Strong Opinion from our Stable of Star Turns
With Property, Face Time Beats Facebook
The lure of virtual communication has, of course, many benefits and while I’ve spent the last week in South America I’ve been Skyping away with clients. I have assiduously kept the camera feature off for fear of appearing too smug. Emails too have been zinging across the Atlantic as we’re in the middle of rather precarious negotiations for an eighteen million pound flat.
I’ve always maintained that finding the right property is only one part of my job – the more complex and nuanced side is seeing the negotiations through. It’s during this time, and it tends to be the greater the sum spent the more cradling needed, that real diplomacy and considered responses are required.
I’ve seen a twelve million pound deal fall apart over a dishwasher – that was in my inexperienced youth and if it came to it now, I’d go out and buy a Miele myself and have done.
The seller (in this case our client) of the flat is a great fan of social media. It’s on his behest that I joined both Linkedin and Facebook this last week. Fortunately my appetite for FB was sated during a four hour stop-over at Pistarini airport and I’m ‘over it’ as my American friends would say.
It’s just too time consuming and I can’t imagine why my client wanted me to join unless it was to add to his tally of friends. Or create a sense of envy as I flick through endless photos of him on his yacht/chalet in Gstaad/various Aman style resorts across the world. It all seemed rather desperate to me – such public displays of wealth.
As sun-drenched images drifted across my screen an irate email from the purchaser popped up – he wants a list of guarantees before he exchanges. I’ve tried that hackneyed line of ‘taking a view’ but it doesn’t seem to wash with him. He wants assurances that he can chop and change the apartment and won’t come into resistance from either the residents committee or the local borough – knowing the glacial pace at which said borough moves and the seller’s desire for a quick sale we’re gliding towards irate territory.
The vendor (as he’s wont to make clear) has what he labels ‘Fuck you money’ and is prepared to do just what that makes him capable of.
On arrival in London I have breakfast with the purchaser proceeded by coffee with seller. It takes all my most emollient efforts to smooth wealthy egos and attempt to create sense of unity between both parties. I suggest a common foe in the council – it’s always good to be united in dislike whether justified or not. It seems to have done the trick for now and the deal is on track. Sometimes ‘face time’ beats ‘facebook’.
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In this new anti-tax-avoidance era, when so many tax reliefs have been withdrawn, I've heard that investing in a Business Property Renovation Allowance scheme is one of the few remaining good opportunities for maxing your tax position. Is it true that you can get up to 100 per cent tax relief on the amount invested? And what exactly are these schemes? How do they work? What are the upsides? Downsides?
In this climate, it is a relief to see one potentially attractive tax allowance come through unscathed from recent criticism
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Links to blogs we like
Long or Short Capital
The Wealth Report
Real Time Economics
Iain Dale's Diary
ITA Wealth Management
The Lesperance Letter