CARVING A CAREER

Julia Robotham is a Partner in our National Country Department. Here, she reflects on her career in property, from student beginnings to selling her clients’ largest assets, the importance of gender balance in property, and how the pandemic has affected the way she works

CARVING A CAREER

Julia Robotham is a Partner in our National Country Department. Here, she reflects on her career in property, from student beginnings to selling her clients’ largest assets, the importance of gender balance in property, and how the pandemic has affected the way she works

HOW DID YOU START YOUR CAREER?

JR: People, their relationships and communities have always interested me. I studied sociology at university, and it was the desire to find a student job more interesting than bar work which led me into property. I found a role with a student lettings agency back in 2007 and loved it from the first day. As soon as I finished my degree, I knew exactly what I wanted to do for a living.

TODAY YOU’RE A PARTNER AT KNIGHT FRANK. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

JR: I spent some time learning the ropes of sales in agencies based both in the Home Counties and in London, where the pace was fast and the environment was exciting, but it was all too impersonal and too rushed. Everything fell into place when I joined the Knight Frank Country House Department in 2016 and I had time to work collaboratively with clients in the countryside where I grew up. Today I cover prime market – houses worth £2.5m and above – across Kent, Sussex and Surrey.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE WOMEN WORKING IN HIGH END PROPERTY SALES?

JR: Gender balance is very important to Knight Frank. When the main drivers to the market are the result of difficult and potentially upsetting life changes, what’s often needed is someone on side with plenty of empathy and patience, qualities that women are known for having. Yes, our job is about negotiating the best deal for clients, but noticing the small details and taking time to build a long-lasting rapport is fundamental, too.

Everything fell into place when I joined the Knight Frank Country House Department in 2016 and I had time to work collaboratively with clients in the countryside where I grew up.

WHAT’S THE BEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED?

JR: Approximately 75% of my clients are in their 60s or older and will be selling what might be the largest asset they own. Not only is trust paramount but, for many, this presents a tricky chapter in their lives. It’s my instinct to try and absorb the smaller details alongside the important elements, and to listen to their timescales to appreciate the fuller picture.

HAS THE PANDEMIC AFFECTED THE WAY YOU WORK?

JR: Yes, instead of spending four or five hours in my car every day, travelling in and out of London, I’m now working predominantly from home. As a result, I’ve got more time to look after my clients, proactively market their houses to buyers and work more diligently to ensure they are getting the best service. It’s also giving me the opportunity to take buyers on second viewings to the furthest corners of my patch, something that would have been almost impossible in my previous working week.


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