There are very few agents who have owned a multi-branch estate agency at just 31 years old. And right now, within the Winkworth network, there is just one. He is Norfolk agent Jamie Moore who came to The Negotiator’s attention after an industry watcher said a branch of his was a top performer nationally for converting instructions to SSTC sales.
Moore runs three branches in total under the Winkworth brand; Hellesdon to the north of Norwich, coastal Southwold and star performer Poringland. He exudes a confidence and drive that not many people possess at such a young age. But his entry into estate agency was a piece of luck. The Norwich-born-and-bred agent began working at agency aged just 17 after initially attending a local bricklaying course but realising quickly that hod-carrying wasn’t for him.
The Countrywide years
His mother then packed him off to a careers advisor who, twigging that he was more suited to office work, suggested he apply for a job at Countrywide agency Abbotts as a junior administrator – which he got. Moore climbed the promotional ladder fast. After six months as an office junior working every Saturday and in the evenings on weekdays for free, he was soon doing a negotiator’s role and outselling many of his colleagues who were paid to do it full time.
He then joined them as a trainee negotiator and after three years got his first management role. “That was challenging because I looked very young but local people like local people so that helped,” he said. But Moore is clear where his drive comes from. “I was driven because I didn’t come from a wealthy background so I didn’t have a family who would be able to pick me up financially if it didn’t work out – Abbotts was my only opportunity to make a mark and get the experience I needed,” he says.
I’m driven to be number one and I hate it when other agencies beat me to an instruction.
“That’s where my work ethic comes from. I take my job very seriously, but you should enjoy it too. Nevertheless, I’m driven to be number one and I hate it when other agencies beat me to an instruction or whatever. I want to win.”
But what he didn’t realise at the time was that his later years at Countrywide coincided with the disastrous Alison Platt era, and he eventually cast around for a way out.
“My job was very secure there but the people around me and above me were being treated quite badly – and people were let go after many years with the agency without much warning when Countrywide was reorganised,” he says.
“It was an era when they made some very strange decisions that landed the overall company in a lot trouble – and I thought that I don’t want to be 40 years old and starting again.
Grow your own agency
“So that’s when I started talking to Winkworth about how they could help me grow my own business, and I thought that was a better path to take.” He opened a branch initially in Poringland to the east of Norwich because that’s where he lived, then struck out to celebrity favourite Southwold and more recently in suburban Hellesdon. “Poringland and Hellesdon are for people moving to the area from other parts of the country or region, whereas Southwold is where all the Londoners like to buy homes, so we’ve got these different markets covered,” he says.
We’re all driven people here and push hard together to make it a success.
“I’m a big believer that people support local businesses – and here we’ve been able to offer the integrity of the Winkworth name as well as our hard-won reputation for good service.
“I work very hard, six days a week – because success in estate agency can disappear very quickly so you need to keep at it every day. We’re all driven people here and push hard together to make it a success.
“It’s taken off in a way that I wouldn’t have imaged it would do, but we just do the little things right every day. If you look at any of the agents who perform best around here, it’s the ones where the owner is in the branch or business every single day driving it forward, unlike the ones who have directors who you never see and who have people running it for them. Then the results tend to be very mediocre.”
JAMIE MOORE – CV
School: Thorpe St Andrew High School Career start: Initially hoping to enter the construction industry he attended City College Norwich.
2007: Joined Countrywide brand Abbotts as an administration assistant. Spent next eight years working his way up through the ranks initially as a negotiator and later branch manager, area property appraisal manager and finally listing manager.
2018: Left Abbotts to set up his own Winkworth franchise in and around Norwich. First branch in Poringland with two more branches opening later. At 31 years old Jamie is the youngest agent within Winkworth to have a multi-branch franchise. There is another 31-year-old franchise holder within the Winkworth family, Tom Mayfield in Cheltenham, but he has just one branch.
Big plans for the future
Moore says he has big plans for his business including more branches and a move into lettings, which is only a small part of his business at the moment; he is looking to set up a separate team to add to his currently tally of 23 staff.
What’s the market like in Norwich now?
“I’ve never known a market to be this busy and fast as it is at the moment,” says Moore. “We cover Norfolk and parts of Suffolk and it’s busy everywhere.” He reckons that people’s lives have changed and while they’ve been working from home and want a new lifestyle, or they are planning to move closer to family because they’ve not seen them much during the Covid.
“There’s also been some speculation going on – people who bought a property, say, a few years ago, have now realised they can make some money from it and move somewhere nicer or better-located without paying so much Stamp Duty – so they’ve brought those plans forward,” he says. “House prices have really shot up around here, so it’s been a no-brainer for people like that. “We’ve had a few people who’ve just not settled somewhere who have also grabbed the opportunity to move now too.”
Jamie is still bedding in his newest branch in Hellesdon, which is on a site that used to belong to a local competitor that closed down recently. And funnily enough, given Countrywide’s recent problems and branch closures, you may not be surprised to hear that agency was… Abbotts.