Hard graft and fresh ideas are way to sell houses

Es­tate agent An­drew Bead­nall re­veals the naked truth be­hind view­ings and the se­crets of success.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

AN­DREW Bead­nall is the owner of es­tate and let­ting agents Bead­nall Co­p­ley, which has of­fices in Har­ro­gate, Wetherby and Ripon. He launched the busi­ness in 1991 and has just cel­e­brated its 21st an­niver­sary.

An­drew has lived in the Wetherby area for most of his life and was ed­u­cated at St Peter’s, York. He is mar­ried with one son, James, who has just joined Bead­nall Co­p­ley, hav­ing grad­u­ated in Es­tate Man­age­ment. A keen sports fan, An­drew is chair­man of the Hun­slet Trust, which sup­ports the young peo­ple of south Leeds in their pur­suit of sport­ing ex­cel­lence. He is also sup­porter of lo­cal char­i­ties, in­clud­ing Can­cer Re­search.

How and when did you start out in prop­erty and why have you stuck at it?

On leav­ing school in 1973, I joined Dacre, Son & Hart­ley as an ar­ti­cled pupil to the se­nior part­ner, John Small­wood, who was a great friend of my fa­ther’s. Ini­tially, I had the in­ten­tion of pur­su­ing a ca­reer in the com­mer­cial prop­erty mar­ket. How­ever “sheds” and I were not to be and I quickly moved into the res­i­den­tial di­vi­sion work­ing in the Har­ro­gate area. Af­ter 39 years, I still get the same buzz from sell­ing houses as ev­ery job is dif­fer­ent. I have been for­tu­nate to have found a ca­reer which I love and still be­lieve I am the best in the busi­ness. In sales, con­fi­dence is ev­ery­thing.

What have been the best and worst mo­ments of your ca­reer?

The worst moment was when Wendy Hart­ley had to re­tire from Bead­nalls due to her hav­ing can­cer. Wendy has been with me from the start, open­ing our Al­bert Street of­fice in 1991 and prior to that work­ing along­side me at Dacres and White­gates. Things un­ques­tion­ably changed that day but now nine years on and fully re­cov­ered, she’s back work­ing with me and she re­mains as keen to­day as she was 21 years ago. As for the best mo­ments, I have had some great suc­cesses, win­ning numer­ous mar­ket­ing awards, but the stand-out moment re­mains, the open­ing of Bead­nall Co­p­ley in 1991. In­cred­i­ble risk and ut­terly nerve-rack­ing but I al­ways had a be­lief that it would suc­ceed.

What qual­i­ties do you need to be a suc­cess­ful agent and to build your own agency?

To cre­ate a suc­cess­ful agency you need self-be­lief and a will­ing­ness to con­cen­trate to­tally on build­ing your busi­ness. You need to put ev­ery­thing else on hold. In my early days, I lit­er­ally worked 12-hour days, seven days a week with­out any hol­i­day for the first two years. You need to be ut­terly con­fi­dent in your abil­i­ties and cre­ate a busi­ness plan which is unique in es­tate agency. In my case, in 1991, it was to pro­vide the ul­ti­mate per­sonal ser­vice. We also had a new ap­proach mar­ket­ing, even down to choos­ing our cor­po­rate colours and style of news­pa­per ad­ver­tise­ments.

A sense of hu­mour is es­sen­tial in your line of work. Can you re­mem­ber the fun­ni­est mo­ments?

As you can imag­ine, af­ter 39 years of view­ing tens of thou­sands of homes the hu­mor­ous in­ci­dents are le­gend. Some of the fun­ni­est in­volve find­ing ven­dors who should not have been at home when we were there. One lady ven­dor brought the key to her home into the of­fice and as­sured me that while she was away on hol­i­day it was per­fectly all right for me to do view­ings as the house would be empty due to her hus­band also be­ing away on busi­ness. I duly turned up to do an ac­com­pa­nied view­ing at the house with some buy­ers. We had looked round the ground floor and were just at the top of the steps when the main bed­room door flew open to find the gen­tle­man of the house with a dress­ing gown thrown round him as he was in “a com­pro­mis­ing po­si­tion” with a lady who was not his wife. He was mor­ti­fied.

Do you have any tips for those think­ing of putting their homes up for sale in the new year?

I be­lieve that sellers need to have a sense of re­al­ism as the cur­rent un­cer­tainty in the mar­ket con­tin­ues into 2013. I pre­dict sta­ble house prices in the year ahead, but I would urge sellers to pick an es­tate agent whose knowl­edge of their lo­cal mar­ket is sec­ond to none and who is able to ad­vise them sen­si­bly on what prop­er­ties are ac­tu­ally be­ing sold for. There are still agents around who tell clients what they think they would like to hear as a way of se­cur­ing their busi­ness. Al­ways visit the es­tate agent’s of­fice and see how they deal with you. Do they in­spire con­fi­dence?

What and where is your ideal home?

It is in Kirkby Malzeard, near Ripon, and not buy­ing that prop­erty will al­ways be one of my big­gest re­grets in life. A former farm and stud with 30 acres and lake on the vil­lage out­skirts sur­rounded by fields. It had been stun­ningly re­built by rep­utable lo­cal builders and I had agreed terms to buy it. At the very last minute, my wife pulled the plug. Hav­ing seen tens of thou­sands of prop­er­ties in my 39 years, that re­mains my num­ber one. I know this sounds daft but when­ever I’m in that area, I still do a huge de­tour so as not to see it. It has re­cently changed hands and I was mor­ti­fied to see how much more it had sold for. If we’re talk­ing fan­tasy is­land stuff, it would be a villa perched in the hills at Eze in the south of France.

AN­CIENT AND MOD­ERN: The 14th cen­tury Old Rec­tory at Mir­field has been re­stored and its ar­chi­tec­tural features un­cov­ered. It has five bed­rooms and a two-bed­room cot­tage an­nexe. It also boasts a 25-seater sunken fire pit which An­gela Lorimer got the idea for on a trip to Kenya.

COMING OF AGE: An­drew Bead­nall, who is cel­e­brat­ing 21 years at his epony­mous agency, looks back on his ca­reer so far in the prop­erty world.

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