When the go­ing gets tough, the best agents get cre­ative

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - An­drew Bead­nall

LAST year we saw change as some con­fi­dence re­turned to a some­what bruised hous­ing mar­ket. For me per­son­ally, com­pany changes were also afoot as I took over the reins of the Bead­nall Co­p­ley busi­ness as sole prac­ti­tioner fol­low­ing the re­tire­ment of my busi­ness part­ner, David Co­p­ley.

Un­like many other agents that have ei­ther dis­ap­peared from the high street or have re­duced staffing lev­els in re­cent years, Bead­nall Co­p­ley’s teams across Wetherby, Har­ro­gate and Ripon have gone from strength to strength. In 2010, our Wetherby of­fice had its record year since open­ing 16 years ago.

I be­lieve this isn’t down to sheer luck. It’s about ex­pe­ri­ence and lo­cal knowl­edge, un­der­stand­ing clients’ needs and a de­ter­mined team giv­ing the best ser­vice and re­al­is­tic ad­vice.

It’s also about cre­ative ideas. We de­vised “Meet the Ex­perts” and “Multi-View­ing” week­ends, which boosted sales and in­struc­tions. In this mar­ket­place, in­no­va­tion re­mains the key for sell­ing homes.

That’s what peo­ple should be look­ing for when they choose an agent.

When I look back over my 37 years in es­tate agency, I have ad­mired a num­ber of com­peti­tors, in­clud­ing Tim Blenkin, who runs his suc­cess­ful prac­tice in York, and the re­cently re­tired Charles Yeo­man in North York­shire. Each is highly pro­fes­sional and client-fo­cused.

Sadly, the three agents from whom I learnt the most are no longer around. John Small­wood, Peter Scales and Jim Feather all in­stilled in me that good­will is the most im­per­a­tive char­ac­ter­is­tic in busi­ness. I still stand by this phi­los­o­phy to­day.

De­spite the sec­tor’s bad press, I am proud to be in the es­tate agency busi­ness. We are a peo­ple busi­ness and not just about bricks and mor­tar.

Clients trust us to sell their most valu­able as­sets, their homes. In re­turn, es­tate agents need to of­fer in­tegrity, pro­fes­sion­al­ism and cour­tesy.

The best busi­nesses will also try to give some­thing back to the com­mu­ni­ties they serve. I am Chair­man of the Hun­slet Trust, which en­sures sport for dis­ad­van­taged young peo­ple thrives in South Leeds. Right now, the Trust is sup­port­ing Olympic hope­fuls. We are also the main spon­sor for the Bramham Park Fun Run, cov­er­ing all event costs so that fundrais­ing goes di­rectly to Can­cer Re­search UK.

Per­son­ally, be­ing in a po­si­tion to help in this way is highly grat­i­fy­ing, and cer­tainly puts ev­ery­thing, in­clud­ing the tough few years we have had, into per­spec­tive.

The re­ces­sion hasn’t been all bad for the prop­erty mar­ket. In­deed, it has had the ef­fect of mak­ing buy­ers and sell­ers less rash and more cau­tious.

I pre­dict that peo­ple will be much more con­sid­ered in their ap­proach to buy­ing and sell­ing homes.

They will bor­row more sen­si­bly and tend to buy prop­erty to live in for the fore­see­able fu­ture rather than just as an in­vest­ment. They will think care­fully about their next move and about the agent they use.

Here are my top five tips for choos­ing an es­tate agent:

1. Look for an agent with lo­cal knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence. Rec­om­men­da­tions can be pow­er­ful, so ask friends and fam­ily.

2. Con­sider lo­cal es­tate agents’ per­for­mances. Have they been in­de­pen­dently recog­nised or awarded for their ser­vices?

3. Find out how your prop­erty will be mar­keted and achieve promi­nence in a crowded mar­ket­place. What mar­ket­ing cam­paigns will be of­fered, in­clud­ing press and on­line ac­tiv­i­ties?

4. Trust is an im­por­tant part of your re­la­tion­ship, so dis­cuss your needs up­front, gauge agents’ per­son­al­i­ties and per­sonal ap­proach.

5. Ap­point an agent with an ex­em­plary track record of sell­ing homes quickly. Just look around, the pres­ence of their Sold boards can speak vol­umes.

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