Top Ten Country
Described by one eminent contemporary as ‘the stand-out performer’ in the country buying market, Simpson’s star shone bright in 2016. She led more than £110 million-worth of acquisitions (including £70 million in solo deals) and says she has ‘tripled the turnover’ of Strutt & Parker’s independent buying consultancy since joining from Savills in 2014.
One significant deal was the off-market purchase of a large £25 million landed estate that had a commercial element, shooting let to a third party, ‘numerous’ cottages, offshore entities, and ‘difficult fishing issues’, according to one intermediary. Simpson’s ‘dynamism, commitment, knowledge, professionalism and diplomacy’ saved the ‘sensitive’ deal. Another intermediary echoes this, crediting her ability to ‘hold the deal together when it looked like it was falling apart’.
The amiable Simpson remains humble, however, as she credits her seven-strong team’s regional knowhow covering ‘all geographical areas’ in the country. ‘There’s a huge variation in pricing from village to village in some areas; it’s really about working as a team, having a national overview from a farming point of view,’ she says.
Despite her ‘stellar’ year, Simpson remains realistic about the challenges buying advisers face in a landscape where there’s a ‘huge disparity’ between vendors’ pricing and market value, as well as supply ‘reducing every year’. Creativity is needed, she says, describing how reviewing ‘wrongly priced’ properties that have had a long-term struggle in the market can sometimes reduce prices and benefit buyers.
Simpson has natural talent for scanning the country for similarly rare opportunities, having lived and breathed the countryside all her life. ‘This is a dream job,’ enthuses the Shropshire-born adviser.