Kay & Co is a family-run estate agency with 35 years of experience
If a week is a long time in politics, 35 years is an eternity in the property business. When Samuel Bikhit set up the luxury boutique estate agency, Kay & Co in 1982, Margaret Thatcher was the prime minister and the London property market was booming. It was a time when gazumping was all the rage. The average property price in the UK was just £24,000, but would double in the next six years.
Today Theresa May is in Downing Street and the best estate agents are embracing new and innovative opportunities both in the traditional and online world to stay ahead of the curve.
“Our greatest advantage over larger corporate rivals is that we can be nimble,” says Martin Bikhit, MD of Kay & Co since 2008 and involved with the company since 1997. “That is the advantage of being a family business. You do not need to hold long-winded board meetings to make decisions. You can get on with the job in hand, selling and letting our clients’ homes.”
That nimbleness takes many forms. “We react to market conditions, build bespoke marketing campaigns for individual properties and are hands-on. I am indirectly involved with every transaction that goes through the company”
Another growth area for the company is buildings management. “We believe there is a gap in the market here,” explains Martin. “A lot of buildings are not well managed, but we know that, through technical innovations and being both local and accessible, we can offer a much more responsive service.”
Geographically, Kay & Co has spread its wings. It started out in Marylebone, expanded its operations east towards Fitzrovia and then west towards Bayswater and Notting Hill. “We like to think of ourselves as local agents,” says Martin “We know the area like the back of our hands, and our clients are people who appreciate our local knowledge.”
Those clients come from all over the world, from the UK as well as the Middle East and India. And with a database of more than 20,000 clients, built up over 35 years. We have access to a vast pool of buyers.”
All of the 20,000 people on the company’s database are not looking to buy now, but enjoy receiving regular communication from us. This often generates results.
“For example, five years ago, a client bought a one-bedroom flat for £450,000 through Kay & Co,” adds Martin. This year, she received one of our regular email communications with a flat over-looking Hyde Park priced at £8 million, which she sent on to her parents and subsequently bought the property. It is this black book that is the main reason people choose Kay & Co.”
But don’t just take Martin’s word for it. Here is what one of the biggest players in the London property market said about Kay & Co: “Kay & Co’s black book of clients was invaluable in the introduction of a number of their private overseas clients to The Heron, our prestigious development in the City,” says Laurence Ronson, Heron International.
Martin has no illusions about the challenges ahead, such as Brexit and the forthcoming election. “Like all agencies, we have had to cope with the ups and downs in the market. But are confident about the future. We are a tight-knit team, with a low staff turnover, who are based in some of the best areas in London that offer huge potential over the coming months and years.”
As Kay & Co continues to demonstrate, in the increasingly globalised world of property, there is still room for a well-run boutique family estate agency.
• Contact Kay & Co estate agents for details of properties for sale or to rent in Marylebone, Bayswater, Paddington, Notting Hill, Mayfair, Fitzrovia, Regents Park and The West End (020 7262 2030; www.kayandco.com/property-search/property-for-sale-in-london).