Last Word: Arlington Residential

Arlington Last Word

Strength to Strength

With Arlington Residential founder Marc Schneiderman

Words by Sophie Hampton

As Arlington Residential celebrates 30 years in business, founder Marc Schneiderman reflects on the secret of the agency’s success

The seed that grew into Arlington Residential was in fact planted over 40 years ago. At the age of 15, in between O levels and A levels, and to keep me occupied during the summer holidays, I went to work at the head office of a well-known estate agents owned by a family friend. I was photocopying maps, franking post, helping on the switchboard, buying sandwiches for boardroom meetings and taking the bus to the bank with an envelope full of cheques every day. The offices were a magnificent stucco building in Manchester Square, off Marylebone High Street. After four weeks the two managing directors asked if I might like a full-time job. I (not so) carefully weighed up the options of going back to school or not, and quickly decided to say yes to the job!

Marc Schneiderman Arlington Last Word featured

Marc Schneiderman, Arlington Residential

Some months later, I was offered the opportunity to go and work in one of their residential sales offices in Bayswater. I accepted the opportunity and absolutely loved it. After a couple of years there, of which I have the fondest of memories, I knew that estate agency was going to be my future and, excited by the idea of dealing with luxury property, I called a fi rm in the West End who had a reputation for sales at the top end of the market to see if they had any positions available. My timing was perfect – they did, and I joined to become the  fourth member of the company. I experienced a very exciting six and a half years seeing some of the fi nest homes in London and meeting interesting and dynamic people. The success I achieved at this fi rm gave me the appetite to start my own business and so I left and formed Arlington Residential.

That was in 1994. I never aspired to have a shop or be a high street agent, so I took a boutique office building on Wellington Road, St. John’s Wood, that has served my business amazingly well over the last 30 years. It is a three-floor period building with an open-plan ground floor where we all work, and there are various meeting rooms and private spaces elsewhere in the building. I recall the first few months being in this huge building, on my own with only one desk and one chair while I figured out the best way to move forward. I recall Arlington Residential’s first sale fondly. It was a ground floor flat in Belsize Park that we acquired for the buyer. At that point we didn’t even have a computer, so my firm’s letter of appointment was hand-written by me!

Changes in the last 30 years have been huge. We relied heavily on print media in our first 10 years, regularly advertising in several magazines at great expense. The two largest property portals have played a big role in effectively minimising the need for property advertising in print media – which still however plays a role, hence our long-term commitment to Fabric. Of course, social media allows us to reach tens of thousands of would-be buyers in seconds. Another huge change has been the profile of buyers in north-west London. Now over half of the transactions we’re involved with in Regent’s Park, St. John’s Wood and Hampstead are to overseas buyers, with the demographic constantly changing. We’ve sold to over 90 different nationalities! The other big change is that 30 years ago we were selling detached ambassadorial houses in St. John’s Wood for under £1 million. Today, sales have reached levels we could not have imagined, with several houses sold in St. John’s Wood in excess of £60 million, and a handful of houses that are worth well over £100 million, should the owners ever decide to sell.

Having seen competitors spread themselves too thinly by opening multiple offices, only to close new offices and decant back to their original set up, I have no desire to be a multi-office business. We proficiently cover the prime parts of central and north west London from our wonderful HQ. I’m fortunate to be at the helm of a well-regarded business – one of the leaders in its fi eld. But my last word is to say how I have immense gratitude for past and present employees who’ve contributed to making Arlington Residential what it is today.