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22 GEOFFREY KENT FOUNDER CHAIRMAN CEO OF AK INTERNATIONAL ESTATES Interview August 7th 2014 AK International Estates is your latest venture launched in September 2012. What made you decide to expand to become an estate agency as well as a leading tailored and luxury holiday specialist There are very close synergies between luxury travel and high end second home ownership. Those interested in owning a second home or in many cases their third or fourth tend to be wealthy well- travelled and business savvy. Exactly the same profile as our existing clientele. Many of our guests have asked for help in finding the perfect holiday home. We work closely with most of the top resorts around the world and regularly send guests to their hotels. If they happen to be selling real estate we can actively assist our clients. Ultimately AK is all about service and we believe we can offer real estate services with a difference by assisting buyers with all their travel needs and destination experiences both in terms of viewing properties but also once they have taken ownership. What elements made you focus on the business of luxury Abercrombie Kent has been at the forefront of luxury travel for more than 50 years pioneering tailor- made holidays to established and emerging markets around the world in a uniquely stylish manner. Demand from our guests to own luxury property has been growing and AK International Estates reflects our commitment to provide completely personalised service. Having over 50 offices spread across 26 different countries must put you in excellent stead for giving the best advice to your clients. What do you think puts you above other specialist boutique real estate agencies What makes us truly unique is our core business travel and our network of over 52 offices around the world. This enables us to offer seamless end-to-end service to our clients from site visits during construction to travel arrangements whenever they want to use their home. In destinations where we have an office we can create bespoke travel itineraries that help the buyer fully appreciate the local lifestyle whether its owning a piece of a winery in Mendoza or a spa retreat in Thailand. Our strategy is very much about selling the destination first and the property second. Why did you decide to launch Abercrombie Kents Estate Agency at the tail end of the recession The best time to set up a business is just before the market recovers. We assessed that it wouldnt be too long before the market picked up and we wanted to be established which takes time sourcing the right properties and building a reputation so that when the good times return we were ready and not playing catch-up or missing opportunities. Its taken about six months longer than we had predicted but the recovery is clearly in full swing now. We think we have timed it pretty well. Which achievements are you most proud of since launching the estate agency We offer a highly tailored service in the top end of the property market. We have the ability to provide comprehensive services around property sales such as travel villa rental and concierge services. We only list a manageable number of properties and developments at any time enabling us to provide a personalised first class service. Buying and selling though us means special treatment. Im particularly pleased with how well we are able to work together between our various divisions and across borders. We have built a fantastic portfolio of properties from unique individual homes to resort retreats and even private vineyards in a relatively short space of time. We are also attracting wealthy buyers from around the world who come to us because they trust the brand and the service we offer. Which countryies do you feel most excited about the prospects and growth of the housing market in the foreseeable future In the USA properties have hit the bottom in many locations but prime properties in Manhattan and Florida are booming once again largely driven by foreign investors and a lack of stock. Such properties appeal to both investors and those seeking primary residences and they see them as safe Abercrombie Kent International Estates