From buying agent to Prime Minister? Aspiration is key for this Hampstead based property mogul
PUBLISHED: 10:24 14 July 2015 | UPDATED: 11:19 14 July 2015
Camilla Dell, managing partner and founder of Black Brick Property Solutions, wanted to be Prime Minister when she was little and in the future can see herself becoming an MP
What’s special/different about your agency?
Black Brick is a buying agency, so unlike estate agents who act for sellers, we only ever act for buyers – ensuring the buyer gets the best possible deal. Whilst there are a number of buying agencies in existence we are one of very few who actually do it professionally. We have a large team, an office in Mayfair and over the last eight years we have successfully acquired over £0.6 billion on behalf of our clients. We are also one of the only buying agencies to offer both a professional managing agency and vacant care service in house.
Where do you live and with whom?
I live in West Hampstead with my husband and two daughters. On the weekends we have a beautiful home in the Cotswolds we escape to.
Why did you buy your current property?
We bought our house over 10 years ago. At the time it was split into two flats and we rented the basement flat out. Over time we have put the house back into one and added a garden extension. It’s been perfect as the house as allowed us to grow over time.
What’s your favourite thing about it?
The location is wonderful. We are walking distance from Waitrose, the tube and some of Hampstead’s best girls’ schools, which is handy since we have two daughters!
If you weren’t a buying agent what would you be?
I wanted to be an astronaut when I was little. Then I wanted to be Prime Minister at one point! The last General Election really inspired me. There was so much at stake. I would love to get into politics and be an MP one day and give something back.
When did you buy your first property and what was it like?
My first property was an off plan investment flat in Hackney. At the time I thought the area was awful but now East London is one of the hottest places to be and prices have skyrocketed.
What’s your dream house?
I love where I live, but if money was no object I would love to buy a big house on Hamilton Terrace with a garden, swimming pool, gym, cinema room and parking!
What’s the most shocking/surprising thing you’ve seen on the job?
The clients we look after are really what make the job so exciting. We have represented royalty, movie stars, footballers, musicians, magicians and some of the world’s most successful businessmen. It’s a privilege to be the company these people come to when they buy a property.
I think one of the most surprising things about this job is how huge deals can fall apart over the smallest things. For example we once had a deal fall apart over a train - not a working train, but a restored carriage in the grounds used for entertaining. The vendor wanted to keep it and our client wanted it included in the sale. It was like two small boys fighting over a toy, except this was a £35 million deal!
In what ways has the north London property market changed since you started out?
Eight years ago investors and foreign buyers were all about Knightsbridge, Chelsea, Mayfair or Belgravia. But now St John’s Wood, Regents Park and Hampstead compete with these areas. Developers have come in and worked on some amazing projects, lifting prices as a result.
What are your top tips for things to do in north London?
You can’t beat a stroll in Primrose Hill, one of London’s prettiest parks with the best views. Winter or summer it never fails to delight. The playground at the bottom of the hill is great for kids and celeb spotting, with David Walliams, Peter Crouch, Jamie Oliver and Robbie Williams being regular visitors. The high street also has a great selection of shops and restaurants and a fabulous French cheese, bread and salami stall on weekends.