James Reading, Marketing Advisor
Readings Property Services
Next year will mark our 20th year as a business that has become a formidable presence covering areas such as Elm Park and Hornchurch. Throughout this time, we have built a team with vast knowledge of the local area, as do our recommended solicitors, to ensure a smooth sale. As a local, family run business, we all keep an eye on each other’s files as opposed to a separate sales progression team; this is integral when team members are on holiday to ensure the wheels keep turning. Our staff live in the area so have an insight into quality of schools and which local assets to highlight.
The greatest challenge in the current market is the rise of online agents, enticing clients with the shiny, bright lights of a low fee. To counteract this, it’s important to justify the service that we provide. Informing people on our mailing list of properties we think will suit them helps to build a rapport as the more we know about our clients, the easier it will be to marry them up to their next property.
Likewise, regular contact with our vendors and prompt feedback amounts to our vendors feeling comfortable speaking to anyone in the office, with the security that they know the current form of their property.
These are all things we have found to be lacking when approached by vendors who have been unhappy with their online agent, and favour ourselves. Once the glitz of the money saving has faded we have a hands-on team to manage the chain of the purchase, and monitor the legal progress.
Equally important is embracing technology that promotes the company as a brand and showcases our sales via a range of methods. From our magazine that attracts passers-by who do not use the internet as their primary source for a property search, to the advantages that come with canvassing and sending individual leaflets that are personalised via The Guild, we reiterate our personal approach, informing potential vendors of recent properties that we have sold down that selected road. This is an effective way of making our presence known especially in the event where there is no for sale board.
To conclude, our traditional method, which does not rely solely on the internet, but to also ring out on new properties, has been embraced by our clients who have paid the compliment of buying through us and then seeking our services when they come to sell. The warm nature, with a competitive edge, shows that an agent can engage with technology and stay true to basics sales methods.
Mark Parker, Company Director
Parkers Property Consultants & Valuers
Parkers Property Consultants and Valuers is an independent, award winning, family run agent focusing on residential sales. Parkers has two offices serving Dorset, in Poundbury – an urban extension to Dorchester – and in the centre of Bridport. We offer a wide range of properties surrounded by stunning coastal and countryside scenery with a relaxed pace of life; it’s easy to see why we are busy.
There has been great change in the housing market and activity has reflected this. There is an obvious conflict between the political and economic uncertainty; the differing outlooks of whether to delay a move or ‘bite the bullet’ and the undeniable attraction a Dorset lifestyle offers, tempting moves at every turn.
The number of sales transactions over the last few years has not altered significantly, however, price growth has slowed. The lack of new stock is welcome to sellers, as applicants make swift, bold offers on well-priced properties.
Online agents are making a slow presence but we are mindful to demonstrate the value of service of a traditional agent, offering unrivalled local knowledge, bespoke customer service and an honest and proactive approach. Each member of our team is well-versed with every case and property, but one of our key selling features is the dedicated ‘sales chasing’ member of staff in each office. We have seen a number of clients who have tried the draw of a cheap fee and quickly discover the pitfalls, returning to us muttering ‘never again!’ However, we must not underestimate the place of the internet in our industry. Property portals have become, and will remain, key for agents in showcasing services and properties to the widest market.
In 2017 we expect to see a similar pattern as in the last 18 months. There is an exciting drive in activity in Dorchester and Poundbury, which is reflective of the significant investment and regeneration in the area. Bridport, a popular second home location for those from London, and it’s surrounding areas, follows more closely the activity seen in the capital, but there is always plenty of movement in and around Bridport; it’s position and vibrant culture ensures the prices remain stable. Overall, we expect to see a more subdued number of moves with prices gently rising at around 1 -5 per cent year on year – good news for those already on the market and the settlement will be welcomed by those saving hard to join. A good agent working hard for applicants and purchasers should see everyone happy over less buoyant times.
Vicki Field, Sales Negotiator
Cooke & Co
Cooke & Co Estate Agents is a well-established independent sales and letting agents with three coastal offices in Cliftonville, Broadstairs and Ramsgate covering the whole of the Isle of Thanet. We opened our doors 25 years ago and have been successfully selling and renting properties for many happy, returning customers throughout the years.
2016/2017 has been a fantastic year with record sales and a Gold Award for Customer Service to boot, despite the media’s negative attention on the expected fall-out from Brexit and increased Stamp Duty for second homes and investments.
One of the major factors that has assisted with our success in 2016 is the on-going regeneration within the local towns. The popularity and desire from the London market, predominantly Shoreditch, Hackney and Dulwich, to move to seaside towns is ever growing, especially with the Council and Town Partnership getting involved with the gentrification. For example, Margate now offers a host of attractions for locals and relocaters including the Turner Contemporary Art Gallery, Dreamland Amusement and Festival Park and a fast growing Art scene, café culture and delicious restaurants with locally sourced produce.
Whilst in Ramsgate, there is a delightful Royal Marina and the popular HS1 Fast Speed rail link directly into London. Broadstairs still remains a quaint and quirky town with a beautiful beach and pier, along with an excellent range of both public and private schools boasting great Ofsted reports.
We are very privileged here in Thanet as the architecture across the Isle is made up of semi-rural farmhouses around the £650,000 mark, to Georgian Townhouses and Victorian Villas which are achieving approx. £350,000-£400,000. Some terraces have the most delightful sea views and are selling from £200,000 plus. There really is something for everyone whether you have a vast budget or are just starting out on the property ladder. We are currently seeing a general trend for period homes, whether Georgian or Victorian, with 2-5 bedrooms falling into the bracket of £200,000-£400,000.
At Cooke & Co we still believe that excellent customer service, knowledge and expertise comes from our experienced, dedicated and friendly staff and thus far outweighs the new trend of online estate agents.