?

I live in Hertfordshire with my son, just 20 minutes from north west London but far enough to totally escape at the weekends.

Why did you buy your current property?

I think you can tell very quickly whether a property is right for you. This house had the character that I like and I saw the potential and knew that I could make the changes I would want, plus I could act faster than the other two bidders. It’s a Victorian terrace which has been extended. I like the space, character and my wardrobes!

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

I am drawn to social work, in particular with children, but in reality I think I’d find the system extremely frustrating.

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

It was a good deal, prices had dropped and I bought a one-bedroom second floor flat in a purpose built block with underground parking that I never used. I made some changes and sold for double the purchase price.

What’s your dream house?

I love modern, contemporary and quirky properties such as Paxton House, NW3 (one of my favourites) as it offered a very different way of living. For a rental I‘d choose a property that would be fun and different to live in a for a period of time.

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

Just before Christmas I had a young family moving into a flat and I received a call to say it was burning down. Thankfully it was more smoke than fire and a week later they moved back in. That night I received a call to say there were no electrics in the flat and the burglar alarm was going off. The electrician then told me there was a gas leak. This was fixed and the rule of three thankfully ended there.

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

Sales prices have increased steadily over the years, better quality properties are coming to the lettings market with a larger number of more professional landlords who develop and bring a high quality property to the market. There have been peaks and troughs in the budgets from applicants and indeed we have a wider demographic with an increase in applicants from Europe in particular France, in recent years, due to the opening of two Lycées in north west London.

What are the most common mistakes clients make?

I have to say over pricing. Where properties come to the market recently refurbished then they will achieve excellent rental, however without regular maintenance and full refurbishment properties become dated and this needs to be reflected in the quoted price.

What are your top tips for the local area?

There is an excellent selection of restaurants occupying St John’s Wood High Street with a more eclectic mix of both restaurants and shops in Primrose Hill with the natural beauty and amenities of Regents Park on the doorstep of both locations.

Aston Chase