O’Brien’s enthusiasm is infectious, and so is his frustration with some of the speculation about Knightsbridge’s performance.
‘I read a comment recently saying that Knightsbridge is going to be the place to bag a bargain this year, but I wholeheartedly disagree,’ he says. ‘Prices are continuously being achieved, and I don’t see that changing.’ The formidable demand recorded in his book echoes that.
A senior peer describes the 23-year-old as ‘one of the brightest young agents that I have met in recent years’. On his first day in agency at Susan Metcalfe Residential, an eighteen-year-old O’Brien met Knight Frank’s Stuart Bailey. The latter told Spear’s it was also the day he predicted a bright future for the youngster.
That was an opinion shared by Chestertons, which two years later brought O’Brien into its Knightsbridge office.
The extreme sports enthusiast is thrilled with the level of transactions he deals with and is not intimidated by the entrepreneurs, oligarchs and tycoons from five continents he faces every day. He proudly recalls 7 September 2014 as the day three deals exchanged (totalling £13 million). It was especially memorable, he says, as it all took place under the pressure to beat the upcoming stamp duty hike.
Despite his successes (and numerous skydives), the young agent remains grounded. His mentor David Forbes once advised him never to boast about his successes and never to tell anyone about his failures. ‘That’s something I’ve always taken with me,’ he says.