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
and I’m in charge of making sure it all
I think that any large agency would
doesn’t come crashing down – so no
love to do this as they’re paying for
pressure at all! At the minute there are
multiple overheads where as we’re
six negotiators, two listers, two mortgage
only paying for one. We have exactly
consultants, an assistant manager, a
and a CBX
sales manager, two administrators, a
running it in
coverage, but one office which is
new homes director and three guys in4
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
enthusiasm. Do you think it could ever get to 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
Valuers have been one of the many
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 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
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
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
offices I’ve ever worked in.
to carry, but luckily I have big shoulders!
everything under one roof. n