Draker: life in the world of luxury lets
DBPR interviews Tim Hassell of Draker, the London-based lettings only agency with one of the most extensive property lists in and around Chelsea, Knightsbridge, Pimlico, Belgravia and Fulham.
“At Draker, we have an unwavering commitment to building a serious lettings only agency with the best standards of professionalism and service within our industry.” says Tim Hassell, MD of Draker. “In a problem fraught sector with many landlords historically having to choose between either a nice agency or a productive agency, we feel that there is much more room for growth and focus in the London lettings industry.
We are lucky enough not to have the challenges of traditional agency when it comes to dividing up our budget, staff and general resources between sales and lettings. All that we have, everything that we do and all that we are goes into the successful letting of our clients’ properties.”
You have recently opened a second office in Fulham Broadway, what motivated you to do this?
We have been covering Fulham from our Sloane Square office since we began in 2010, working mainly for clients that we meet organically along the way. I have always wanted to open an office in Fulham and having seen the demand increase significantly, the timing could not be more perfect for our expansion. Luckily, we were fortunate in finding the perfect office for our needs. Easy to reach for both landlords and tenants with a terrific public profile to give our clients’ properties the very best mixed base platform to attract the best tenants. I strongly believe that Fulham will benefit from a lettings only, service based agency.
Who gave you the best piece of advice that relates to your business?
My inspiration has always come from the founder of Foxtons, Jon Hunt. He drummed it into me (and many others) that it is essential to keep things simple, work hard and to keep your ego in check. This work ethic combined with a commitment to service is what I personally believe makes Draker stand out. We all work incredibly hard to keep our tenants and landlords smiling along the way and importantly we produce excellent results.
What drives your clients to want to rent in London?
The London market is primarily made up of either national or international students at one end and corporate tenancies at the other. Every year, there is also a huge wave of new professionals and individuals relocating for their next dream job in London. It is very noticeable, almost like a military draft.
London provides the most incredible balance of work, culture, fun and education, which in my opinion, is completely unrivalled across the world. These are the main reasons that people come to our great city.
What three things make the best tenant and the best landlord?
- Three things that make a great tenant.
- Obsessive compulsive disorder!
- Prompt rent payment
- Someone who makes a point of reading (and hopefully understanding) everything they sign!
- Three things that make a great landlord
- A commercial approach to letting their property
- Someone who takes real care in the presentation of their property
- Someone who makes a point of reading (and most importantly understanding) everything that they sign!
What do you feel a lettings agent needs to give them an edge in such a competitive industry in such a demanding capital?
- Willingness to provide exceptional service
- Complete focus and energy
- Skill and patience when negotiating
- Staff retention (to keep the company smart)
- Strong culture of transparency and trust
What five ingredients would you never be without at Draker?
- Hard Work
- A lot of coffee
What are your predictions for London’s prime rentals market over the next five years?
Central London has become increasingly lettings focused as younger and mid-level professionals struggle to buy properties that they like. It has become so much cheaper (and arguably much more fun) to rent. I see this as a permanent generational shift over the next ten years and beyond.
If you could rent any property anywhere in London, what would it be?
I live with my Swedish partner and two beautiful whippets in Wandsworth. I very much practice what I preach and we rent a small two bedroom flat that we have interior designed to death! It is much cheaper to rent these days and makes life much simpler.
“Having identified the opportunity for an estate agency specialising in lettings only – an agency that’s driven by exceptional service and results – we opened Draker’s doors for the first time in July 2010.
With offices in both Sloane Square and Fulham Broadway, we let well over 600 properties every year (and growing!). In fact, we’ve achieved a consistent annual growth of more than 40% since setting up shop”