Andrew Covill from Henry Wiltshire focuses on building teams of professional individuals to further develop the business in Abu Dhabi and to enhance the reputation and brand of Henry Wiltshire International. He works with corporate clients, bulk investors and individuals acquiring premium properties – something he has a particular penchant for.
How long have you been in the industry?
I’ve been in the industry for 30 years. 19 years in development and as a Sales and Marketing Director for big developers in the UK and Europe and 11 years in the UAE in an agency, so I’ve done both sides.
Which areas do you specialise in?
I have a large team which covers most areas. I focus on Saadiyat Island and VIP villas elsewhere in Abu Dhabi, so basically a few premium properties for long-standing clients.
Why did you decide to become a real estate agent?
I’ve always liked properties from a young age. My mother told me I always seemed to look at properties and seemed to enjoy it. I had a couple of other sales jobs for the first year of my career but then I started to work for an agent for a year and enjoyed it and later went into the development side.
How would you describe the current property market?
The current property market is improving. We’ve had a tough few years. I’ve been here for 11 years now, so I’ve seen a couple of cycles. Honestly, the start of the year, aside from these four sales, has been very fruitful. So I hope it will continue. We feel that confidence is rising, a lot of people have been sitting on the sidelines for a long time, waiting, making very low offers that are not being accepted. Conversely, we’ve managed to get sellers to reduce prices a bit. It’s all about closing that gap.
Tell me about your big achievement? Last month’s big sale(s)
There were four sales, all premium properties, three of them in Saadiyat Island and one in Yas Island. They all had a bit of a theme in common, two were on a golf course in Saadiyat Island, one on the golf course in Yas Island and one on the sea in Saadiyat Island. It’s the properties I enjoy, the areas I enjoy and it’s all about finding the right client and matching their expectations.
How do you tailor your approach so you set yourself apart?
I try to be very professional and very honest, work hard to converse with the client and keep the dialogue going. The most important thing for them is to trust me and I think that’s why my clients have come back from time to time and they still want to deal with me.
Property seekers are always after one ideal location, and all within a certain budget. How do you strike the balance to get them what they want?
It’s often challenging. We all want the best deals for the least price. It’s all about educating them, speaking about the areas, honesty and transparency. You must have a balance, talking about the options and showing them everything that is available so they can make an informed decision.
What has been your favourite listing ever? What made it special to you?
It’s one of the four villas I’ve just sold, funnily enough! I first sold it in 2013, it was on the golf course, owned by the Australian golfer Adam Scott who was number one in the world at that time. It was a lot of fun dealing with the family and the sale. The buyer was a very good existing client of mine, who I’ve always enjoyed working with and has now come around to sell the property again.
Any words of advice for someone looking to sell their property in Abu Dhabi?
A lot of people are still looking at prices from a few years ago. Sellers obviously favour the highest listing price. But the price a seller wants is not what the property is currently trading at. So be realistic.
What’s your best negotiating tip?
It takes two people to make a deal. Get them to meet somewhere sensible. Educate both sides on where you’re at and where you can be at. Just spend some time with them and give them some impartial and professional advice. It takes time and patience.
What’s your favourite thing to do on your days off?
It’s probably strange that I’ve sold three villas on a golf course but I quite enjoy playing golf, usually on a Friday afternoon. I work very long hours and it’s a long week, so I find it very good to get out there and clear the head a little.
If you didn’t work in real estate, what career would you pursue?
That’s a good one, it got me thinking. I enjoy traveling and flying, would I want to be a pilot? I’m not sure but maybe a travel writer.
What is the question you are most often asked by property seekers?
Is it a good time to buy in the UAE and is it good to buy in the UAE? It allows us to speak about where the market has been, where the market is now, the initiatives taken by the government, the reduced prices and opportunities and the safety of buying here.
How big a role does Property Finder play in your job? What specifically do you use Property Finder for?
Property Finder plays a very big role in my job. I use it a lot for my research to see what else is out there.
I use the Lead Tracker App on the phone because I’m always on the run. It’s a very useful App.
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