Peter Rollings reveals what makes a good estate agent

Foxtons legend offers up advice to independent agents during Guild podcast interview.

foxtons estate agent

Estate agent industry legend Peter Rollings has revealed his thoughts on how independent agents can maximise profits and grow their business.

Talking on The Guild of Property Professionals podcast he tells chief executive Iain McKenzie that one of the first things agents could do is join a mentorship group where they could share ideas and learn from other likeminded professionals.

Rollings (pictured), who is currently interim chief executive at Foxtons, runs a multi-chain business and says it’s important not to over complicate your business.

“That’s what was happening at Foxtons,” he says. “Essentially, estate agency is a simple business and is about doing the right things brilliantly.

“Call people back, charge a proper fee, show your worth, send the best people out to valuations, ensure your marketing is smart and stands out from the crowd, and try to do things differently from competitor agents.

“The key when doing the tasks, is a relentless attention to detail.”

Rollings gives us a whistlestop tour of his career which first began with Lane Fox & Partners, a London-based agency where he cut his teeth selling country properties before joining the Fulham branch of Foxtons in 1985 as a negotiator. There he rose through the ranks and was appointed managing director in 1997.

“During that time, we grew the business and focused on doing things our own way, very differently to most other estate agents,” he says. “We were able to keep our fees high, something we still do. Our average fee is 2.38% across our 61 London offices.”

BACK AND FORTH

In 2005, Rollings left Foxtons and together with a partner bought Marsh & Parsons. The business was sold in 2011, with Rollings exiting the business in 2016.

“Last December I was asked to sit on the Foxtons board as an NED. I believe that every estate agency board should have a practitioner on it, someone who has sold or let properties and understands the business from the ground up.

“In my view it had become a big flabby corporate that had lost its sense of why it is in business, which is to provide a great service and, bluntly, to get more money than anybody else could for our clients – that is our job and that is why we charge a premium fee.”

In my view it had become a big flabby corporate that had lost its sense of why it is in business.”

While Rollings is currently the interim CEO of Foxtons, part of his role was to find the person who would take over the role.

“We hunted for a new CEO, and over my tenure with Foxtons I have probably employed most estate agents in London at various times in their lives!  We identified Guy Gittins as the perfect choice. He has previously worked at Foxtons for a number of years and understands us and our culture, furthermore, he has been hugely successful at Chestertons, so he has a fabulous all-round view of not only Foxtons, but other businesses as well.”

To help ensure that standards are maintained throughout the business, Rollings says that Foxtons has area directors covering eight to ten offices, both in lettings and sales. “Lettings is a magnificent business and in fact, we have just had three consecutive record lettings weeks.”

You can listen to The Guild’s podcast here: The Home Stretch.


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