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Window of opportunity

Do landed estates represent acres of potential or could they become dangerous millstones? Sell up, borrow or diversify? Fiona Graham ?looks at how families are making their homes their business

23 September 2013

The landed estate is perhaps the earliest type of family business. Traditionally, large tracts of land with associated buildings - the main hall or house, farm buildings and let cottages - were owned by one family, run by the estate's factor or agent, and passed from eldest son to eldest son down the generations.

Today, both urban and rural estates must be on the front foot to prosper in today's challenging economy and survive the ever-increasing welter of legislation.

This type of client and manner of dealings can be seen in ITV drama Downton Abbey. Lord Grantham is head ?of the family but his agent seemingly takes the bulk of the work and decisions while the lord entertains lavishly, dealing with 'matters on the ground' via his London lawyer.

He is, however, a kind and considerate owner and perhaps fails to see that the estate can no longer stand on its own two fe...

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