It is a fragile time for us all, only days after the recent election turmoil and at the beginning of some tricky Brexit negotiations, a lot of us are unsure as to how the housing market is going to look over the coming months/years. We sat down with ‘Grant Edward Brooks’ owner of Dorset born ‘Edwards Estate Agents’ to find out his thoughts on the local area and the market in general.
So, we’re now midway through 2017, how has business been for Edwards?
Despite some initial concerns regarding Brexit, we have had an incredible start to the year which has continued through to now. The election worries did translate into a subdued market with confidence a little lower than we would like but correctly priced properties continue to attract interest. I think we all tend to fret when a big change is on the horizon, but in typical British Fashion, we hike up our boots and get on with life.
Ultimately we live in an area where people want to live, with some of the nicest surroundings in the country, so there are always people looking to move into the area. This is where our London marketing comes into play, with city folk hoping to move down to the coast and into the country in search of the ‘good life’ and all that entails such as great schooling, superb leisure facilities and some wonderful places to relax with families and loved ones.
Our business continues to grow year on year and whilst the market is certainly going through a transitional phase at the moment, we are in a great position to adapt to the changing conditions. With our experienced staff, we can advise our clients correctly, with attention to market trends and with a true understanding of up to date values.
Lettings is about to go through a huge transition, with the in-coming of new legislation but with the talented team that we have, we are confident we can ease both landlords’ and tenants’ worries during this time and we pride ourselves on providing a very professional lettings service and full management package.
I see the name ‘Edwards’ popping up all over the place, what developments are you guys currently working on?
We are very passionate about new homes. As an area, we have been desperate for new homes to satisfy demand and to also promote movement within the market place. There are several large developments now either underway or in the final stages of planning which will be fantastic for the area as long as there is due consideration for transport links and services.
We have been instructed on the stunning development of Stapehill Abbey by the renowned local developers Ankers and Rawlings, which is widely considered to be the landmark development in the Dorset area for many years (or at least as long as I’ve been in estate agency), where they are transforming a listed building into a private estate of 47 new and converted properties set within 67 acres of private grounds which are simply jaw dropping and like living in a stately home. These properties are beautiful; meticulously designed and ideal for a variety of different people and will hopefully be launched in August this year.
We’ve also just been instructed on a development in Wimborne called the ‘Fleur De Lis’ by Renaissance Retirement which is a collection of 25 prestigious retirement apartments, set in the heart of the town within easy walking distance of the abundance of facilities on offer which we’re really excited about.
Further projects include a variety of smaller developments by several local developers in areas such as Sturminster Marshall, with the creation of 6 family homes, Verwood with the exciting development for 6 executive houses, Ashley Heath which consists of 3 high end properties and many more on the way.
We’re very lucky to have been previously involved in the development of the Summit in Bournemouth and we are just finishing the sale of properties in the renovated ‘Bristol & West’ building in the town centre, so it really has been an exciting time for us here.
It’s always going on in the background, but what’s going on with the rise of online estate agents?
There has been an influx of Internet based estate agents shouting and screaming about the fact that they can save people money when selling and that they have property experts etc etc.
The real work of an estate agent is not just in the selling of the property. Yes, the photos are taken, the details are written and the property is launched on the relevant portals but what these internet companies forget to mention is:
- The numerous viewings that take place to find the correct buyer who is in the position to proceed. (a service you will generally have to pay extra for, if available at all with internet agencies)
- The fact that often buyers will not purchase what they initially view but in fact are encouraged to view other properties by trained and experience staff during viewings that they then go on to buy.
- The skill involved in negotiating effectively on our client’s behalf when a buyer is interested in making an offer which could make the difference of thousands of pounds.
- The hours it takes and professional understanding that is involved in monitoring a sale as it proceeds, to ensure that all parties are instructing solicitors, paying for searches, instructing surveys, applying for mortgages, answering enquiries in a timely manner and all that is involved in the transaction. Without this, the sale is left to flounder and the time passes which leads to an increased risk of the buyer withdrawing.
- The expertise involved in dealing with issues that arise such as survey problems, timescale issues, completion dates and just about anything else that can occur and risk the loss of the sale which could cost you thousands.
There have been some interesting articles recently on the percentage of properties actually sold by these Internet agencies, which again highlights the fact that once the property is listed and the client has paid the upfront fee, there is little motivation from the agent to actually sell the property. This is completely different to our company which does not earn a penny until we have successfully sold the property and it has reached completion so we are committed to the very end.
I think people are starting to realise that estate agency is about the service and in a changing and harder market, it is essential to have a professional, enthusiastic and committed team working for you. We have such a fantastic team here, who are both skilled at their jobs and just incredible people outright, I am always confident of our great service. Everything we do is about us trying to achieve the best possible value for your home, which is where having a dedicated agent can be the difference between a life changing amount for you.
How do you see the rest of the year going for Edwards?
Fundamentally what we need is a bit of stability. Now that the election is over the market should calm down and we can all begin to find our feet and press onwards. We started our company in the midst of the biggest financial recession (back in 2009), so we are always prepared to adapt and be flexible. It is now more important than ever to constantly adapt to the changing conditions and innovate in terms of our marketing platforms and technology, which we will continue to do.
How do you ensure that your staff are constantly trained and provide the best service?
We are the only agent in our areas that have a training program in place that is approved by Trading Standards. We are members of The Guild of Property Professionals, which has a strict code of conduct as well as the Fine and Country Network. Both of the above ensure we are constantly updated on changing legislations, systems and regulations, which in turn enable us to provide the very best professional services.
I am personally involved in the running of the day-to-day operations and have two trusted directors who work for me to ensure our teams are constantly striving to provide the best service we possibly can.
Contact your local branch on:
Bournemouth 01202 555550
Ferndown 01202 855595
London 0207 079 1515
Verwood 01202 829777
Wimborne 01202 842842