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estate agency

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The 2012 Judges’ Report


THANK YOU | To the Judges The Estate Agency Events team would like to extend a huge thank you to this year’s judging panel:

Chairman of the Judging Panel: Christopher Hamer, The Property Ombudsman

The Judging Panel: Rupert Bates,

Ben Quiney, audioagent.com

Whathouse.co.uk and Show House magazine

Bethany Rudolf,

Clare Bettelley, Freelance Journalist

Legal Services Consultant, Move with Us

Chris Brown, Industry Expert

Gareth Samples, BriefYourMarket

Guy Charrison, President, NAVA

Miles Shipside, Rightmove

Lindsay Cuthill, Savills

Joanna Swash, Moneypenny

Kate Faulkner, Designs On Property

Frank Webster, Finders Keepers

Clare Fletcher-Yates, Industry Trainer

Neil Young, Young Group

Tracey Kellett, Bdihomefinders.co.uk

We would also like to thank Mark Hayward, Acting Chief Executive, NFoPP who kindly acted as Arbiter during the judging process.


estate agency

Contents Messages

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Estate Agency of the Year 2012

2

Best Northern Ireland Agency

3

Best Scotland Agency

3

Best Wales Agency

5

Best Large Agency

9

Best Medium Agency

11

Best Small Agency

11

Best Single Office Agency

11

Best London Agency

13

Best East of England Agency

15

Best Midlands Agency

17

Best Northern Agency

19

Best South East Agency

21

Best South West Agency

23

Best Innovation

25

Best Marketing

27

Best Customer Service

29

Best Website

31

Best Training & Development

33

Best Newcomer

35

Best Auction Agency

37

Best Franchise

39

Best Prestige

41

Best New Homes

43

Best Financial Service

45

Conveyancer of the Year

47

Best Large & Small Conveyancer

49

EAE Award for Outstanding Contribution to Estate Agency

51

The Cecil Jackson-Cole Award for Corporate Social Responsibility

53

Supplier of the Year

55

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A Message from the Organisers When we set up the awards ten years ago our goal was to encourage, identify, highlight, reward and promote best practice in Estate Agency - a decade on we now have a competition that is without question the most sought after prize in the industry as well as being the longest established. Each year the quality and quantity of entries considerably increases and the winners can be very proud in the knowledge that they have beaten some seriously good competitors. We are particularly pleased that The Conveyancer of the Year category has been so well contested and reinforces our decision to set up the first awards to recognise and reward the significant contribution this group of professionals make to the home moving process. Our awards process has been described as “without doubt the most rigorous process by far” – as well as making a written submission all entrants are interviewed followed by mystery shopping exercises and then the whole judging panel debates and considers every single category before making their decision. We are so very grateful to our brilliant judges; they really are a group of true experts, unrivalled in their experience and authority. In particular we would like to thank Christopher Hamer, The Property Ombudsman, for chairing the judging panel for six consecutive years. Christopher brings such authority and rigour to the process as well as his own special style of chairmanship that allows for full debate as well as timely decision-making.

continue to be our media partners. These titles are unrivalled for their standing within the property media and they allow our winners to promote their achievement with the clear association with an instantly recognisable and valued consumer brand. We’re also very grateful to our main sponsors The Zoopla Property Group for their continued support. The winners will all be featured on zoopla.co.uk – a considerable benefit given the impressive number of home movers that visit the portal every day. We would also like to thank our category sponsors most of whom have supported us for several years. They are true leaders in their respective fields and their products and services are utilised by many of the best estate agencies in the UK. Finally, a date for your diary, The Lettings Agency of the Year Awards in association with The Sunday Times & The Times will be held on May 17th 2013 and the call for entries will be made early in the new year – this is the only awards event dedicated to Lettings and is sure to be as competitive and as valuable as the awards we’re celebrating today. Peter Knight Chairman, Estate Agent Events

We’re delighted to announce that we have entered into an extended agreement with The Sunday Times & The Times to

A Message from the Chairman of the Judges The judging panel applies great effort to ensuring that a diligent and in-depth examination is given to every entrant. In preparing for the panel’s consideration. Individual judges will have conducted a timeconsuming and detailed analysis of the category allocated to them which they then have to present to the panel and face some searching questions to justify their findings and award recommendations. After that process the allocation of awards is a panel decision. My role as Chairman is to ensure consistency of approach, to guide the panel through the process and to test the standards that have been applied to scoring against the aspects of business that have been examined. What stood out for me from the exercise this year, certainly in relation to regional categories, was that many of the award winners displayed two particular characteristics. Firstly they all had a clear focus on customer service (beyond just a routine approach) and secondly they all paid great attention to training, development and welfare of their staff members. These two aspects seem to me to be fundamental to ensuring good operational practice and a successful business and other firms should take note.

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The judges names are listed elsewhere in this report, all of them very experienced in the property sector. I thank them for their energy and enthusiasm. And of course I congratulate all the award winners and particularly those firms that have sustained their performance and added to their awards from the previous year. Christopher J Hamer Chairman of Judges


Best Estate Agency 2012 OVERALL WINNER

LL WINN ERA ER V O

estate agency

Romans Romans remains a force to be reckoned with in 2012 after a blindingly successful 2011. Celebrating its 25th year in business, the team should be absolutely delighted and proud of their achievements which have culminated in Romans being the first agency in the history of these awards to win Estate Agency of the Year twice and on two consecutive years.

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It’s stated elsewhere in this report that when an organisation operates at an exceptionally high standard, it can be very difficult to continue to innovate and to seek ways in which to improve but the team at Romans manages to achieve excellence at every turn. The directors at Romans realise that the business is only as good as the people in it, as they know that from this starting point, first-class practice will follow. Having operated successfully for 25 years a key initiative in 2012 was to further improve staff retention and reward. The decision was taken to go back to basics, carefully investigate everything to do with the team, and seek ways in which to enhance the benefits and culture. In the first instance, directors looked at the system for exit interviews, which have always been viewed as a valuable part of the HR process, and placed further emphasis on the importance of what they can learn from them. They have revisited the format in order to glean as much detail as they can from those leaving the company so they can make changes where appropriate, both for the individual where possible and also the team as a whole. Careful consideration of the benefits and working conditions has led to improvements in commission structure, working hours and shift patterns. The MD also spent time visiting the branches and speaking to the staff directly to gain an understanding at grass roots level as to where they themselves wished to see change. This shared working ethos has always been a top priority, valued by all at Romans and it is clear that this philosophy shows no signs of abating. Training and development has always been of utmost importance at Romans and the standard and breadth of programmes it offers its staff is second to none. Every new employee spends the first four days of employment in a training course before they even set foot in a branch, whether they are experienced, senior negotiators or junior trainees. There is a minimum set standard of annual training of 29.5 hours per year, and these four days are made up of a mixture of industry and soft skills courses with both internal and external trainers, on and offsite. Motivated, contented staff results in satisfied, loyal customers and it is clear that Romans drive to improve its working environments and culture has achieved fantastic outcomes for the clients and the business. Technology is valued as part of the customer journey and is used to simplify and streamline the moving process but there is also an absolute adherence to spending personal, face to face time with clients, and making regular updates by phone rather than email. The call centre is open long hours so customers are confident they can always reach someone, and all customer relations care is supported by a quality and marketing department. Romans is a fantastic agency from which others could learn so much about professionalism and all-round excellence. They are relentless in backing up words with action and without exception, the entire team demonstrated hands on dedication to both the organisation and the customers. We look forward to watching Romans achievements over the next 25 years.

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estate agency

Michael Hannath Property Consultancy A young company, this agency is led by the eponymous owner who places a strong emphasis on personal development and improvement, and is keen to share this ethos with his team. Demonstrating tenacity in a very challenging market, this agency opened at a difficult time but has grown and thrived despite this, and the judges believe this is due in no small part to keen attention to detail. A nice touch is a return to property descriptions which include a story-like aspect as to why the sellers bought the house in the first place, helping prospective buyers to really buy into the property as a potential home rather than simply bricks and mortar. Building on a silver award in 2011, we look forward to great things from Michael Hannath and his team in the future.

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McEwan Fraser Legal A relatively new agency, the judges were extremely impressed with the calibre of its offering. With a wide range of products to cover all angles of the market, it is reaping rewards with growth in market share and excellent listings and sales figures. The in-house team is exceptional with solicitors, photographers and a social media manager and it is clear that the customers find real value in the ability to access all services under one roof. The directors have a really good handle on all aspects of the business and the new initiatives they are launching. For a business that is only three years old the quality of what they do from an operational side is exceptional especially when coupled with the innovative services offered. McEwan Fraser has taken the market by storm.

gold

Slater Hogg & Howison The panel felt it had a really clear view of what makes this business successful. It is part of a chain but is run like a local business, and delivers remarkable customer service. The MD has an admirable commitment to the training and development of his people and enjoys a low staff turnover because of this; many of the longstanding team instinctively know how to help their customers, who in turn can rest assured that they are in the hands of experts. Technology is used particularly well to ensure the customer always comes first and marketing materials are high quality, attractive and informative. This is an agency which has delivered outstanding practice across Scotland for a number of years and can expect to continue for many years to come.

gold

McQueen Legal silver

bronze McQueen Legal is a well-established agency in Scotland. Set up from home over 30 years ago, this family-run operation has expanded into a solid business which has seen significant change over the past 12 months. It has moved up 15 places into the top 20 agencies in the Scottish Property Centres market share statistics due to its growth and a new office has recently opened. The team is very experienced and committed with the owner visiting both branches daily. This approach has engendered a sense of collaboration, which in turn has resulted in low staff attrition. A recent rebrand also included the launch of new marketing materials including an inviting and detailed marketing pack for sellers. This is a great ownerrun business which focuses on the customer.

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Best Northern Ireland Estate Agency

Best Scotland Estate Agency

4


estate agency Peter Alan

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With a large network of offices and an extensive team, the level of care and attention to quality is impressive. At a time when others are cutting back, the directors have undertaken to invest significant amounts in business innovations from touch screens to 65" interactive screens in their latest office to Peter Alan TV, mobile technology and full HD videos. Team one-to-ones are held monthly to ensure everyone is on board with anything new and to encourage the team to share any ideas they may have. An impressive organisation which continues to push new boundaries of customer service through a mix of personal and solid estate agency work combined with ground-breaking processes and techniques.

Kelvin Francis gold

A longstanding agency, this business boasts an unrivalled staff retention figure of having kept half of their team for over 21 years of 34 years of trading. The judges commented that they absolutely answer the needs of the local customer base with an innovative approach to a high proportion of elderly residents in the area; they have specialists in mobility and special needs issues to assist customers who may otherwise struggle to find a home and then move to a property which fits their requirements. Their products and services are comprehensive from conveyancing to mortgage advice and these are all well documented and explained in their superlative, “Moving House Guide”. Their business philosophy is 'Traditional Ideals, Modern Ideas', and this is absolutely adhered to.

silver

FBM

bronze

5

FBM is a well-known and respected local estate agency which has been selling homes since 1833. The team strives to be number one for business excellence; loyal, trustworthy and honest and there is every indication that these qualities are forefront of every deal. Their 'Sellers Guide' has boosted conversion rate with 20 per cent of letters sent out turning into market appraisals and giving them 60 new instructions across the five branches. Staff retention is very good indeed with only one staff member leaving in the past five years. The judges were also impressed with the percentage of accompanied viewings – 92 per cent – given that this is a small agency and in its location many of the properties can be at least 45 minutes away. Inspiring.


Best Wales Estate Agency

6


uk estate agency

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Best UK Hamptons International Each year this agency has built on the success of previous years and we’re thrilled that having followed 2010’s shortlist mention with a silver award in this category last year that we can award a gold award for gold standard efforts in 2012. The team demonstrated an understanding of how to marry up use of technology with customer service and how to best use this approach for the good of the business. Particularly impressive was the thought process behind the introduction of using iPads for valuations, so rather than focusing on the technology “wow” behind it, they realised that sitting next to a client rather than across a desk breaks down barriers and helps to create the right relationship. “Blown away” was the judge’s comment and the panel agreed.

Foxtons

gold

As would be expected, Foxtons is an extremely focused agency with a proven formula which has driven growth. The approach to the brand and marketing is all encompassing but effective – the website has recently been updated and a new advertising campaign was launched, with a focus on both online and offline advertising, including billboards. The executive team is very experienced and they work closely together, flowing information through to the teams on a weekly basis. Quick to identify problems, there are purposeful methods in place to address issues promptly such as implementing targeted training or arranging one-to-one time with directors or managers. Foxtons has a formula and it is realised very well; vendors can rest assured that the team at Foxtons will get their house sold.

silver

Connells Group

bronze

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Perpetually successful in this category, Connells strive to not only maintain but to build on the high standards which are set at the top. This is a very good agency with senior directors who recognise the importance of team; they talk about their people a lot and there was clear evidence that they put their money where their mouth is – training, staff retention and compliance are all strong. The area directors place great value on spending time in branch and the team appreciate this visibility. There is unwavering focus on adding to the service suite and any new initiatives are carefully considered so both buyers and vendors can be confident that they are receiving an exemplary and well thought out service.


Large Estate Agency

10


uk estate agency

Romans medium agency

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Romans showed the panel why it remains a force to be reckoned with. With strong competing agencies in its local area, it has maintained its position in terms of market share, fees and profit which is impressive, especially when viewed in the context of its great achievements in 2011. Staff retention is up, due in no small part to the review of the commission structure, shift patterns and the training programme, all of which have been considered and improved once again. Bespoke IT solutions enable the team to concentrate on what they do best, which is frontline customer care and clients can feel secure that all their needs are being met at every point of the moving process. Estate agency at its best.

Sewell & Gardner small agency

gold

It was evident across the board that Sewell & Gardner really does care about its team and its customers. There is a strong emphasis on staff communication with monthly meetings held as well as extensive training comprising a mix of NAEA technical training, onthe-job training and external courses in order to keep the team engaged and motivated. The listing-to-completion ratio is impressive and it was clear that the managers recognise the importance of measuring stats and how these can be translated into actions with perceptible results. Technology and service are high on the agenda and they couple this with a genuine interest in local community issues: interesting initiatives include a new reward card and interactive recommendations book, both of which are being used to great effect. The judges were unanimous in their vote to award best UK small agency to Sewell & Gardner.

gold

Robin King single office

gold

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It is an absolute pleasure to award Robin King with this award for a second year running. The panel found this agency to be a thoughtful, engaging and traditional business with a team which has worked astonishingly hard this year after the success of 2011. There is an intrinsic belief in giving clients honest and thorough information, and they absolutely nail their valuations with an impressive listing-to-sale price ratio. There is a strong culture of reward for the hard working staff which is based on customer feedback as well as sales achievements. The MD stated that they constantly work to raise their game and the results speak for themselves.


Best UK Estate Agency

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london estate agency

Marsh & Parsons medium agency Peter Rollings works closely with his team at Marsh & Parsons to deliver stand out service. The culture of this agency is clearly defined; they ensure they do the smaller things extremely well and use this as a springboard to achieving great things. In a business of this size, it can be unusual to achieve consistent standards across every branch but the team manages it, and this past year has seen them move onwards and upwards with further investment in training and marketing. This is a solid, professional company with fantastic people; it is structured but allows autonomy and preaches success but not at all costs. This has resulted in a prestigious yet approachable brand which is going great guns in its area.

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silver

James Pendleton medium agency

silver

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This agency covers a small area but uses this to its advantage by being experts in its location as evidenced by outstanding market share and enviable list-to-sales ratio. This is due in no small part to the thorough and structured process which is reinforced by strong marketing and in-depth knowledge of its potential client base – they really do know their market inside out. Led from the top by a husband and wife team, this is a hands on business which values its team members and rewards them accordingly. Training is excellent and the community and service ethics shine through at every turn. Their hard earned reputation is very well deserved.

Martyn Gerrard medium agency – shortlisted 13


Best London Estate Agency Anthony Pepe & Co.

Farrar & Co.

small agency

single office

It is clear that the owner is a great agent who loves the industry and is taking every step to ensure that his people are trained to the same level and possess the same level of enthusiasm. With an excellent understanding of processes, technology supports the staff, not replaces them and this approach means that the back office CRM can be used behind the scenes with friendly, personal services offered front of house. Without exception, the entire team understands it's all about communication throughout the entire sales process and they treat absolutely everyone they meet as a potential customer. This long term attitude to the business is paying dividends resulting in the jump from silver last year to gold today.

Based in an extremely competitive and high-end location, this exceptional niche agency understands its customers’ requirements and more than holds its own against the other agencies in its area. Extremely customer focused, the team here absolutely believes they are the best and this belief is based on a total commitment to delivering quality service day in, day out. The managers only recruit very experienced and knowledgeable people who can hit the ground running and make a positive impact on the business from day one. They have recently introduced a bespoke IT system which includes automated SMS and email functionality with tracking data. There were numerous examples of staff going above and beyond to help customers and the judges felt without a doubt that the team at Farrar & Co. deserves the gold.

Ellis & Co. single office

Northfields small agency Richard Palfreeman and his team at Northfields demonstrate year on year that they know what it takes to succeed in estate agency. They’ve worked hard this year to increase staff retention, which they’ve achieved through a mixture of training and reward, and the training implemented has worked on a number of levels including improving internal communication and increasing income. The exemplary customer service is built on a foundation of absolute consistency in everything they do. The “Red Carpet Showcase” campaign is innovative and slick; results include a lower fall-through rate and a greater volume of instructions.

This is a business which strives every day to be better – the entire team demonstrated total understanding of what their customers want and they push to deliver this, never taking anything for granted and constantly looking at how they can improve their standing and authority within the marketplace. This approach is what has given this agency longevity not only in terms of historical success but for future plans. Great attention is paid to staff training and development to enhance management capability and to encourage the team to share ideas and collaborate. Social media is used effectively alongside other online platforms and forums to enhance communication and contact with existing customers as well as to attract new ones.

Paramount Properties single office Paramount Properties is a very successful business which uses enthusiastic, expert staff to deliver excellent customer service. Their attitude and approach to charity and local sponsorship is exemplary, recently culminating in a skydive which raised £8,000 for the Estate Agency Foundation. A dedicated sales progressor has been recruited enabling the negotiators to focus on new business and resulting in first class customer feedback. It is clear the valued team spend a lot of time with clients and make themselves available for contact, even outside working hours - a recent achievement includes picking up an instruction after it had been abandoned by another agency and working with the disillusioned buyer and the local planning authority on the building regulations to enable the sale to complete.

EA Shaw single office – shortlisted 14


east of england estate agency

Thomas Morris medium agency Thomas Morris is very open and honest about its offering. Without exception, the team is eager to improve and the business is continually monitored to see how and where they can make it even better for the benefit of both the team and the customers. The product and services suite is very comprehensive for buyers and vendors – they really do have all angles covered. As would be expected, the emphasis on training is second to none and is a key priority. This is an exceptional all-round agency.

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Urban & Rural medium agency

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Urban & Rural understand the importance of brand and have spent time revisiting its brand in order to improve its online and social media offering so the new look and feel fits with the strategy for online growth. The team has a good grasp of the marketing mix and they work to improve this but always with the customer in mind. The directors place great value on the recruitment selection process and resource each branch according to the individual requirements of that office. Its online service is excellent and the functionality which allows buyers and vendors to instantly access updates is seamless.


Best East of England Estate Agency Sewell & Gardner

Zoe Napier Residential

small agency

single office

Sewell & Gardner impressed the judging panel with its attention to detail across all aspects of the business. With a real understanding of how to attract customers with a whole package, it was clear that the team has worked hard to ensure that every last piece of their offering is top notch - from the customer care to the product suite and from the information and advice offered to the attractive marketing collateral – and the market share and turnover figures prove that this approach works, as do the high levels of word of mouth recommendations and the customer testimonials. Well done.

Winners of the 2011 Best Newcomer award, Zoe Napier and her team have worked hard to build their reputation and business in a very niche equestrian market, with the result that they have recently expanded into coastal properties as well. In a market which can be very traditional, this agency enjoys a quirky, trendy yet solid image and this is reflected very well in quality bespoke marketing materials. Any competing agencies are researched thoroughly and steps are taken to ensure they offer all that their competitors do and more. Excellent use of technology enables the team to communicate with customers and position themselves as an authority - this approach coupled with a rule to only ever take on sole listings has seen this business soar. Reassuringly unique.

Imagine Group small agency Imagine is an excellent example of a small agency punching above its weight and working hard to make things happen in a tough market. With extensive investment across the business, this very professional team has implemented many services which would be impressive in a much larger agency. Winners last year, the judges remarked on the high level of accompanied viewings and the excellent staff training, and it is evident that this has not only continued this year but has been improved upon. The team should be congratulated on the high standards to which they adhere and for constantly striving to be even better.

Hillcrest Estate Agents single office The panel saw Hillcrest as a lovely company and one which is a great example of good, solid estate agency done well. As a small business run by one lady, with only one other member of the team, it has been built on a foundation of going the extra mile and offers a superb personal service and advice that is honest, helpful and knowledgeable: it is clear that there is dedicated focus on building relationships with customers. The use of communication tools including online advertising and marketing materials alongside the all-important personal touch would be impressive in a larger agency, so is especially noteworthy here.

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midlands estate agency

Pygott & Crone medium agency The directors at Pygott & Crone have undertaken significant effort to raise their standards from silver last year to gold for 2012 and should be congratulated. The professionalism and service culture is strong and at the forefront of everything they do. Technology is used in a considered but enthusiastic way with commendable results. The directors are proactive in maintaining morale to retain staff and there is compelling evidence that this structured approach is working. The speed at which they respond to clients is superb and the increase in market share is testament to the ethos and standards of this business.

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Goodchilds medium agency

gold

17

silver

Goodchilds continues to lead the way for great customer service standards and both vendors and buyers alike can rest assured that they will be well taken care of when appointing this agency. Customer service is based around carefully thought out systems and processes which are adhered to by the entire team. Use of technology is highly reliable and measurable KPIs are built into the agency software system allowing the senior team to stay fully informed. Staff are rewarded bonuses related to the feedback they receive so there is also a clear impetus for them to make sure they offer the personal touch to clients. Goodchilds has absolutely got the balance spot on.


Best Midlands Estate Agency Paul Dubberley small agency Celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, this established independent estate agency has expanded to five prominent locations in the West Midlands. Led by an energetic and enthusiastic MD who is dead set on being the first choice agency in their area, the team at Paul Dubberley is tenacious in its progressing of sales. They pay excellent attention to the quality of their branding and also with regards to raising awareness of the brand; the website has been revamped recently with a view to making it more user-friendly and it is attractive and informative. They deliver a quality and innovative service to their clients and have built an enviable reputation. Congratulations.

Adams & Jones Estate Agents single office – shortlisted

Hartleys small office Hartleys is a market leading agency in its area. There is a strong family feel to the business - the principals have worked hard to build a collaborative working environment and an “open door� approach for the staff. The emphasis on training is extensive from NAEA Technical Awards to training by industry experts, and external courses in more holistic sales approaches available as well. Previous winners in 2010, they have upheld their customer service standards and improved on them to enhance customer loyalty, repeat business and income streams. A recently opened new office is thriving and they enjoy a solid, strong reputation in their area.

18


northern estate agency

Manning Stainton medium agency This is an agency which has impressed once again in this category as an extremely slick operation which has a tremendous sense of community. The principals are heavily involved in the business and they carry out detailed quarterly reviews looking at all the figures for each branch. This information is used to positively impact the business so even if a branch is under performing there is a focus on improvement and support to help the team. This approach has resulted in confident employees who are comfortable and enthusiastic about working together to make the business soar. Judges liked their use of social media and found it to be engaging, authoritative and fun. Outstanding.

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gold

silver

Gascoigne Halman medium agency

19

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gold

silver

This is an extremely professional agency which has profound understanding of how to make a business work well. The directors have gone to great pains to develop a detailed customer service charter and they work closely with the team to make sure this is understood and implemented at all times. Prolific fundraisers, the team work hard for charity and in supporting local work with the result that not only are they benefitting good causes but they are well respected in the area. This in turn has led to high rates of word of mouth referral. A forward thinking approach to personal development has led to enviable staff retention rates.


Best Northern Estate Agency Karl Tatler

Humphreys of Chester Ltd

small agency

single office

Karl Tatler and his team have demonstrated once again that they are at the top of their game. For agencies which consistently work at an extremely high standard, it can be a challenge to show significant change and to keep on innovating but Karl Tatler manages it. Their ethos is to offer excellence as standard and the judges felt there was clear evidence that this is achieved every time. In a very difficult and competitive market they have enhanced already high values and continued to be innovative, fresh and to stand out from their competitors. Attention to detail is second to none and continued investment in training, technology and marketing collateral has led to annual growth. A brilliant estate agency.

This agency operates in a very competitive market yet has managed to retain good market share with increased profit and high fees. There was clear evidence of considered use of technology which the team uses to stand out from the crowd and to aid in the provision of an enjoyable and enthusiastic service. The services and sales tools offered as standard to all vendors is impressive as is the level of contact maintained throughout the moving process. A fantastically dedicated agency built on trust and traditional core values.

Move Residential small agency Since opening six years ago this business has provided a new, fresh and completely different approach to estate agency in Liverpool. By building a strong reputation and brand awareness, it enjoys excellent customer loyalty, so much so that the team has recently expanded into the Wirral. Systems and procedures are absolutely key and the value placed on the team is exemplary; they have kept all the staff who were with them on day one and without exception they all provide excellent customer care. With big plans for the future and a great foundation, Move Residential is a business driven to succeed with their customers at the heart of everything they do.

Preston Baker & Assoc. small agency As an ex-corporate agency, this business combines the best of corporate infrastructure, systems and processes with the best of bespoke, small agency attitude and service. Preston Baker is a very exciting estate agency which has excelled this year, and it embraces technology and new techniques to give both buyers and sellers the best possible experience. Continued investment in the business has enabled growth and the owners have recently launched a financial services offering. Their ethos is to “do ordinary things extraordinarily well� and the judges are sure this business will continue to go from strength to strength.

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south east estate agency

Romans medium agency The team at Romans should be absolutely thrilled with their achievements over the past two years and the panel is delighted to reward their continued dedication and hard work once again. All aspects of the way this business is run are exemplary and should serve as a “how-to” of estate agency. The training and teamwork sets the tone at the start point and from this, everything else falls into place. Highly collaborative both internally and when dealing with vendors and buyers, their approach remains refreshing, especially when considered in terms of the extremely high competition it faces in its location.

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Prospect Estate Agency medium agency

silver

gold

Prospect’s aim is to be the most innovative estate agency in its location. Every member of the team grew up and live locally so their knowledge of the local area is second to none. The past year has seen a redesign of most of the offices with iPad bars, childrens’ areas, coffee bars and internet television being added in as standard. The lifestyle themed website and in-house software is noteworthy as is the decision to go paperless where possible as part of a “green initiative”. A very well organised three person care chain ensures no part of the customer care falls through the gaps and when this approach is coupled with their outstanding technology, delivery of outstanding face-to-face service is inevitable.

silver

gold

silver

Robinson Jackson medium agency – shortlisted 21


Best South East Estate Agency Streets Ahead

Brand Vaughan

small agency

single office

In a very competitive category, Streets Ahead has consolidated its 2011 gold award by demonstrating the same standard again this year resulting in gold for 2012. Determined to use its name as its ethos, this agency means business and the combined approach of the team to focus on customer service but adhere to volume selling make this a human company with a business mind. The owners have made a conscious decision this year to cut back on advertising and use the money saved for training the team – this has been enthusiastically received and is already reaping results. The attitude and enthusiasm for CSR is exemplary and is worthy of separate mention. Streets Ahead never fails to impress.

Shortlisted in 2011, this new agency has gone from strength to strength and the judges were very impressed with its service offering. Fees have increased by 25% this year, partly due to the recruitment of a specialist copy writer for sales particulars, which includes both the positive aspects of properties as well as proactively addressing those points which may be seen as negatives. This is a nice touch to the way in which it presents its details. The judges commented that the mystery shop was “truly impressive” both in terms of the speed of response time, the quality of the information offered and customer care standards. Also impressive is the market share in a very competitive market of around 100 other agencies.

Ashington Page single office

Roberts Newby Partnership small agency Customer service is in this agency’s DNA; they strive to offer a friendly and positive service by being natural and informal. An interesting and innovative approach is that the MD has looked at successful big brand businesses in other sectors such as retail and leisure, and has used these business models as inspiration for his company. The branding is slick and clean and marketing activity is undertaken with a definite strategy behind it rather than a one size fits all approach. Senior valuers are on standby seven days a week until 8pm for property valuations and the market share is very impressive given the calibre of the agencies it is competing against.

Guy Leonard & Co. small agency – shortlisted

The team at Ashington Page continue to shine every year and the way this agency operates should act as inspiration for others seeking to “do it right”. The owners really place great value on their team and this is reflected in the detailed and considered training programme and culture of reward which they operate. Their marketing materials are high quality and slick and help to position them as an authority, leading to a high level of word of mouth recommendations. Aiding in this endeavour is the introduction of property clinics which are run on Saturdays – these have been well received and attendance is excellent. Congratulations on maintaining exceptional standards.

Isis Residential Homes single office Over the past year, there has been a clear drive to invest heavily in the training and development of the team which is reaping absolute rewards for the business with tangible results on the bottom line. Staff retention has also increased. For a single office agency, the panel was extremely pleased with the listing-tocompletion figures and the emphasis on accompanied viewings, something which can be difficult with a smaller team. The focus on training the staff has also enabled them to increase their fees. The introduction of an Isis App has been well received and take up is high among the customer base. Well done.

22


south west estate agency

Ocean medium agency Ocean is the largest independent agency in Bristol and offers a complete service including conveyancing, financial services and surveying. The directors undertook the decision to invest heavily in technology at a time when many agencies were reducing spend; a new customer feedback system has been introduced with a dedicated sales progressor in each branch – this absolutely demonstrates their attitude which loves technology but only when viewed as a partner of the human dimension of quality of sale and honesty. A strong focus on community involvement is reaping rewards; a recent competition for children to decorate an ecofriendly Golf car saw 700 entries come in. Everything undertaken by this agency must serve their ethos of, “how does this benefit the customer?� and is only implemented once benefits are ascertained.

SPONSORED BY

gold

silver

C J Hole single office

23

gold

silver

gold

silver

Customers using this agency can rest assured that they will be in a safe pair of hands. Displaying attention to detail across the board, the panel could not fault any aspect of its service offering. Totally evident was the hands-on approach of the directors and the fact that they absolutely involve the team at all times for both transparency and to ensure complete buy-in for new ideas and initiatives. Training is thorough, and a focus on measuring performance and rewarding staff on their customer feedback as well as sales figures has led to an evolved, well rounded team.


Best South West Estate Agency Wilkinson Grant & Co.

Robin King

small agency

single office

The judges were extremely impressed with this perennially successful agency and are pleased to add to its clutch of previous awards with the gold again this year. Not resting on their laurels, the team has introduced new innovations, campaigns and incentives to help both buyers and sellers move as quickly and easily as possible with tangible results including a reduction in the listing-to-exchange time and increased instructions. Founded in 1995 and well established in the South West property market, this business focuses on a sector of the market between the mainstream “high street" and the long established “country house” agencies in a very competitive area and its offering covers a wide range of properties including new homes. An outstanding agency.

The team at Robin King have not rested on their laurels since their success in 2011; they have continued to work very hard for their clients and have implemented some innovative initiatives to drive the business forward. What’s apparent is that they are very skilled at marrying up technology with the personal touch across the board ensuring a totally customer service led business. Marketing collateral is excellent; particularly enterprising is the “Case against estate agents” book they produced for vendors to give them understanding and transparency of the “tricks of the trade” including questions they should ask, how to check valuations and what to avoid – a very clever addition to a wonderfully driven and customer focused company.

Sawdye & Harris small agency The judge for this category described Sawdye & Harris as, “a breath of Dartmoor fresh air to estate agency work” and the panel agreed wholeheartedly, adding that the staff at this agency are professional, helpful and determined to do their best for purchaser and vendor alike. The owner bristles with energy and this goes too for the staff who very much endeavor to promote the business wherever they can, and their confidence is reinforced by a quality service and local knowledge which is second to none. A robust and measured marketing mix offers clients a straightforward service that works and they pick up on what their competitors don’t do and turn this to their advantage by constantly evolving their product suite.

Debbie Fortune single office This is a fantastic estate agency with a hardworking, dedicated team who strive at every turn to offer superb service. The year on year growth is staggering and this is testament to a wonderfully run estate agency business. The team is extremely knowledgeable about the local area and takes a great interest in the community, including running an apprenticeship scheme as well as doing a great deal for charity. The owner has a strong belief in measuring performance and uses statistics very well; they are only viewed as a tool for improvement and are used to this end. Debbie Fortune is an honest, stand out agency.

24


innovation estate agency

SPONSORED BY

Best Innovation Martyn Gerrard Martyn Gerrard understands the importance of educating both buyers and vendors as to the value of innovative ideas and it does this at every stage of implementation. The team’s idea was to provide a professionally filmed, full HD video for all properties and this really reinforces the notion that innovation doesn’t have to be complicated but can be beautifully simple as long as it’s done right: the approach by Martyn Gerrard is excellent and will run and run. In fact, it has been so well received that the cameraman is now a full time employee of Martyn Gerrard and they are being contacted by other agencies with requests for filming their properties. Buyers are requesting copies of the DVD’s so they can view by video in the first instance; in every case, they have subsequently booked a viewing. Instructions are up, sales agreed are up and site traffic is up; this innovation has delivered outstanding ROI and will set the standard for property videos.

James Pendleton

gold

silver

James Pendleton has taken its after-sales offering to the next level with an innovation called, “The Angel Department”. Closer to a concierge system than traditional after-sales, the team understands this is a long term approach which needs to be maintained and they have built on it accordingly. The aim is to create continued loyalty after the contracts are exchanged through continued communication and support. Purchasers are given a luxury pack which includes an Angel guide detailing the proposition, as well as guides to the local area, general property advice, recommended tradespeople, dogwalkers and babysitters, and goodies such as a hamper. Nearly half of all clients are using the key holding service. Within six months of implementation they are already seeing return on investment; profit and commissions have increased, and the original aim of securing future instruction and long term loyalty is being achieved.

Haus Properties

bronze

25

The judges commented that they believed Haus Properties to be extraordinarily innovative in its approach with an excellent overall proposition for such a young agency. It implements fantastic ideas across all areas of the business which are not only of value but also designed with a sense of fun in mind; after recently breaking a price-per-square-foot record, they advertised this achievement by sending out a note on vinyl records. They also choreographed a “flash mob” dance in the park at a busy time which got the community talking about this young agency and created a real buzz amongst potential clients. An online tool called “Open Book” makes the sales process transparent and simple to understand and there is 100% client take up. The team at this agency seek to be different and they achieve this with bells on.

Preston Baker & Associates – shortlisted


marketing estate agency

SPONSORED BY

Best Marketing Romans Romans marketing initiative was a two pronged approach. As it has traditionally avoided the media limelight, the key message in this video-based campaign focused on the client services and strengths recognised at the awards rather than the award win itself, so last year’s awards win was used as a platform to highlight the services they’ve been recognised for, attract quality recruits and build brand. It is extremely integrated with the brand and ethos across the business, and was implemented with clear objectives in mind. Staff were briefed and instructed on how to deliver the excellence portrayed in the video, which was then monitored. There is clear evidence that this fun and engaging campaign is reaping rewards: recruitment is up and market share is growing.

Northfields gold

silver

As a much smaller independent, this agency targeted a number of streets in its area with the result that it has increased the average price of the properties it sells by £338k. It set out to create premium property marketing so that every listing on its books feels like an aspirational home. The directors understand the importance of marketing internally and getting staff buy-in at the initial stages, and this part of the process was thorough and absorbing. There was clearly full understanding of the initiative and how it fitted within the overall marketing strategy, and this continued at the end of the campaign with transparent measurement and evaluation of the results and success. To ensure standards are met, a new role was created especially, such is the value placed on this endeavour, and the additional fee revenue has left no doubt as to its success.

Connells Residential bronze

27

Making use of the Olympics fervour, Connells’ marketing campaign was the “Six Week Challenge”, with the goal of selling properties within a six week window. Similar activities have been run before, but the team at Connells demonstrated how an existing idea can be refreshed and updated to great effect by making it current; the colours and logo were updated with an Olympics theme and the resulting collateral is attractive and engaging. It was clear that this campaign was designed with an excellent initial understanding of the thought process behind it as well as the desired objectives and results. Extremely people focused, the look and feel was also translated into internal Olympics themed incentives for the staff with the introduction of a campaign specific reward structure. An increase in instructions is absolute proof that this has worked.


customer service estate agency

Best Customer Service Marsh & Parsons The judges’ initial comment was that the standard of this category gets higher and higher every year so Marsh & Parsons should be extremely proud of its gold award, not least as it has improved on the standards which won it the silver in 2011 – no mean feat, especially in this closely fought category. At this agency, it’s all about making sure that every single aspect of the business is tweaked to be the best it can be. The entire team is passionate about the service they provide and work extremely hard to deliver every time. This passion is backed up by stringent systems and processes which serve to reinforce every aspect of customer care. We look forward to seeing more in 2013!

SPONSORED BY

Northfields For an independent agency with a smaller team, the panel was thrilled with what it saw at Northfields. Passion, process, consistency and teamwork were a few of the words being used to describe this business at the judges’ meeting and the evidence is compelling. In an area where it is competing against larger agencies with bigger budgets and more team members, it is safe to say the team at Northfields more than holds its own. They adhere to measuring all aspects of the business and use the statistics to put in place new innovations and services and to address any issues which arise as well. The time they put in to achieve these extraordinarily high standards is absolutely amazing for an agency of this size. Faultless.

gold

Hamptons International Hamptons International is another agency in this category which has improved on last year’s result, progressing from the shortlist to the bronze award this year. The directors have worked closely with the team to develop and implement new ideas and it is clear that this is an agency which has upped its game. The range of initiatives is breathtaking, and there is evidence that the clients value the choice they are offered when they use this agency. There is a fundamental belief that customer service is without doubt, the most important aspect of the business and Hamptons goes great guns to ensure that it wins listings through repeat business and word of mouth recommendations.

silver

Sewell & Gardner

bronze

bronze

Behind every new idea implemented at this agency is a collaborative session with the team which is trusted implicitly. The directors understand that for customer care standards to be maintained, every employee from the MD to the office junior has to live and breathe excellence and a desire to deliver. This culture is infectious and a proven approach; much of new business is recommendation from previous clients. They offer a wide variety of services, including concierge style after care and there are literally hundreds of examples of the team helping customers above and beyond what they could expect. Sewell & Gardner is a great example of an agency offering lots of things to keep clients happy, and doing them all very well indeed.

Martyn Gerrard Estate Agents; Streets Ahead – shortlisted 29


website estate agency

SPONSORED BY

Best Website Foxtons Foxtons has a standout website with a large, dedicated team recruited solely for web and online. The result is an online presence which is simple but which works. Functionality and search options are excellent, and entirely tailored to the target audience. The schools data which can be accessed would be impressive on an education website, let alone on an estate agency one and the search by tube station option has been redesigned this year to great effect. The use of the professional photography is magnificent; property photos are prominently placed, taking up much of the page and this approach should be standard across the industry. The site also recognises which device is browsing and adjusts accordingly.

Marsh & Parsons

gold

silver

Marsh & Parsons continues to act as a pioneer for the use of web and online in the industry. The team is totally innovative at social media across the board from facebook to twitter and absolutely understand how to harness the power of these media for the best possible results. The website is clean, informative and fun. Content can be shared, and the panel particularly liked the “Our Social Network� section on which the various social media and networking sites are each used for an area of interest and to gather visitor details i.e. using Linked In for recruitment, Foursquare for information and reviews on the local area and Pinterest to save favourites on the site. This is ground-breaking stuff. Well done.

Sewell & Gardner

bronze

31

The Sewell & Gardner website absolutely reflects the personality of the company. The board is very much involved in the use of technology and recently undertook the decision to completely relaunch the website and start again, from functionality to design. The result is a fully collaborative bespoke website which has fantastic buy-in from both the clients and the team. It is updated weekly with new blog information and members of the team take turns writing content on a variety of subjects from industry commentary to local events and also items that may be of general interest. This website is a sterling example of how to do it right.

Base Property; Greenaway; Martyn Gerrard – shortlisted


training & development estate agency

Best Training and Development Romans The directors at Romans have an almost perfect grasp of the training and development matrix. The belief in ongoing personal development for the whole company is the lifeblood of the business and this is reinforced by stringent and heavy investment in this department. Nothing is left to chance; the programme is carefully planned out and adhered to across the board. The breadth of subjects offered is impressive – it is tailored to both individual needs and team requirements, and in a range of industry specific areas as well as more holistic and personal disciplines. The entire team observes protocol, and the culture is one of progression and evolution as a result.

SPONSORED BY

Connells Group A company of this size could not prosper and grow without a robust training and development programme and Connells has got it absolutely spot on. Its entire philosophy is aimed at improvement for every single individual and should serve as a great example to companies both in and outside the industry. Based on a structured and sound foundation, the directors have implemented new initiatives such as “Rising Star” for new team members which are proving successful; not only are they results driven but there is every indication that staff are enthusiastic to participate. Performance is improved, both individually and for the teams and there is direct impact on the bottom line.

gold

Foxtons Training at Foxtons is focused, meaningful and impactful with a clear emphasis on the individual, corporate and collective performance. Courses are developed and put into practice to reflect what happens at the coal face of agency work and with specific detail; there is not just a broad approach to training as a whole – it really is finely honed. Of particular interest was the “Train the Trainer” enterprise – by pushing the trainers themselves to continue with personal development, not only do they remain fresh and motivated but are also able to carefully assess their own training approach and evolve it over time. The specifics of training match the expectations and play a vital part for the whole company with performance and results.

silver

James Pendleton Estate Agents bronze

bronze

This company approaches training and development with a full understanding of the all-round benefits. The directors know that through inspiring and motivating their team to keep learning that they will reap the benefits both in terms of a happy team and also for the profit margin. Employees can choose from a wide range of courses including holistic training in subjects such as NLP and hypnotherapy. The directors also look outside the industry at other businesses training agendas. James Pendleton provide a robust and confident programme of training and development which reflects the care and attention placed on all staff.

Thomas Morris – shortlisted 33


newcomer estate agency

Best Newcomer Haus Properties The MD of Haus states that his agency is one which likes to think differently and therefore work differently and the judges were very impressed with the efforts of the entire team to make this happen. The offices are alternative; they are set up like kitchen/living areas so visitors are encouraged to sit at the kitchen table with a cup of tea whilst they discuss their requirements. Marketing materials are attractive and in keeping with the homely style. They’ve worked hard to build strong community ties including buying only from local traders and through enthusiastic involvement with local fundraising opportunities. Client contact is excellent; they always remember that first and foremost they are representing the client, and we are delighted to recognise Haus’ first year efforts with the gold award.

SPONSORED BY

gold

Anderson Rose

silver

There is a strong ethos at Anderson Rose that all the team cover both sales and lettings so they are fully informed of the properties on their books and can tailor their service accordingly. The directors have a commitment to team commission and this approach coupled with the joint sales and letting disciplines has led to a working environment which is collaborative and open. The recruitment policy is robust and was planned to be so from the outset with the result that the team is of a very high standard. This approach also extends to potential customers, all of whom are carefully qualified. The website is clean and easily navigable for all users. Their plan is to expand significantly over the next 3 – 4 years and there is every indication that they will achieve this if they continue as they have started.

Cridland and Co Ltd – shortlisted

Move Quick Estate Agency – shortlisted 35


auction estate agency

SPONSORED BY

Best Auction Agency Seel & Co. Based in Wales, this established agency is a well-run and respected business. Matt Tyler has recently taken over the auction offering and has already implemented changes in order to make their proposition more attractive and user friendly, including changing the standard auction times to allow more to attend. Compared to their competitors, they deal with a lot of corporate and commercial businesses, giving them an edge over the competition. Ambitious plans to expand into West Wales are well thought out and the team speak Welsh and English which allows them access to a much larger client pool. The communication is superb and they make the auction process sound easy; it is explained simply and thoroughly. Seel & Co. is to be congratulated.

Sequence

gold

silver

Sequence is making strides to achieve great things for both its own business as well as the auction industry as a whole. The MD demonstrated an excellent understanding of current issues facing the business and is very aware of vendor and purchaser needs. It is clear that robust plans are in place to meet these requirements and to ensure continued growth through addressing what clients want. The follow up process is very good indeed and extremely thorough. As one of the largest residential property auctioneers in the UK, they seek to make the auction process not only transparent and simple but also an aspirational way in which to buy or sell a property. A fantastic auction offering.

Pygott & Crone

bronze

37

This is an agency which constantly seeks ways in which to improve the auction process, and in doing so, attract more people to participate. The directors at Pygott and Crone noticed that there has been less appetite from buyers for traditional auctions so implemented an innovative idea fusing established and modern auction processes; on the fall of the gavel, buyers can choose to purchase with a longer completion date than is possible with the traditional bang of the hammer. As this option carries a higher fee, it has also benefited the bottom line in addition to being well received by clients. This is an outstanding example of a traditional broad-based practice taking on a different way of selling; an approach which has been proved by the numbers.


franchise estate agency

Best Franchise Goodchilds Goodchilds continues to impress year on year - the panel are delighted to reward the team’s continued efforts with the gold award for 2012. A very strong franchise offering, the submission and telephone interview were peppered with supported examples of how the owners value the team, the franchisors and the customers. Targeted marketing is working well as is the introduction of “augmented reality” – an iMovie concept which is played by scanning a business card with an iPhone. Started as a franchise, the business shows continued growth and is a mixture of franchises and owned offices; particularly noteworthy is a recent ethical buyback of a branch from a franchisor who is very unwell. The MD’s aim over the next 12 months is double their income and there is every indication that they will absolutely achieve this goal.

SPONSORED BY

gold

Auction House UK

silver

39

2011 saw this agency grow to become one of the fastest growing auction houses in the UK and it is clear that this is a trend which has continued in 2012. This achievement is due in no small part to the keen attention to detail displayed by the entire team from the MD down, and the panel was impressed by the efficiency, speed and information demonstrated. The website is excellent – clear, informative and easily navigable. They understand the auction market and have made great inroads in persuading multi-lot vendors to use Auction House regional auctions rather than a central house which covers the whole of the UK. Auction House UK is pioneering a bespoke auction house service and should be congratulated.


prestige estate agency

SPONSORED BY

Best Prestige James Pendleton James Pendleton is a very clever estate agency. It regards itself as boutique and bespoke and tailors all approaches accordingly from the starting point of being a “marketing agency for properties”. Branding and collateral is considered and well placed for the target market, and the team knows its market extremely well indeed; all team members live in the location in which they operate so clients can expect knowledge and insight which is second to none. Every single new listing undergoes a well publicised launch day, and clients are updated on progress at least twice weekly. Market share is admirable and they regularly command performance related fees above market guide price. We look forward to further excellence in the future.

Zoe Napier Residential

gold

The comment from the panel regarding this agency was, “blew my socks off”, and they are thrilled to award Zoe Napier the silver in this category for a second year running. This is absolutely a prestige agency, operating in an extremely niche marketplace. Photography is stunning and is used to not only showcase the property but also to emphasise lifestyle. Market share has grown and shows that the team is really working hard within the equestrian branding; they aspire to be the modern go-to agency for the equestrian market and the judges found that they are fast on their way to achieving this goal. They have the experience and the knowledge to understand land regulations and how to problem solve within these technical areas to achieve satisfactory results for all involved in the sales process.

silver

Your Move

bronze

41

Your Move launched its premier brand and service early this year, and is already showing success in this area. The directors running Your Move Premier have harnessed the size and reach of Your Move whilst managing to provide the sort of bespoke, niche service one would expect from a prestige agency. The team behind this proposition is extremely experienced and it shows. The marketing collateral is high quality and slick with aspirational photography. Clients can expect a dedicated concierge style system with the mobile numbers of senior directors divulged as standard, access to properties, viewings and the team outside of office hours and a luxury after-sales service. Your Move should be congratulated for moving into a different market, and for providing a top notch service with aplomb.

Fine & Country

– shortlisted


new homes estate agency

Best New Homes Countrywide Countrywide demonstrates new homes expertise all the way from land search to sales. It makes a point of recruiting former developers and house builders into key positions within the business, which helps their offering as they understand what’s needed, wanted and expected in this discipline. It has also positioned itself as a business partner of the housebuilders themselves. Countrywide is also seen as a new homes authority through the directors’ commentary on, and championing of, legislation and industry developments. There is very strong leadership but senior management are seen as accessible, and the directors should be congratulated on using the brand strengths to promote the new homes offering and engage with the customer base.

SPONSORED BY

LSL Property Services Winners of last year’s bronze award, LSL has sought to improve and expand its new homes offering which it has achieved with clear results. The directors have recruited an impressive array of experts across all the disciplines with key staff who can use and understand data and interpret this for the good of the business. They are completely on top of legislation and every aspect of the industry is covered. They understand that building relationships with the developers is of paramount importance and such is the strength of the relationships they have, that they run training courses for the housebuilders’ staff. This is an outstanding new homes offering based on robust systems, extensive contacts and aspirational customer care standards.

gold

Connells Residential Connells has worked hard over the past 12 months on its new homes offering and should be congratulated on the jump from shortlist to the bronze award in this category. All employees in the new homes department have profound knowledge and experience at grass roots level, backed by huge national resource. Training is extensive and the internal reward programmes really do incentivise staff. Managers are experienced and focus heavily on recruiting next-generation specialists in the new homes field. They view themselves as an extension of the developer’s team whether they are dealing with site appraisals or direct consumer selling. Despite the size of the operation, the MD and his team are always looking at new marketing opportunities and branding, with a clear desire to continue to push boundaries and drive business forward whatever the odds.

silver

Streets Ahead bronze

bronze

It is clear that Streets Ahead is always thinking outside the box to find solutions for demanding clients. Smart without losing its edge, this agency is dominant in its location, growing market share, often in adversity. Passionate about their products and their patch, the Streets Ahead team has worked hard to build the new homes offering, and to help clients recognise the benefits of buying new. This has been undertaken with the enthusiasm and attitude that we have come to expect from this agency; developer marketing initiatives also take into account community spirit and after the London riots they helped with sites that were being sold opposite burnt-out buildings, and staff were onsite bright and early without prompting after hoardings and signs were vandalised the night before a launch. This agency is gaining growing respect from national developers as well as local operators and we look forward to watching this department go from strength to strength.

Sewell & Gardner 43

– shortlisted


financial service estate agency

SPONSORED BY

Best Financial Service Connells Group Connells continue to set the standard year after year and we are thrilled to award them the gold in this category once again. This agency offers a total financial services package which it regards as a constant work in progress – accordingly, it constantly strives to develop and expand the product suite. Clients using Connells for their financial service requirements therefore have absolute peace of mind that they will receive the most up to date and innovative fiscal products and services. The directors lead from the top and there is an innate understanding that if they get it right at front of house, and work hard on their products, systems and communication then the results will follow which they have. Connells sets a sterling professional example.

Reeds Rains

gold

silver

Reeds Rains impressed the panel in 2011, and has continued to do so with the development shown over the past 12 months. The team is to be congratulated on the jump from shortlist to silver in this category. The financial services portfolio at Reeds Rains is exemplary and diverse and demonstrates that there has been a considered approach as to the offering which has been expanded in response to client feedback. The directors spend time analysing the statistics and use these to move the business forward. The Advice For Life product is a particularly good idea which has a high level of take-up and is producing results directly on the bottom line.

Your Move

silver

45

Consistent in its standards, the Your Move financial services department impresses once again. Building on successes in previous years, the judges were pleased to see the team have not rested on their laurels but rather have worked extremely hard to maintain and improve on the standards we’ve seen in the past. Fully compliant, they adhere to the practice standards set down in the industry and should be congratulated on the attempts to ensure communication and collateral is clear, understandable and informative. Their success rate is excellent, with particularly good work done in protection products, and there is clear evidence of staff going above and beyond to help customers in what can be a complicated and nerve wracking aspect of the moving process.


Best Conveyancer Cunningtons overall winner For the second year, our awards have recognised the hard work and dedication of the best conveyancing companies. Congratultions to the overall winner Cunningtons.

SPONSORED BY

gold

47


we are working with lenders to produce a range of new mortgages to get homes moving fast

safemove.org what is the safe move scheme? the safe move scheme is an independent quality kitemark scheme for property transactions. when a safe move logo is displayed on a property, it means that the legal work has been approved by a lawyer and that the property valuation has been approved by a surveyor. safe move is being supported by some mortgage lenders who are using safe move as a means to reduce fraud and deliver efficiency savings that can be passed on to their customers through a new range of mortgage products. who is safe move working with? “at Santander, we are supporting the safe move scheme pilot, as we aim to simplify the process of purchasing a house in england and wales. through our partnership with the safe move scheme, we are looking to provide a simplistic and more certain house buying experience for our customers which saves them time, money and stress. the safe move scheme provides a more secure and efficient lending process for Santander which, inturn, enables us to pass on benefits to our customers through a new range of mortgage products.� Tracey Carr, Financial Crime Manager, Santander in addition to lawyers, safe move is working with lenders, RICS, property portals, estate agents, HMLR, CML, mortgage brokers and surveyors.


conveyancer estate agency

Ashfords large conveyancer Gold winners in this category last year, and also awarded Conveyancer of the Year, the judges were delighted with the maintained service standards shown by Ashfords which demonstrate constant innovation, both in terms of system improvements and staff development. The team is trained on customer service and telephone skills as well on legal matters and everyone understands they act as a conduit between the lawyer and the rest of the chain so are able to manage expectations extremely well. Yet again, Ashfords has delivered; the use of technology to support the service and provide a robust risk management regime is excellent. Their attention to detail and recognition of the pivotal role that the agents play in the process means that their clients receive a joined up, collaborative conveyancing service. It is no wonder that 99.4% of their clients would use them again.

SPONSORED BY

gold

gold

Cunningtons Solicitors small conveyancer silver

silver

bronze

bronze

SmartLegal Think Smart

49

This is an agency which has continued to focus on its customer service work of last year. 2012 has seen the team take the next step, with an increased emphasis on customer care and an understanding of exactly what value they each add to the moving process. This has resulted in them being able to increase fees, which in this market is no mean feat. Last year we could tell that Cunningtons were a firm to watch; making huge efforts in reinventing and improving its service and using innovations to add value. This year the directors have clearly made yet more improvements - their mystery shop was one of the best and their investment in the development of their staff has paid dividends. The passion and focus of the management team and their involvement of the estate agent in everything they do has delivered a fabulous added value service.


Best Conveyancer myhomemove

Barnetts Solicitors

large conveyancer

large conveyancer

The team at myhomemove is passionate about what they do and display keen understanding of the competitive forces within the marketplace. The MD is at the helm of a slick operation which carries out a vast number of transactions annually. Recently, a bespoke piece of technology has been installed which provides the capability to measure and manage transactions in exactly the way they want, so as well as ensuring the client’s agent is updated, the team can also be confident that any agents in the chain are kept fully apprised of any developments. Each client is given an online case file which has proved popular and the proactive approach to all client communication is first-rate.

Led from the top by a principal who is heavily involved at the coal face of conveyancing, this business is clearly very good indeed. The team absolutely believes in the estate agency relationship and understands that agents are the glue which hold the process together; they endeavour at every turn to build relationships within the industry and strengthen this affiliation. Customer service is measured and assessed alongside a technical and process audit with client satisfaction surveys used to great effect. All possible media is harnessed to aid communication, including their own iPhone App, and out of hours service is available until 10pm and at weekends. Barnetts showed that they are constantly evolving their offering to maintain exemplary customer service standards and know-how.

Awdry Bailey & Douglas small conveyancer

Smart Legal

Awdry Bailey & Douglas truly combine personality with technology to provide the best possible service. Without exception each member of staff displays the right attitude towards estate agency and absolutely believe in a collaborative approach. Their agency seminars have clearly made a big difference to their working relationships and they’re eager to work with the agents to coordinate transactions. External training has focused on quoting and customer service, and agents are given specialist training on the conveyancing process with a focus on how best to work together for mutual benefit and to help clients achieve everyone’s goal – namely a seamless conveyancing transaction. This organisation delivers.

small conveyancer It is fair to say that all at Smart Legal are fervent supporters of communication and collaboration. Staff are experienced at every level and there is a culture of development in this business with training in both legislative issues as well as soft skills, including conflict management. Use of IT and systems is exemplary and used internally and externally for the benefit of the entire organisation; there is self-service HR for the team for booking holidays, meetings, training etc. which has resulted in a reduction in admin time, and the CRM programme is outstanding both in terms of alerting staff to required actions but also for communicating with the client and agents. Alongside this, the directors are also keen to raise their eco-friendly standards and are trialling a paperless conveyancing system with the aim of reducing waste, improving efficiency and minimising archive spend. Magnificent.

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outstanding contribution estate agency YEAR 2012

SPONSORED BY

Outstanding Contribution to estate agency Jon Cooke This year we are proud to honour the work of Jon Cooke with the Estate Agency Events Award for Outstanding Contribution to Estate Agency. Jon’s long-term commitment to the estate agency industry combines a passion for ensuring a high quality offering to the public, a talent to provide diverse opportunities and advice to fellow estate agents, and a philanthropic contribution to the community. Jon’s career spans nearly 30 years and he began his rise to the top of the property profession as one of the youngest branch managers for Prudential Property Services. In 1991 he founded Intercounty Estate Agents. Eight years later he created the Fine & Country brand (now with 300 offices throughout the world) which has been enormously successful in conjunction with the Guild of Professional Estate Agents, a network whose stated aim is to provide a 'best in class' estate agency service to the public. Jon is currently a board member of both organisations, and in addition to developing and nurturing these leading businesses, as Managing Director of LSLi (part of industry heavy-weight LSL Property Services plc) he is personally involved in offering growth and exit strategies to quality independent estate agents, helping them realise their own ambitions. Jon’s outstanding achievements in the business of estate agency are only half the story; he also volunteers his time and considerable skills to charity. This year, he took over a month out of his schedule to cycle the 3,000 mile coast line of Britain with fellow agents including Sean Newman and Sam Lindley for the Zoopla Great British Property Cycle. The aim of the event was to galvanise the property industry in this Olympic year and raise money for the Estate Agency Foundation along with the profile of the charity. Over £70,000 has been raised so far and in Jon’s own words: “By getting involved at any level, you will be joining an event which will make a real difference to homelessness in Britain, while at the same time reinforcing positive public perceptions of our industry.” This typically broad and allencompassing ambition shows why Jon is a worthy winner of this award.

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corporate social responsibility estate agency YEAR 2012

Cecil Jackson-Cole Award for Corporate Social Responsibility Orchards of London The team at Orchards of London made a big impression on the judges this year with their innovative attitude to CSR and their admirable commitment to making a difference in the local community. It is evident that the directors have taken a considered approach to CSR with real thought behind the policies and ideas they have implemented. The directors have focused on ensuring their CSR commitment is clearly communicated to the entire team and the success of their policies is due in no small part to the detailed focus on education, sport and sustainability. Without exception the whole team is behind this ethos with each playing their part to ensure that the agency is working together for change and is fully involved in community life. There is a dedicated page on their website declaring their CSR commitment which is supported by the use of social media to share their CSR campaigns with the community – this is reaping real buy-in and ensuring that any initiatives have excellent attendance and involvement. Their recruitment policy is focussed on attracting passionate, local candidates to ensure that their staff live, work and play in that community. Via education Orchards of London have made financial commitments to support four local schools, from providing advertising boards and financial support to setting up competitions with the pupils. They also sponsored “The Edible High Road”, a local primary school project encouraging children to reduce their food waste and also sponsored a fruit tree for the school vegetable patch. In sport they have partnered the Ealing Half Marathon in supporting the Epileptic Action charity as well as entering their own running team and providing promotional material for the event. Staff are encouraged to join local charitable causes on an individual, team or company basis. Sustainability features high on the CSR agenda with a heavy emphasis on recycling and environmental awareness in their paperless office. Their fleet of cars consist of Fiat Twin Airs, which have low fuel consumption and has won awards for being Europe’s greenest car. They even offer an award for their green driver of the month alongside employee of the month. Overall Orchards of London have displayed a comprehensive and impressive insight into how CSR integrates into their day-to-day business and how initiatives and involvement are undertaken at every turn for the good of the team, the business and more importantly, the local area and the people in it. Outstanding.

Streets Ahead – shortlisted

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Streets Ahead demonstrated it is an agency which takes a year-round view of its charitable work and commitments. They enjoy an excellent and well-deserved reputation in their location for the good work they do, especially their support and involvement in the Croydon half marathon. The volunteering ethos of their team is to be highly praised and recognised and the approach of Streets Ahead to CSR should serve to set the standard for the rest of the industry.


EAF Everyone deserves

somewhere

TO CALL HOME

Estate Agency Foundation The Estate Agency Foundation (EAF) is dedicated to helping eliminate the causes of homelessness. Our aim is to unite the Estate Agency industry for a great cause.

Please help the homeless today by becoming an EAF Ambassador for an annual fee of just £100, in the hope that your office would raise just £250 in a year. Your support can make a real difference to those at risk of homelessness in the UK, because everybody deserves a place to call home.

See our website for details.

Thank you for your support

www.eafcharity.org • info@eafcharity.org • 01372 370895 Changing perspectives. Changing lives.


Best Supplier supplier estate agency

Reapit The team at Reapit proved without a doubt that they are indeed a gold standard supplier by consolidating last year’s gold award with a repeat win this year. They take a consultative approach to really understand what their customers want, and the fact that many of the team worked in estate agency results in real comprehension of what is required, and how this can best be implemented. Quality software provision is reinforced by stringent back office systems and reporting tools, and audits and training are of a very high standard indeed. The nationwide market share enjoyed by this company is testimony to the excellent service and products it provides, especially when viewed alongside its percentage market share of the top 50 agencies. Customers commented that Reapit provides a “Rolls Royce-standard service” and the panel would wholeheartedly agree.

The Guild gold

silver

Bronze winners in 2011, The Guild impressed the panel with its extremely high service standards and the judges were thrilled to see these impressive standards improve even further. They are therefore delighted to reward this effort with the silver award for 2012. Offering a full range of services, The Guild has different specialist departments and teams including a graphic design studio, full IT department, training and a sophisticated referral system – offering all these services from within a single membership organisation is quite unique. The team are experts in industry related topics and marketing strategies and are able to assist agents accordingly, resulting in increased market share, higher profits and a greater number of properties exchanged for the agencies themselves. Absolutely outstanding.

UK Sales Progressors bronze

It is clear that from start to finish this organisation is proactive in the extreme, with great results. As a relative newcomer, the team has built up in a difficult market over the past two years, and has achieved real recognition in the industry for its excellent value-add service. Completely bespoke and tailored to each business according to its individual needs, UK Sales Progressors ensures full integration with the agency to ensure a seamless service and culture for the buyers and vendors to drive business forward. The results are tangible with agents commenting on the increase in profits and customer satisfaction alongside a reduction in listing-to-completion time. We look forward to more great things from this business in the future.

Audio Agent – shortlisted 55


With thanks to all of our sponsors and supporters:

Organised by: The Chapel, Reigate Road, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 8RA 01372 370847 info@estateagencyevents.com www.estateagencyevents.com

Judges Report - Estate Agency of the Year 2012  

Judges Report - Estate Agency of the Year 2012

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