My West London Life

London Real Estate boss Alex Bourne on Buying London


Kate Elliott meets London Real Estate agent Alex Bourne, fresh from appearing on Netflix's Buying London

Hi Alex, you’ve just hit our screens with the hotly anticipated Netflix show, Buying London… but you were working in Real Estate long before this. What made you want to work in property and how did you start?

Before finding my way into property, I had quite a few jobs, including being an actor, a massage therapist and a charity fundraiser. I’ve always been a people person, and when I settled down with my family I decided I wanted to leave acting, which can be quite precarious, and pursue a career that followed my passion for people while offering security. I was born and bred in London, having grown up surrounded by iconic buildings and my father worked in commercial property. I also found many connections from my acting career that helped me move into the sector. I found my way to the prime property end of the market after working in Foxtons’ ‘rare’ property division and had a vision for establishing my own business with co-founder Richard Douglas and I haven’t looked back since.

What do you love about working in west London?

Our London House office is based in Marylebone, however, I’ve lived across London including Chiswick and Fulham and spent a lot of time there with my friends. What I love about West London is its village and café culture feel, particularly the restaurants and cafes in Westbourne Grove. You’re never too far from a great neighbourhood restaurant, and of course, there is a great mix of rare gem prime properties that are perfect family homes. We are currently listing a beautifully restored Stucco fronted grade II lateral penthouse in Notting Hill that combines modern updates with its historic Victorian design. With views over the square, its interiors have a whimsical feel that reflects the energy of the postcode.

Describe your average day… who are you with and what are you doing?

During the day, I am often on the go – meeting clients, arranging viewings and dashing around with my miniature schnauzer, Noodles in tow. He has an executive role at London House and is very discerning! The office is great too, we encourage a fun and laid-back environment to support our staff as the prime Central London property market can be very fast-paced and competitive. We want to make sure we continue to do the utmost for our clients and maintain our values as people-focused. I’m a complete foodie, so when I’m not working, I love eating at places like the River Café. Notting Hill has some great restaurants and bars and Holland Park is a great place to visit with my kids. We love the Japanese Kyoto garden. If we are going further west, Richmond Park is amazing.

London House has been described as ‘the private member’s club’ of London Real Estate. What makes the company different from its competitors?

I think it’s because our discreet high-net-worth client relationships are built long-term, making our network a community. We’ve been known to sell up to five different properties for the same client, working with them for over a decade. We treat everyone with respect, and our recommendations are directed by a relationship-first approach. Our knowledge of prime properties across London is unrivalled and we are acutely positioned to offer the perfect home. We can match the buyer with their dream lifestyle in an area of London they may not have considered and we make it our mission to understand every corner of the city’s villages. Each is as unique as our clients are. It’s this model that grows our discerning network by word-of-mouth recommendation. 

When you’re looking for a house for a client, what are the things you take into account before making suggestions?

The first aspect is listening intently. In terms of making the right suggestions, this has to come from the cultural and lifestyle aspects that London has to offer, as well as letting the buildings do the talking. We understand how to dress and stage prime properties to uphold a vision for the home and our clients come to us for a rare gem or collector’s item that they just have to have. For example,  we are currently listing a Grade I listed penthouse in St Pancras Chambers, perfect for a client seeking an iconic building with historic interest.

We can also cater for every client’s needs, and my little black book of contacts is extremely diverse, from Feng Shui experts to those who can help source Italian marble for an entertainment space. If the client is from an arts background and wants special features like a recording studio, we’ll have the contacts to find a property that has one or we can get one designed and built in their desired home within a week.

Have you had many celebrity clients? Any that you’d be happy to name-drop for West London Living?

Being discreet is key to our client relationships. However, I can say that our clients include international royalty, pop stars and tech entrepreneurs!

What’s the most interesting house you’ve ever sold?

We recently sold Harold Pinter’s former home for just under £15M. It is a rare gem in London’s rich tapestry of cultural heritage due to its proximity to Regents Park. It is the work of architect John Nash, who also designed Buckingham Palace, and makes for a lovely village-feel home among tree-lined streets.

How about the most expensive house you’ve ever sold?

The most expensive property we’ve ever sold was valued at upwards of £200M.

Do you ever work with an interior designer?

My sister, Emma Gurner, is a phenomenal interior designer and has styled my properties across London. We both grew up in a household that loved property – our father worked in property and our mother loved making bold statements with our family home’s interiors. We work more widely with a range of interior designers depending on the look and feel of the property, whether eclectic or luxe, we can cater for all tastes and show prime properties off to their best advantage.

Finally, what’s it been like filming Buying London? What can we expect from Season 1?

Buying London has been fun to work on. London House has often been asked to appear on property shows and we chose Netflix because of the platform’s vision to beautifully celebrate London. I hope viewers enjoy it in the same way they’d watch Made in Chelsea. It is a light-hearted look into a world that is very unique, featuring a close-knit community of agents and rival agencies, working with some of London’s most iconic properties.

Viewers will capture an insight into how we work at London House and our passion for property. We’re really proud of the business we’ve built and can’t wait to share it with viewers. 

Discover more about London’s discreet prime real estate experts here:

Buying London is out now on Netflix

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