As they approach their first anniversary, we sat down with owner and operator ‘Laila Safaee’ of Silverbirch Estate and Letting Agents, to find out how their first year in business has been and what Laila predicts for the local and nationwide property market in the New Year.
What drove you to start the business?
I had worked myself to a very senior position within a local independent estate agent. I watched it blossom from the start of the business and helped it grow along the way. During my time there, I specialised in lettings and had spent years building great relationships with clients, but I couldn’t shake some niggling frustrations – particularly if the clients wanted me to look after their needs outside the Poole area, which was out of the company’s catchment area. I had to pass people who wanted my help to other offices and the clients were usually as disappointed as I was. It was then that I began to think that I would organise things differently.
The second factor was that sales and lettings were organised separately, and I was finding that many of my clients had to use the services of both teams, but would have preferred a closer relationship with just one.
In the end I just wanted to be able to do things differently, I had a vision of what was best for my clients and this was based on knowing them and their particular needs very well. Whether a client is buying, selling, renting or letting, it’s a big deal for them. It’s their lives in our hands, so dealing with somebody they know and trust is crucial.
What a breathe of fresh air these guys at Silverbirch are! They give great attention to detail and are thoroughly professional, we wouldn’t hesitate to give them 5 stars and recommend them.
KAYE AND RICHARD, bournemouth
How has your first year in business been?
Business, like in life, always throws you a couple of curve balls, but since taking full custody (from her business partner) of the business in June, I have learnt that what I was most scared of – not having someone to bounce ideas off of – actually gave me a new and deeper love for the business, making each and every decision solely by myself. Although I love my team to feel involved with the day-to-day decision-making.
The company has done better than I could ever have imagined and it is growing organically, almost daily, purely from recommendation and word of mouth.
What makes Silverbirch unique?
We don’t have a high street premises and our office is by appointment only. We have a 24 hour virtual PA, that ensures that we don’t miss a call, and thorough messages are taken if the team are at appointments; allowing them to return calls at our earliest opportunity even if it is on the go.
Something I should shout about more is our green efforts. We plant a tree every time a property completes. So far we have planted 103 trees at the Alladale reserve in Scotland. I want the business to operate as eco-friendly as we can be; our business cards are recycled, we use recycled paper (when we need to use paper) but most of all we are 95% paperless, and we have an office smart car. It’s all these small steps that will allow a beautiful future for generations to come.
We also don’t believe in tying any client into any form of sole agency agreement when they instruct our services. We are one of the ONLY agents that offer a ZERO week agency contract, giving our clients freedom. After all the proof is in the pudding.
What’s the best part of your job?
It doesn’t feel like a job to me and I believe that is true success of the business also. I love my job.
I have specialised in estate agency for over 8 years locally, not forgetting the teams combined experience of over 25 years. Until setting up a business I have never felt the need to track my commissions because it runs a lot deeper than that for me. I may not sell or let a house everyday, but I give at least one person a day a helping hand, even if it’s simple advice, and that is the best thing for me, helping others.
What does 2018 look like for you guys?
We are really looking forward to 2018 and seeing what else we can achieve as individuals and the business as a whole. There are lots of new legislations coming into play; including the tenant fee ban and other legal updates and the team are all booked onto the necessary courses to ensure we are prepared and compliant for our clients.
We are also going to be recruiting for another member of staff – although I have no great desire of growing this business rapidly. In fact, I feel it is more important to get the right people that have the same beliefs and will provide the exceptional service our clients deserve. I will keep growing this business at a snail’s pace to ensure the roots are solid, rather than rushing and not getting everything I dreamed of100% right.
How will the cut in stamp duty fees (for first time buyers) effect the market as a whole?
I think the Government has done a fantastic thing in helping first time buyers. Stamp Duty was previously payable on purchases over £125,000 so to increase this to £300,000 is a very good thing. Those spending up to £500,000 will also benefit, as the first £300,000 of the purchase price will not be subject to the tax. Naturally the market will quieten in December and the cool off from Christmas, but the true test, as with anything, is time. Come January things will pick up again within the industry.
Do you have a Christmas message for our readers?
Wishing the House Magazine readers all the health and happiness over the Christmas period, and into the New Year 2018!
Silverbirch Estate Agents:
t. 01202 497970
a. 13 Ravine Road, Canford Cliffs, Poole, Dorset BH13 7HS