From a young age, James Nightingall did several seasons as a ski instructor in Courcheval and Verbier, rubbing shoulders with wealthy individuals. This education in the aspirations and expectations of the rich gave James a solid grounding when, in 2012, he started James and James, an independent estate agency for the well-heeled and discerning.
Its watchwords are impeccable service, privacy and discretion. He founded James and James while studying at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School, having previously taken a BSc in Property Agency and Marketing from the Royal Agricultural University at Cirencester. James lives in a leafy square in London’s Notting Hill where the agency is based and his contacts include some of the world’s wealthiest buyers. The agency brings a fresh approach to selling extraordinary properties across Britain. Many of these high-value, high- specification properties belong to people who value their privacy and consequently do not wish to market their houses in the usual way. ‘We prefer to avoid listing properties online due to digital footprints and privacy,’ he says.
‘Our vision is a brand that represents British perfectionism, a standard we believe is essential to our clients’ success.’
James and James offer a service which bypasses the usual markets. Selling very expensive houses ‘off-market’ requires exceptional contacts. The team’s 40 years of experience in property puts the agency in a strong position to navigate these backwaters on behalf of its clients. ‘We actively search for the perfect buyer,’ James says, ‘and we know how to reach them.’ The agency’s forte is its planning: each sale is a campaign mapped out with military precision, something he thinks that ‘we British are pretty good at’. ‘Our vision is a brand that represents British perfectionism, a standard we believe is essential to our clients’ success.’
Recently he has seen an increase in ‘turn-key’ homes being sold to international buyers who purchase the contents along with the house. Generally, such deals are shrouded in secrecy but, just occasionally,
the curtain parts to allow a glimpse of the rarefied world beyond. One such property is the Old Dairy Farm in Kent which the agency marketed last year. The brochure reveals a sumptuously modernised house in 50 acres of grounds for sale with all its fixtures, fittings and furniture. Included in the sale is the wine cellar, containing 500 bottles, reached by its own specially cast aluminium staircase.
James and James offer a service which bypasses the usual markets. Selling very expensive houses ‘off market’ requires exceptional contacts.
James and James are creative perfectionists when it comes to marketing these houses. ‘We proudly combine old-fashioned and modern marketing,’ says James. ‘Our high-net-worth contacts receive beautifully designed and produced brochures in the post and via password-protected websites.’ Younger international buyers – often people between the ages of 20 and 35 – frequently ask to be sent brochures via WhatsApp. ‘We have a handpicked team which has successfully marketed and sold the world’s most expensive homes.’ The agency employs a talented production unit of photographers, directors and web designers to ensure that the all-important first impression is a striking one. This attention to detail helps these houses stand out in a crowded market and is a vital step in reeling in potential buyers.
James & James 21 Ladbroke Square, London, W11 3NA +44 (0)20 8720 6909