A Passion for Property

Heathgate May24

A Passion For Property

Vivienne Harris on the evolution of Heathgate, from humble beginnings to market-leader

Words by Sophie Hampton

Heathgate’s Vivienne Harris tells us how the agency went from humble beginnings to become a market leader in personalised property services

Can you give us a potted history of Heathgate?
I noticed a gap in the market for an independent agency that cared about personal service and wanted an empathetic approach to selling, letting, buying and renting. With this in mind, I started Heathgate –from my home in 1990, moving to the ground floor of my office 18 months later. Over the years the office has expanded, and we now use the entire three-storey building for our designated departments handling sales, lettings, property management, project management, and more recently block management.

Tell us about your career to date
I have only ever had two jobs. My first was with a well-known north-west London agency. I started as a junior in the sales department making tea and doing all the jobs nobody else wanted to do, and worked my way up the ranks until I was promoted to associate director level. I remained with that company for 12 years but decided that, as there was no further room to grow, it was time to branch out and set up Heathgate. I did this in September 1990 and have never looked back.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?
One of the things I love about my job is that each day is different. From going to meetings to bring in new business, speaking to clients or applicants about arranging viewings, taking on new properties, discussing marketing strategy with clients, providing property advice when requested, meeting with my teams, appraising properties and generally running the office. This means that some days will be desk based, sorting out admin, writing emails and making calls, whereas others will be spent out of the office, perhaps visiting blocks of flats to discuss management, carrying out market appraisals and viewings, or attending various meetings.

What’s been your greatest achievement so far?
Heathgate is almost 34 years old, and the team and I are still as enthusiastic and passionate about what we do as the day we opened. Over time, I’ve been able to expand the company, creating designated departments without losing our ethos and quality of service. Most recently I opened a block management division that has gone from strength to strength and continues to grow.

What are your London property predictions for the second half of 2024?
The market has been somewhat patchy so far this year. With current economic and political uncertainties this is likely to continue. Much of the market is UK-based, even though the majority of buyers are from overseas, and with the UK economy in better shape than anticipated, there have been, and continue to be, a few high-level transactions taking place. It does appear that prices will probably flatline for a while due to present interest rates and lenders being over cautious.