Top Ten Country
‘I’ve got the best job in the world — I have seen houses which the world would never see, lots and lots of them,’ the jocular McAndrew says.
From a property with art worth more than the entire estate, to rare grouse moors and the recent sale of Britain’s only desert, it’s the variety that has kept McAndrew at Strutt & Parker for 28 years, despite being ‘headhunted twice’. ‘It’s bonkers, but great, great fun!’ he laughs.
Clients come to the self-proclaimed ‘country boy’ from ‘every corner of the world’ and all walks of life. ‘We find that a banker from Goldman Sachs who’s earning millions of pounds a year would love to spend one week a year sitting on a tractor, carting corn.’
The partner in the firm’s London-based rural HQ also discovers that HNWs ‘buy with their heart’ and are therefore ‘incredibly choosy’ about their ideal country estate. It’s not a surprise, he says, when a deal falls through for ‘the most silly thing’ (one case had the vendor and seller arguing over who would keep the £30 million property’s stereo system).
But it’s the complexity that he finds most fascinating. ‘This isn’t just a house in Kensington — it’s got pheasants running around, a real living, breathing entity. It’s about marrying it all together and getting everybody to agree on all the tiny little parts to make the deal happen — it’s quite an intricate piece of jigsaw.’