A buying agent has created an advert on Zoopla for a supposed billionaire client who is seeking a mansion in London.
Expensive Properties has listed an eight-bed detached house for sale in Kensington Palace Gardens, under which it has written: “Wanted similar house for billionaire. Full information available on request.”
The client apparently has a budget of £200 million and wants a mansion “ideally on the high hill”.
Expensive Properties specialises in off market properties, with prices ranging from £10 million to £250 million.
Its website says: “The challenge at this level is how one sells a property discreetly… as most of our clients, whether selling or purchasing, generally prefer to do so confidentially. We are most fortunate with our network of contacts both at home and internationally to achieve such prestigious sales with the utmost of discretion.
“We are so often asked how we knew that a certain property was available for sale, and the answer to this question is exemplified by our experience.”
Or in this case, by potential responses to its Zoopla ad.
The buying agent says its “claim to fame” is the sale of London’s most expensive property to the Saudi Royal family.
In 2015, agent Cedric Emmanuel, who is also managing director of Swiss Group, claimed he had received an offer of £280 million for a 40-plus bedroom mansion on Rutland Gate, opposite Hyde Park.
But some industry experts questioned the sale price of the 60,000 sq ft property, as agents do not normally publicly reveal the price offered for homes. They said the offer was more likely to be closer to £150 million – around £2,500 per sq ft.
This came a few weeks after it was revealed the house had been on the market for three years, resulting in its owners preparing to sell the property’s entire contents – from ornate chandeliers to jewel-encrusted bidets to curtains, doors and even gold-plated waste-paper bins – by public auction in a knock-down fire sale.
The seven-storey property, which was built as four grand family homes before being knocked into one enormous residence, was formerly the London home of Rafik Hariri, the billionaire tycoon who was twice Lebanese prime minister before his assassination in 2005 in a Beiruit car bomb.
Following his death, the house was reportedly given to his close associate Sultan bin Abdulaziz, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who himself died in 2011.
After the mansion failed to sell by more discrete means, buying agent Swiss Group resorted to a more open sales tactic: listing it on Zoopla with a price on application.
Emmanuel said at the time he was bound by a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) not to discuss why the mansion was now being sold openly online rather than through discreet word of mouth.
“I think it’s a new way of marketing, to be honest. As times are changing we are more internet-related,” he added.
DealMakerz thinks the company’s latest move – listing a high profile need on a website rather than relying on its personal network – adds further weight to the typical stereotype of the “lazy agent”. Perhaps it’s a poorly thought out joke?