The first sign of Middle Eastern interest in London property was immediately after the Gulf War and in 1976 when oil rich countries became the worlds new oligarchs with an incredible amount of new-found ‘soft power’.
Middle eastern buyers always had an affinity to the UK and came with their saddle bags full of cash, wanting to fill their boots with as much London property as they could buy, which to them is a part of English heritage.
Here are my top tips for snaring a network of lucrative Middle Eastern buyers:
1. When dealing with Middle Eastern clients, do not try to meet ‘Mr Big’ but instead, find the couriers, solicitors, private bankers, accountants, private secretaries, and concierges etc., who regularly deal with senior level Middle Eastern clientele.
2. Go to the managers of the key gambling clubs of London such as Crockfords and Barracuda and find out who the key personnel/chauffeurs are who drive for the Middle Eastern big wigs.
“When dealing with Middle Eastern clients, do not try to meet ‘Mr Big’”
3. Try to understand their culture and what makes them tick, their likes and dislikes and adapt your patter and modus operandi, accordingly.
4. Comb the online property portals and the various luxury property magazines for suitable agents or properties that you think could be of attraction to them.
“Always accept their hospitality and party as hard as they do.”
5. Stick close to the ‘man Friday’ who is looking after the family and be warned that in true Middle Eastern style the day starts for them five hours after London time.Therefore, 8am is 1pm for them and 1am for us is 8pm for them.I warn you, it will play havoc with your sleep pattern and jet lag will soon be upon you! Take plenty of melatonin and you will know what a pilot feels like.
6. Always accept their hospitality and party as hard as they do.You will soon become their friend and confidante.
7. Beware, not everyone who wears a keffiyeh is a Middle Eastern person with money, there are a lot of phonies out there!
Trevor Abrahmsohn is CEO and Founder of Glentree International, specialising in the luxury property markets in North London including some of the most expensive real estate in the world.