New tech­nol­ogy and old-fash­ioned hard graft a winning com­bi­na­tion

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

WITH a hous­ing mar­ket in the dol­drums for most of last year, prop­erty pro­fes­sion­als were forced to work even harder to get re­sults. The stamina and cre­ativ­ity that helped the strong­est play­ers sur­vive was ev­i­dent at York­shire’s Finest Prop­erty Awards 2009.

The awards, de­vised by York­shire Post News­pa­pers, cel­e­brate the ex­cel­lence and out­stand­ing achieve­ments within this com­pet­i­tive arena.

Clever mar­ket­ing, pre­sen­ta­tion and ex­haus­tive ground­work have been the hall­mark of most home sales and rentals this year, but many es­tate and let­tings agents went the ex­tra mile, which made the en­tries even harder to judge.

York­shire Post News­pa­pers’ Prop­erty and Motors Man­ager, Richard Tam­lyn, says: “Last year was an­other dif­fi­cult one for prop­erty, but in spite of the mar­ket, some out­stand­ing work has gone on and we felt it de­served the recog­ni­tion that a York­shire’s Finest Prop­erty Award de­liv­ers.”

This year, be­cause of the dif­fi­cul­ties in the de­vel­op­ment mar­ket and with rel­a­tively lit­tle new build, we slimmed down the cat­e­gories to Best Mar­ket­ing Cam­paign and Best Web­site.

“Even so, the stan­dard of the en­tries was so high that it took a lot of de­lib­er­a­tion to find our win­ners,” says judge and York­shire Post prop­erty writer Sharon Dale. “It was clear that an in­cred­i­ble amount of time and ef­fort had gone into mar­ket­ing the prop­er­ties.

“Also in­ter­est­ing was how more agents are us­ing new tech­nol­ogy and so­cial net­work­ing sites to gain ex­po­sure for their web­sites. The win­ner of this cat­e­gory was es­pe­cially switched on to all the op­por­tu­ni­ties that the in­ter­net presents.”

Fel­low judges in­cluded Adrian John­son, owner of Leeds-based con­sumer and on­line PR agency, Umpf, who was highly im­pressed with the strate­gies used by to sell and let homes.

James Gar­ri­son, Dig­i­tal Com­mer­cial Man­ager at Johnston Press, was in­valu­able for his scru­tiny of en­tries in the web­site cat­e­gory.

Richard Tam­lyn adds: “The judges had a hard time de­cid­ing on the win­ners and all those who en­tered should be com­mended. The award win­ners in par­tic­u­lar should be re­ally proud of what they have achieved in very dif­fi­cult trad­ing con­di­tions.

“With the mar­ket show­ing signs of re­cov­ery, we are looking for­ward to our next awards and an­tic­i­pate a re­turn to our ex­tended list of cat­e­gories in­clud­ing some of the re­gion’s finest ar­chi­tec­ture.”

And the win­ners of York­shire’s Finest Prop­erty Awards 2009 are:

Best Mar­ket­ing Cam­paign for an In­di­vid­ual Prop­erty

Win­ner: Blenkin and Co, York The award was for the mar­ket­ing of Baker’s Yard in York.

This con­tem­po­rary self-build on a tight site was a niche prop­erty and the num­ber of po­ten­tial buy­ers quite small. Blenkin and Co’s pro­mo­tion of it was vig­or­ous and very creative.

Tim Blenkin and Hi­lary Pe­grum spot­ted the an­gles that gave them the best chance of pub­lic­ity and man­aged to get ed­i­to­rial fea­tures in the York­shire Post fol­lowed by sto­ries in two na­tional news­pa­pers.

The brochure was beau­ti­fully pre­sented and the pho­to­graphs su­perb.

The seller was de­lighted with 21 view­ings in­clud­ing two from Lon­don and it took just two months to get an of­fer in Au­gust 2009. The buyer said: “I was ini­tially looking for a pe­riod prop­erty but my eye was caught by the brochure which was in­trigu­ing and at­trac­tive con­vinc­ing me that the prop­erty war­ranted im­me­di­ate in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“Through­out the pro­ceed­ings Tim Blenkin’s con­duct was highly pro­fes­sional re­veal­ing that he un­der­stood the in­tri­cate bal­ance be­tween act­ing for the client and as­sist­ing the buyer.

“The whole ex­pe­ri­ence was most sat­is­fy­ing and, from my point of view, the mar­ket­ing was very pro­fes­sion­ally done.” The York­shire’s Finest Prop­erty Awards Judges said: “The con­tem­po­rary photography and clever use of th­ese im­ages re­ally sell this prop­erty and max­imise its ap­peal to the de­sign con­scious. The ex­cel­lent brochure paid div­i­dends as the buyer’s eye was caught by this and he was per­suaded to view even though he was ini­tially looking for a pe­riod prop­erty in York.

“All avail­able chan­nels were used to gen­er­ate an im­pres­sive amount of pub­lic­ity for this con­tem­po­rary house in­clud­ing PR, email, brochure, news­pa­per ad­verts and di­rect mail.

“This was a dif­fi­cult time to sell any­thing and Blenkin’s out­per­formed against the mar­ket con­di­tions.” Highly Com­mended: Bead­nall Co­p­ley (with offices in Wetherby, Har­ro­gate and Ripon) for Tu­dor Cot­tage, Bramham This prop­erty went on the mar­ket in May 2008 and didn’t sell un­til June the fol­low­ing year but Bead­nall Co­p­ley worked tire­lessly to gen­er­ate in­ter­est in some of the worst con­di­tions the mar­ket has seen.

They gen­er­ated pub­lic­ity in the York­shire Post and in na­tional news­pa­pers and used ev­ery­thing from email alerts to di­rect mail, sig­nage and news­pa­per ad­ver­tis­ing to high­light the cot­tage.

The seller was de­lighted and said: “I was de­lighted with Bead­nall Co­p­ley’s com­pre­hen­sive ap­proach, us­ing ev­ery av­enue to cre­ate in­ter­est and view­ings. I was par­tic­u­larly im­pressed that dur­ing very dif­fi­cult con­di­tions for the hous­ing mar­ket, they con­tin­u­ally went the ex­tra mile to get as much pub­lic­ity for my home as pos­si­ble.

“By do­ing this they se­cured very valu­able free ed­i­to­rial for me. All of this had sub­stan­tial ef­fects on the suc­cess of the view­ings and un­doubt­edly had a di­rect in­flu­ence on the fi­nal re­sult.” The York­shire’s Finest Prop­erty Awards Judges said: “This prop­erty was on the mar­ket at the worst pos­si­ble time and took a while to sell, but the agents put in 110 per cent ef­fort and never gave up. They worked ex­tremely hard to sell this house.

“By brand­ing the cot­tage as “quintessen­tially English” they gave it a strong iden­tity and man­aged to get ex­cel­lent press cov­er­age.

“If that was our house we’d be de­lighted with the mar­ket­ing cam­paign and the fact the agent worked so in­cred­i­bly hard.”

Best Prop­erty Agent Web­site

Win­ner: Flats in Leeds www.flatsin­leeds.com This let­tings web­site won an award last year, too and it is still one of the best we’ve ever seen for tar­get­ing its mar­ket and us­ing ev­ery­thing the in­ter­net has to of­fer in the way of web mar­ket­ing.

The home page is very clear, in­for­ma­tive and easy to nav­i­gate. Within a click you can find ex­actly what you’re looking for.

It is gen­er­at­ing a grow­ing num­ber of vis­i­tors each month thanks to its high rank­ing on search en­gines and its de­sign, which is con­tem­po­rary and user-friendly.

They re­alise that the in­ter­est of the vis­i­tor has to be se­cured within sec­onds.

Flats in Leeds don’t rest on their lau­rels ei­ther and are de­sign­ing a new ten­ants’ in­for­ma­tion page and a page for stu­dents.

They also have links to so­cial net­work­ing sites in­clud­ing Face­book, Gumtree and Twit­ter. The York­shire’s Finest Prop­erty Awards Judges said: “This site was a very wor­thy win­ner. It is su­perb.

“It is clear and con­cise and is clev­erly de­signed to ap­peal to its tar­get mar­ket.

“It also shows ex­treme un­der­stand­ing of mod­ern tech­nol­ogy.

“We were re­ally im­pressed with the or­ganic search en­gine op­ti­mi­sa­tion and with the use of mar­ket­ing through putting videos of the prop­er­ties on YouTube. “ Highly Com­mended: Knight Frank www.knight­frank.co.uk Knight Frank is an in­ter­na­tional prop­erty agent but even though it has 5,000 prop­er­ties for sale all over the world, its web­site is very easy to nav­i­gate.

It was very easy to find homes for sale in York­shire.

Users are able to ex­plore and re­fine their prop­erty pref­er­ences eas­ily us­ing ev­ery­thing from life­style cri­te­ria to maps.

The homes for sale are dis­played clearly and the im­agery is ex­cel­lent. The York­shire’s Finest Prop­erty Awards Judges said: “Al­though this is an in­ter­na­tional agent, it was very easy to search for York­shire prop­erty.

“The site looks good and it per­forms when looking for re­gional homes for sale.

“The prop­er­ties are clearly dis­played with op­tions to con­tact the agent and the carousel pho­to­graphs show good use of tech­nol­ogy.

“Knight Frank.co.uk also has very high Google rank­ings, which shows that search en­gine op­ti­mi­sa­tion is good.”

WIN­NER: Jor­dan Yo­rath of Flats in Leeds, right, re­ceives the Best Prop­erty Agent Web­site award from Richard Tam­lyn of York­shire Post News­pa­pers.

PRE­SEN­TA­TION: Hi­lary Pe­grum and Tim Blenkin of Blenkin & Co re­ceive the award for Best Mar­ket­ing Cam­paign for an In­di­vid­ual Prop­erty.

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