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Ego warriors
欧美豪宅的神秘代理人

因豪宅从不作广告,房源代理便成了香饽饽

It is a well rehearsed fact that, since the downturn, the rich are getting richer. According to a recent report by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini, the number of millionaires across the globe grew by 8.3 per cent to 10.9m in 2010. The total wealth of these individuals rose to $42,700bn, up from $40,700bn in 2007. Which makes high-end, prime-location property more attractive than ever as a secure investment.

一个被反复验证的事实是:经济越萎靡,富人就越富有。据美林(Merrill Lynch)与凯捷集团(Capgemini)最近公布的报告称:相比2010年,全球富翁的数量增加了8.3%,达到1090万位。这些富翁的总财富从2007年的40.7万亿美元增至42万亿美元,这使得作为安全投资之用、地段好的高端豪宅越发变得炙手可热。

However, buying prime property is fraught with problems from “silent listings” – property which is never advertised – to vendors reluctant to sell to anyone who appears wealthier than themselves.

但是,由于这些房产从不见诸于广告,此外,豪宅主人不愿把名下房产卖给比自己更富有的房主等诸多情况,购买豪宅变得错综复杂。

Enter the high-end buying agent: property professionals who have the well-honed skills to secure a home despite the secrecy and jealousy.

还是找那些高端房产代理吧:这些专业人士“身经百战”、业务娴熟。他们行事隐密并令人嫉妒。

“I often say a good alternative career for what we do would be a diplomat. We have to massage egos left, right and centre,” explains Jeremy Davidson, a property consultant who specialises in properties that cost £10m or more in the most exclusive neighbourhoods in London.

“我常说,自己要是不干房屋销售掮客这一行,最可能的选择就是当外交官。我们得应对三教九流的客户,”杰罗米•戴维森(Jeremy Davidson)说,他是房地产咨询师,专门推销伦敦超高档住宅区、售价超过1000万英镑的豪宅。

He notes that it can be common for vendors at the upper echelons of the housing market to become jealous if they think the person buying the house is richer than them. Tensions around these issues can scupper a sale.

他说,在房地产市场中,高档住宅卖家若是感觉买主比自己富有,通常会很妒忌,而对这些事折腾计较就会把买卖搅黄。

“It wouldn’t happen if they were selling their business but, because it’s their home, people often lose their sense of rationale,” says Davidson.

“若是卖掉名下公司,这些事压根就不会发生,但由于出售的是自己的房产,常会偏离自己正常的行事原则,”戴维森说。

This is where a buying agent’s negotiating skills come into play, in order to smooth the path of a sale and keep both parties happy. “It can sometimes be a game of male egos and it’s our job to make sure everything stays on an even keel,” he explains.

这时,买方代理的谈判技巧尽可大展身手,以扫清房屋交易中的一切障碍,让买卖双方皆大欢喜。“有时纯粹是男性自负情绪的博弈,我们的工作就是让一切归于心平气和,”他解释道。

Increasingly the main appeal of buying agents is their ability to access silent listings. In other words, the best agents are those with inside knowledge, who know where to find properties that are never going to be seen in an estate agent’s window or on the pages of a glossy magazine.

买方代理最主要的吸引力越来越多地取决于他们是否有能力获取未公开销售的房源。换言之,最出色的代理人就是那些掌握内情、知道从哪儿能搞到从不现身于房地产代理橱窗或时尚杂志版面的房产。

The reasons behind such discretion are usually to do with confidentiality, privacy or security – as well as a belief held by many wealthy owners that it is vulgar to advertise their home.

如此谨小慎微的原因通常与富有房主注重保密、隐私以及安全性有关,也涉及其个人理念,他们总觉得为名下房屋公然打广告显得很丢份。

Buying agents can be found in most of the world’s prime property markets. However, they are more familiar in some regions than in others. Sales of multimillion dollar homes in Australia, for instance, are nearly always silent listings, says Tracey Finnegan of Premium Property Finders, a Sydney-based buying agent who has worked with clients from all over the world.

买方代理人遍布全球各个豪宅市场,但在某些国家,经常浮现其熟悉的身影。比方说,在澳洲,价值几百万美元的房屋交易几乎都是未公之于众的房源,特蕾西•芬尼根(Tracey Finnegan)说,她是总部位于悉尼Premium Property Finders房地产公司的买方代理,客户遍布全球各个角落。

“People who own multimillion dollar properties often don’t want to list their property on the market as they don’t want just anyone coming around their house or looking at their photos online,” says Finnegan.

“拥有几百万美元豪宅的房主通常不希望把自己名下的房产公开上市销售,因为他们不喜欢是人都来看房,也不喜欢别人在网上随意看自己房屋的照片,”芬尼根说。

“Also, some agents want to see the colour of the money and it is my job to convince the agent or vendor that they are serious buyers and have finance in place,” she says. This often involves the buying agent providing the seller with a net asset value statement from the prospective buyer in order to have a look around the house.

“此外,有些代理希望了解清楚底细,我的工作就是让代理人或者卖家相信买家出于真心实意,而且有足够的财力作后盾,”她说。为了让买家实地查看房子,通常还需要买方代理给卖家提供其资产净值凭据。

Michelle O’Brien, 40, is chief executive of her own mining company and used Finnegan to find a home in Point Piper, an exclusive suburb overlooking Sydney harbour. Her property was a silent listing and Finnegan negotiated the price down from $9m to $7.5m.

今年40岁的米歇尔•奥布莱恩(Michelle O’Brien)是自己名下矿产公司的CEO,她委托芬尼根在悉尼富人聚居区Point Piper为其物色一套俯瞰港湾的豪宅。她最后看中的就是一套未公开上市销售的房子,经过芬尼根从中讨价还价,成功把房价从900万美元压至750万美元。

“We would never have found this property without Tracey as it was a silent listing,” says O’Brien. “Tracey does all the hard work and negotiation for us,” she says.

“没有特蕾西的努力,我们根本不可能买到这幢豪宅,因为它属于未公开上市房源,”奥布莱恩说。“特蕾西不辞辛苦、鞍前马后地为我们忙活,”她说。

Private deals are becoming even more popular in London as well-known millionaires seek to avoid the spotlight of an open market transaction. The Buying Solution, one of the UK’s largest buying agencies, has purchased around £150m worth of property that was not publicly for sale since the start of the year – representing almost half of the firm’s purchases so far in 2011.

在伦敦,越来越多的知名富豪想方设法不在公开市场买房,以做到掩人耳目。这使得私下交易渐趋成风。今年年初以来,英国最大的买方代理公司The Buying Solution购入了价值约1.5亿英镑、未公开上市销售的房源——这差不多占了该公司2011年(迄今为止)购置额的一半。

Camilla Dell, managing director of Black Brick Property Solutions, says many rich sellers do not wish the general public to know about a sale, especially if they are well-known, because it may attract window shoppers.

伦敦房屋中介Black Brick Property Solutions常务董事卡米拉•戴尔(Camilla Dell)说,许多富有的卖主不希望公众知悉相关交易,尤其当自己是名人,因为那样一来可能会引来一群只看不买的看客。

By selling off-market, a vendor can ensure that only known buyers, who have been vetted beforehand, are allowed access to the property.

通过场外交易,卖家可以确保只有买主(对方的底细已经事先打探清楚)才有机会来接洽具体买房事宜。

This can sometimes involve not showing the property to buyers of a certain nationality in order to make sure the seller is not recognised. Dell is currently working with a house that she cannot show to potential buyers from the same country as her client.

此举有时可以阻止某些国别的买家实地看房,以确保卖家身份不遭暴露。戴尔目前代理的一套房子,她拒绝让和代理客户同一国别的买家来看房。

However, buying an off-market property does not always mean individuals are getting the best deal. Agents admit that buyers have become “obsessed” with only viewing off-market properties, believing that they are always better than others.

但是,购置场外房产并不总是意味着双方的交易最为划算。代理人坦承,买家购买场外房产,越发笃信眼见为实,相信自己的眼力。

Off-market properties can end up more expensive if a vendor is unwilling to move from a set price that has not been tested on the open market. Many vendors also keep their home off the market so that it seems more exclusive and to hide how long it has been up for sale. It is the buying agent’s job to secure the best price for their client.

如果卖家不愿就预定价位作让步,场外交易的房屋到头来可能价格更贵,原因是该价位未曾在公开市场上得以验证。许多卖家阻止房屋上市,更显得隐密,旁人也不知道到底该房到底上市了多长时间。买房代理人的职责就是让客户得到称心实意的价位。

“I’m absolutely ruthless about only shortlisting the best quality properties at their right price and I will probably only include 10 per cent of all the properties I see,” says Barbara Wood of The Property Finders, a buying agent that specialises in upmarket homes in Spain, Italy and the UK.

“我始终只把性价比最好的房屋遴选出来,本人过目的全部房源,可能只会把10%收入囊中,”芭芭拉•伍德(Barbara Wood)说,她是The Property Finders房地产公司买方代理,专司西班牙、意大利以及英国的高档住宅。

The services of a property consultant can be particularly helpful when buying overseas. Many buyers lack the understanding of local law, traditions and language skills needed to negotiate overseas property.

到海外购置房产时,房屋咨询师的作用尤为关键。许多买主不熟悉所在国的法律、传统习俗以及商洽购置海外房产时所需的语言技能。

Stuart Baldock of Property Vision France has worked with a wide range of nationalities including buyers from Jamaica, UAE, Russia, India and the US. He says international buyers need advice about fashionable second home destinations such as the Côte d’Azur: “The prices typically advertised are very optimistic so you really need somebody who knows the market.”

斯图尔特•鲍多克(Stuart Baldock)是法国房产公司Property Vision France的代理,客户遍布全球,包括牙买加、阿联酋、俄罗斯、印度以及美国的买家。他说国际买家在黄金海岸(Côte d’Azur)这类地方购置高档居所时,急需咨询意见:公开登载的房屋售价通常颇为诱人,这时就需要对市场了然于心的专家及时呈上咨询意见。”

Paul Belcher of Ultissimo, a buying agent for Lake Como, says the Italian market can be a complex one for non-residents. “To conclude a transaction ... probably takes more time than most clients actually have,” he says.

来自Ultissimo房产公司的保罗•贝尔彻(Paul Belcher)是科莫湖(Lake Como)项目的代理人,他说意大利市场对非本国公民较为复杂:“要搞定一桩交易……可能要花费更多的时间。”

This was the case for Stuart Kingham, a Hong Kong-based computer programmer, who bought a second home in Lake Como through Ultissimo. “Before we found Ultissimo we were at a little bit of a dead end ... We had spent years trawling the internet and going through estate agencies,” he says. In the end, he purchased a renovated silk factory without ever visiting the property. “Ultissimo helped us with arranging the mortgage, lawyers, bank accounts, everything,” says Kingham.

香港的电脑编程师斯图尔特•金厄姆(Stuart Kingham)通过Ultissimo房产公司在科莫湖购置了一套房子。“在找到Ultissimo前,我们几乎无计可施了……在因特网上搜索,不断联系房产中介公司,折腾了好几年时间,结果还是一无所获,”他说。最终通过Ultissimo,我们购买了一处由丝织厂改建的房产,也没去现场看房。“押贷款、聘请律师、开设银行帐户等全部手续全部交由Ultissimo经办与打理,”金厄姆说。

Buying agents stress that it’s not just about finding a property for a client. For those who want the full service, agents will be able to provide advice on installing the latest green technology or on an interior design service.

买方代理强调说并不仅仅是简单地给客户物色房屋。对那些需要全套服务的客户,代理人还能就安装最新的环保技术以及室内装修提供咨询意见。

This all comes at a cost. Buying agents across the globe will typically charge a one-off retainer flat fee and then a success fee of between 2 and 3 per cent of the property price.

这一切均需付费。全球买方代理通常会收取一次性固定劳务费以及交易成功费,支付标准一般是房价的2%-3%。

It can also take a long time to find a client’s dream home. Baldock says he recently bought a multimillion pound home in France for a client within three months, while it took three years to find another client’s perfect house.

帮客户物色好中意的房子,有时可能会“旷日持久”。鲍多克说他最近费了三个月时间,为某客户在法国购置了一套价值几百万英镑的豪宅,而为另一客户买入理想的住所,则耗时达三年。

Similarly, Byron Rose of Rose & Jones, an Australian buying agency, was engaged to secure the waterfront property of a client’s neighbour. “The deal took over 12 months to complete but the client now has over 3,000 sq m of harbourfront property,” says Rose.

而澳洲房屋中介公司Rose & Jones的代理拜伦•罗斯(Byron Rose)最近同样忙着为某客户的邻居购置一套临水房屋。“完成这次交易总共花了我12个月时间,但该客户如今手中握有的临水房产超过了3000平米,”罗斯说。

Tanya Powley is FT Money’s mortgage and property reporter

塔尼亚•鲍维利是《金融时报》报道抵押贷款与房地产的记者

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Details

在欧洲大陆置业者请浏览以下网站:

Europe

The Property Finders, www.thepropertyfinders.com

The Property Finders, www.thepropertyfinders.com

Property Vision France, www.propertyvision.com

Property Vision France, www.propertyvision.com

Ultissimo, www.ultissimo.com

Ultissimo, www.ultissimo.com

在澳洲置业者请浏览以下网站:

Australia

Premium Property Finders, www.premiumpropertyfinders.com.au

Premium Property Finders, www.premiumpropertyfinders.com.au

Rose & Jones, www.roseandjones.com.au

Rose & Jones, www.roseandjones.com.au

在英国置业者请浏览以下网站:

UK

Black Brick, www.black-brick.com

Black Brick, www.black-brick.com

The Buying Solution, www.thebuyingsolution.co.uk

The Buying Solution, www.thebuyingsolution.co.uk

Jeremy Davidson, www.jeremydavidson.co.uk

Jeremy Davidson, www.jeremydavidson.co.uk

译者:常和

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