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Agencies & People

Hybrid nature of Hunters’ new Cumbrian ‘branches’ revealed

Hunters' sales progression and negotiation staff to be based at its central hub in Carlisle but local valuers will not have an office.

Nigel Lewis

The latest Hunters franchisee to join its network has revealed more details of how its business model will work including details of its Purplebricks-like operation on the ground.

Graeme MacLeod’s decision to operate his business in Cumbria and South West Scotland from a central hub in Carlisle has all the hallmarks of a hybrid operation and is the first time that Hunters has a franchisee without any high street branches.

This includes a central hub on the outskirts of Carlisle where all sales progression and property management will be handled by office-based staff while local colleagues on the ground are to be split into nine areas.

These are Cockermouth, Dumfries, Penrith, Kendal, Workington, Whitehaven, Barrow, Lancaster and Carlisle.

Valuations and viewings

Staff in the local areas will handle all valuations and viewings activity and will not be based within a local branch office but have local telephone numbers.

For example, its Cockermouth office is covered by a local valuer who is based in the town but supported by three colleagues at its Carlisle hub, which is 28 miles away. This includes a sales manager, lettings manager and a sales and lettings negotiator.

Macleod signed up to the Hunters franchise after leading a management buyout of the business from Cumberland Building Society the branches of which staff were based at until now.

“We have had a fantastic 27 years as part of the building society and will continue to harness our strong relationship with them,” says Macleod, who has worked for both LSL and Countrywide in the past.

“Estate agency is and always will be about people first, but that’s no longer just about face to face contact. It is equally important to capitalise on digital innovation and technological advancements, which offer significant benefits to our staff and by extension our customers, allowing them to be better informed and at a faster pace too.

“We very much see it as a strengthening of the high street offering, rather than a dilution of it. Becoming part of an operation this vast is very important in this respect.”

November 8, 2019

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