Property People Q&A: Toby Milbank

Toby Milbank, director of The Search Partnership, which specialises in finding and securing top properties, www.thesearchpartnership.co.uk.

Q How did you end up working in property? I started my working life with Strutt & Parker as a land agent, became a surveyor and moved into estate agency. After 15 years of selling property, I became a buying agent in 2015 and set up The Search Partnership with Tom Robinson. We find and secure property in Yorkshire and the north of England for retained private clients. We buy houses, flats, farms, sporting estates, grouse moors, forestry, as well as investment and development opportunities

Q: How is the housing market faring in your area? Lack of stock is the main issue. There are simply very few houses coming to the market at the moment and as and when the right house comes on a the right price, there is almost always more than one buyer who wants to buy it. The art is knowing what is a good house and what is not and what is the right price and what is not.

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Q: Are there any up-and-coming places? Our house price index we publish every year shows that the improved A1 access and the Bedale bypass seem to having perhaps the most extreme impact on house prices in Yorkshire. Prices are increasing surprisingly quickly in the Bedale area at the moment. Leeds and Harrogate are now easily commutable from this area.

Q: If you were the Housing Minister what would you do? When someone moves house, they normally spend a considerable amount on the move, not only in agents fees and lawyers fees but in improvements to the house, building works, carpets, in their gardens, with removal companies etc. It creates a huge amount of additional business. Stamp duty is currently stifling this productivity of the housing sector. For buyers with a large budget, 10% of the value passing to HMRC is a significant proportion and with prices only increasing 2% or 3% a year in Yorkshire, the stamp duty has a huge impact on anyone deciding whether or not to move house. To get the housing market moving and to see an upward trend in the economy, reducing stamp duty seems to be an obvious solution.

Q: What are the best and worst things about working in property? Best is seeing the look in a client's eyes when I can sense the excitement that we have just walked into their perfect house.

Worst was arranging a tour day of properties for a client and waking up to find thick fog covering the county.

Q: Where and what your ideal home? I often find my perfect house but it is never in the right position. Or I find the perfect position, but I don't like the house. I would need a large crane to create my ideal home to put my favourite house in my favourite position – perhaps I have become too fussy?