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All your negs in one basket

Comprising of 24 negotiators, a fleet of 15 cars and covering a patch of 120sq miles, the first of Haarts £3million ‘super branches’ has the potential to be huge. Sqm visited the Milton Keynes office to find out if it really lives up to its name. words by Matt Hull Jonothan Tolmie - Area Manager

In the new super-branch we’ve got all

What is your role in the new office?

How does a ‘super-branch work?

six offices, but they’re all based at the

The new office costs around £500,000,

Most multi-branch agencies will have

same office.

and I’m in charge of making sure it all

number

I think that any large agency would

doesn’t come crashing down – so no

of satellite

love to do this as they’re paying for

pressure at all! At the minute there are

offices

a

in

multiple overheads where as we’re

six negotiators, two listers, two mortgage

each town

only paying for one. We have exactly

consultants, an assistant manager, a

and a CBX

the

and

sales manager, two administrators, a

running it in

coverage, but one office which is

new homes director and three guys in4

the centre.

extremely cost-effective.

same

amount

of

staff

JT


feature

lettings. We’re pretty much employing one

What is it that has made you stay with

How long have you been at Haart?

negotiator a week so there’s a lot to do.

Haart for so long?

In total I’ve been an estate agent for

I used to run my own estate agency and

14 years, and only recently came to

It’s a bit of a strange concept, opening

I have very high standards of whom I

Haart in December. Myself and John

a ‘super-branch’ in the middle of a

work for. Haart were one of the only other

were

recession, isn’t it?

companies that had the same ideals

local agency in Bedford, but were

To be honest I think we’re quite lucky.

that I did. I’ve been an agent for over 22

headhunted to run the Haart office. The

Without sounding too barbaric we’re

years now and I didn’t want to work for just

company as a whole is brilliant; here

getting stronger as a team while others

anyone – I like to sleep at night!

your not just a number on a statistics

at the moment are getting weaker. I

senior

managers

at

another

board, you’re seen as a real person.

think now is the time for businesses

Why do you think Milton Keynes was

to grow and we have the financial

chosen to launch the super-branch?

As it’s the first super-branch, is there

stability to do so, which I think is a

I think Milton Keynes is a great town to live

a lot of pressure on yourself and the

fantastic opportunity.

in; it’s one of the fastest growing cities in

rest of the team?

Europe and has been highlighted as one

I think there is going to definitely

Because you no longer have satellite

of the cities in the bid for the World Cup, so

be

offices in the towns, are you alienating

it’s definitely a growing city. There are a lot

anything where a lot of money has

any walk-through business?

of houses here, a lot of people moving into

been invested. But in terms of facts

the city which is great for business.

and figures, we did extremely well at

of

It’s made up of different villages, so

the Bedford office and as long as you

a dying concept. If you’re looking

we’ve chosen areas that we believe we’ll

surround yourself with good people

for a house now, the first place you

be strong in. And although estate agency

you will do well.

look

the

is changing every day, so that perhaps a

Even though we haven’t finished

way Milton Keynes is built, there isn’t

central high-street office isn’t needed as

employing the whole team yet, already

really a main high-street, so you have

much any more, you will always need to

the atmosphere is great for business –

to find other avenues to marketing to

talk to someone face-to-face.

everyone just feeds off one anothers

To

be

honest,

through

I

business

is

the

think is

that

walk-

somewhat

Internet.

Also,

your customers.

a

lot

enthusiasm. Do you think it could ever get to the

of

pressure

Teamwork

surrounding

makes

the

dream work, as they say.

Being in-charge of employing over 23

stage of agents working without

negotiators, what do you look for in

offices altogether?

Valuers have been one of the many

an agent?

Even now in modern day, I hate calling

blamed for the disaster in the

As long as someone is enthusiastic, hard-

up and speaking to an automated

housing market. How has this side

working, reliable and honest that’s all

telephone lines. Pressing a button or

the industry changed since?

I need – I can teach them the rest. It’s

leaving a message is no way to do

I think the difficulty was with the

also helps to be able to string a sentence

business, even if it can be quicker.

market, people going out and valuing

together but those four things are the

There’ve been a lot of companies through

properties higher than what they were

most important. This industry is all about

the years that have set-up and been Internet

to get them on the market as there

talking to people and always will be.

based, working in their bedrooms. They

was a shortage. So I can see some of

know its not going to work, but continue and

the madness in getting them on at a

in a couple of month’s time they fall on their

price, and seeing what happens. Now

swords. Agents will always have to be part of

valuations are picking up quite a bit

the company?

the community in order to survive, no matter

– there’s two of us here covering the

I’ve been with Haart for around seven

how much of an impact the Internet has.

whole of Milton Keynes which is a huge

Greg Ball - Senior Negotiator How

long

have

you

been

at

years. I was the manager of the Stevenidge

area – even for two of us to handle.

office, then I was at Bedford and now have

Warren Brandon -

been brought over to Milton Keynes.

Assistant Area Manager

What do you think are the advantages

What’s your role in the company?

of having a ‘super-branch’?

How does the new office compare to

My main role is the valuations side of

There are loads: at the other office

your previous branch?

the industry, but I am also in-charge of

we

It’s fantastic. It’s a million times better at

the company when John isn’t here – just

residential sales, but now we’re doing

the end of the day. The other office was

making sure everyone is doing what they

lettings, the executive market with

a little bit dowdy and dated, but here its

are supposed to, when they are supposed

Fine Haart, we’ve got a mortgage

so new and refreshing. One of the best

to do it. You can see it as quite a big weight

department

offices I’ve ever worked in.

to carry, but luckily I have big shoulders!

everything under one roof. n

were

previously

next

door

only

doing

so

its

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