Tag Archives: estate agents

Office spaces and family homes up for grabs in new online auction service launched by North Staffordshire Estate Agents

A leading North Staffordshire estate agent has expanded further with a new online auction service which boasts commercial and residential properties.

In April 2023, Critchlow Estate Agents added lettings to their portfolio following an increase in demand, and in January they went live with the auctions – which are carried out via their own online portal.

Auctions will take place each month and during the first one, five of the six lots were sold and on 29 February, four out of the 6 were secured by new owners – including a 3.5 acre plot of land in Stoke-on-Trent.

Martin Critchlow, founder of the agency, said: “We had always had a plan to extend our services even further and by putting investment into modifying our own website we are now able to make more properties available via the new online bidding process.

“The flexibility of this has enabled us to provide a less pressurised environment than say a huge auction room, and allows buyers to take their time and consider options before pressing go.”

Since launching the service the Critchlow team have welcomed a variety of residential properties, commercial offices and land from owners, which are located in various locations.

Ten lots are already in line for the next online auction which will take place on 26 March.

Lee Dono, sales manager, adds: “There are so many great properties and land available for investment throughout Stoke-on-Trent and surrounding areas and the online auctions are really effective to help to show this.

“As well as family properties there are many commercial buildings plus large land sites.

“During each auction process we liaise with bidders and sellers alike to ensure that the experience is as smooth as possible for all involved and we are also there afterwards where required – just like we have been with our usual sales and lettings.”

The expansion of services is a further testament to the growth of Critchlow’s empire which started in 2020 by Martin.

Since then – as well as providing lettings to the sales arm of the business – the agency has welcomed three staff members, plus in 2022, were recognised by the British Property Awards as a top Stoke-on-Trent agent after scooping gold for outstanding customer service.

The next online auction will take place on Tuesday 26 March.

For more information visit critchlowestateagents.co.uk

Symple ramps up its nationwide expansion

Proptech business Symple is ramping up its expansion by doubling its pool of specialist contractors to 2,000 and investing £600,000 in technology to meet increasing demand for its services.

Symple is seeking to recruit 1,000 accredited and strictly vetted service providers – gas safety engineers, electricians and energy assessors – across the UK over the next 12 months.

The company, which was launched in May 2021, is an online platform for residential landlords, estate and letting agents and homeowners.

Symple, which operates nationwide from headquarters in Swinton, Greater Manchester and an office in north London, manages property certificates for single and multiple residential sites, including those for gas and electrical safety, boiler servicing, PAT testing and energy performance.

Its cloud-based platform is a one-stop shop which manages bookings for inspections and arranges for service providers to carry them out.

The recruitment drive for service providers follows continued strong growth for Symple, which now has a portfolio of 5,000 properties.

The company has also earmarked £600,000 for a software upgrade as it launches new services such as repairs and maintenance, taking the total investment in technology since its inception to £1.3m.

Founder and chief executive Simon Dresdner said: “Symple has seen continuous strong growth and now we are delighted to announce further significant investment across the business in line with our rapid expansion.

“We need to recruit 1,000 additional service providers to meet increasing demand and ensure inspections are picked up and completed quickly in all areas of the country.

“Our system is based on an Uber model, whereby service providers receive a text message or email about an inspection which has been booked with us, and can then respond if they are in the area and wish to attend.

“Our ease of operation, straightforward administrative process and prompt payment means it’s a very appealing proposition for those looking for an additional source of revenue.

“There is no sign-on fee, and contractors are free to make their own decisions about whether or not to carry out an inspection when it is notified to them.

“They love the model because they know exactly what they will be paid when they see the job come up, and that they will receive payment within seven days directly into their bank account.

“We support them throughout the process, ensuring they have all the information they need to get the job done quickly, with no need to raise invoices.”

He added: “Landlords, agents and homeowners also love the platform because it’s a one-click order system, there is no registration fee, and Symple manages the entire renewal process for certifications, including sending reminders when they are due and arranging inspections with key holders and service providers.

“We have a long list of services which they require, such as repairs and maintenance, cleaning, pest control and property valuations, which we are looking to add in the future.

“As the platform develops, it will be one that landlords will rely on to take care of any property-related service they need.

“To facilitate this expansion, we are developing our technology with a further investment of £600,000 as we increase the number of properties and contractors, and roll out new services to a growing client base.”

Symple is part of Kingsbury Holdings, the parent company of several service providers in the property and facilities management sectors.

The Kingsbury group includes Merco Facilities Services, a commercial cleaning business, and FCS Management Services, a business rates management company.

Proptech platform Symple expands with new London office

A fast-expanding proptech business has opened a new office in London to serve a growing client base in the capital and across south-east England.

Symple,http://www.symple.co.uk which was launched in May 2021, is an online platform for residential landlords, estate and letting agents and homeowners.

It manages property certificates for single and multiple sites, including ones for gas safety, electrical installation condition reports and residential energy performance, all of which are required by law.

The cloud-based platform is a one-stop shop which manages bookings for inspections and arranges for accredited and strictly vetted service providers – gas safety engineers, electricians and energy assessors – to carry them out.

Symple, which has its headquarters on the M60 Office Park in Swinton, Greater Manchester, began with just three staff and now has a team of 16.

Its ambitious growth plans include expanding its current portfolio of 3,000 properties to 10,000 by the end of 2022, as well as adding a raft of new services.

Symple has now opened an office in Hendon, north London, which is headed by product specialist David Schauder, who leads the innovation and development arm of the business.

A recruitment drive in the capital for sales and other staff is currently under way.

Founder and chief executive Simon Dresdner said: “Our new office in London provides a strong platform from which to further accelerate growth in line with our business plan.

“Our client base in and around the capital is increasing in size, as is our pool of service providers who carry out the inspections. As we also expand our range of services, it is important to have a presence there.


“David has been with us since the launch and is playing a key role as we develop our offering, focusing on the functionality and development of our platform alongside bringing on board innovative services which will add value to our client base.”

Registration with Symple is free for landlords, agents and homeowners as well as service providers.

Its platform manages the entire renewal process for certifications, including sending reminders and arranging inspections with key holders and service providers.

The Symple portal enables clients to check the progress of each job. They are charged for each inspection.

Service providers have no need to raise invoices, as they are paid automatically. They are notified via email or text about available jobs in their locality and they can set the distance they are prepared to travel for each inspection.

Simon added: “Landlords, agents and homeowners who were convinced their systems worked perfectly have tried us, and have subsequently transferred entire portfolios to Symple. The platform eliminates the headache of getting their certificates completed on time.

“They simply have to register their property and provide us with the last expiry date, and the rest is taken care of.

“Service providers have seen that Symple offers a great opportunity to earn extra money at a time and location that suits their schedule.

“These features have enabled us to expand rapidly nationwide and, as we add more services, we see great potential for sustained growth for the business.”

Symple is part of Kingsbury Holdings, the parent company of several service providers in the property and facilities management sectors.

The Kingsbury group includes Merco Facilities Services, a commercial cleaning business, and FCS Management Services, a business rates management company.

Bernards rewards team’s hard work with awards ceremony

A Portsmouth firm has celebrated its team hard work with a glittering awards ceremony.

Bernards Estate Agents held an in-house awards ceremony to reward its staff for their work throughout the pandemic.

Managing Director Daniel Byrne dished out 11 awards to seven deserving recipients.

There were five categories, including Top Listing Agent for 2021 and Top Lettings Negotiator for 2021 at the black-tie event, which was held at newly opened Mansion at Coldeast in Sarisbury Green.

Bernards holds the awards yearly to thank its staff and show special recognition for outstanding performance.

Daniel said: ‘The team have worked so hard, especially at times when the industry has been faced with massive uncertainty. They’ve put a lot into the business and the growth over the last 18 months is a testament to that.

‘Holding the awards really gave the team motivation and hopefully made them aware of how valued they are within the company. We’ve got some real shining stars at Bernards and I’m grateful to have been able to reward them in this way.’

Claudia, who won Top Sales Agent Overall Multi-Disciplined for 2021, as well as Top Sales Units for 2021, said: ‘It was amazing to win not only one but two awards, especially after the industry was hit hard during the pandemic.

‘It’s really rewarding to work for a company that genuinely care for their staff and puts the team at the forefront of what they do. It was a great event and so lovely to spend time with the team, especially in such a nice venue as The Mansion.’

Daniel said: ‘Claudia has been fantastic since joining during  Bernards over Lockdown 1, She comes to work every day with a smile on her face and has an infectious can do attitude, we are lucky to have such a shining star here at Bernards, With our in house trainer Natalie  and growth our growth we know we have the platform for Claudia’s career to go from strength to strength backed up by strong team in Claudia’s Southsea office.’

Bernards, which currently has long-standing branches in Portsmouth, North End and Waterlooville, is currently expanding, opening more branches over the coming months.

Last year it bagged more than 15 external awards, both for its recognition as an agency, as well as its charity efforts.

Daniel said: ‘We’ve got our sights set on growth and expansions over the next 12 months and without the team’s dedication and drive, this wouldn’t be possible. Hopefully 2022 will be a bright year for us as the property industry continues to rise.’

Long service recognition for Belvoir secretary

A secretary in Corby is celebrating a milestone anniversary after working for 20 years at an estate agency in the town.

Fiona Morton, who works at Belvoir estate agents on George Street in Corby, started at the business when it was Yates Walker back in 2002.

She joined the company as a personal secretary to then director, Jim Yates, after having previously worked with him as part of a work experience placement when she was just 16 and then becoming a junior secretary once gaining her diploma  at an estate agency called Parkhouse & Partners.

Yates Walker, or Yates as it was later known, was a household name in Corby for more than 30 years before it was acquired by Belvoir in 2018.

Fiona now works as a secretary across both the sales and lettings departments at Belvoir and has been described as a “vital and valued” member of the team by its managing director Bobby Singh Braich.

He said: “Fiona is such a vital and valued member of the team. The place just wouldn’t be the same without her. Her experience in branch and her knowledge of the town is second to none and she is often called upon by the team to see if she remembers certain properties. We are looking forward to marking the occasion with Fiona and would like to take this opportunity to thank her for her unwavering support and hard work.”

Fiona added: “Things have moved on so much since my first experience of working at an estate agency at 16. Then the window display was on a turntable and we’d have to manually stick the information about the houses onto it. Each picture had to be printed from a camera film and when we ran out of printed pictures, we photocopied them.

“For many years we didn’t have email and my ‘inbox’ was an ‘in tray’ on my desk that I would work my way through from top to bottom. I also spent much of my time typing letters on a typewriter that had been dictated to me on a Dictaphone that I would play, pause and rewind using pedals under my desk!

“It’s amazing how much things have changed over the years but one thing that has remained constant is how much I enjoy working with the team to help the landlords, tenants and home buyers of Corby.”

For more information on Belvoir, visit www.belvoir.co.uk/offices/corby or call 01536 261666.

Three in five house sellers stung by unexpectedly large estate agency fees

The majority of UK homeowners are unprepared for the large estate agency fees when selling a house, a new study has revealed.

The research[1], conducted by free online estate agent, Strike, surveyed 1,000 people who have sold a house in the last decade and found that nearly three in five (58%) sellers had to pay more than they’d expected. Over a third (34%) were charged significantly higher fees than they had budgeted for.

These figures are higher for those who have sold their homes recently, with 62% hit by unexpected charges in 2019, compared to just 48% in 2010. This trend correlates with an increase in prices over the same period, with fees having risen by 42% from £3,035 in 2010 to £4,319 last year.

With average house asking prices reaching record highs this year[2], these figures will continue to grow, as most agency fees are calculated by taking a percentage of the property’s value.

Over the last decade, the average price paid by UK sellers to estate agents is £4,779, but many pay far more. More than one in ten (11%) Brits pay over £10,000 to move.

Interestingly, millennials pay far higher estate agency fees than other age groups. On average, 25-34 year olds are charged £6,421 when selling, with nearly a fifth (19%) paying over £10,000. This is more than double the amount paid by other generations, with 55-64s spending just £2,836.

Gender is another factor, with men paying 19% more than women. Male sellers pay an average of £5,226 to sell their home – £820 more than women (£4,406).

The most important variable, however, is location, with sellers in London paying by far the largest fees in the UK. With an average of £6,573, estate agencies in the English capital charge more than twice as much as those in other major cities, such as Cardiff (£3,255), Manchester (£3,265) and Glasgow (£3,273).

The cities with the largest estate agency fees are:

London – £6,573
Birmingham – £5,622
Southampton – £5,481
Bristol – £5,316
Belfast – £4,667
Norwich – £4,338
Liverpool – £4,221
Edinburgh – £3,690
Sheffield – £3,405
Glasgow – £3,273
Manchester – £3,265
Cardiff – £3,255
Newcastle – £3,167
Leeds – £3,000
Nottingham – £2,854

Despite such high fees, more than two in five (44%) UK sellers were unhappy with the service provided by their estate agents. Dissatisfaction was greatest in Belfast, where 58% said they were unimpressed. Homeowners in the Northern Irish capital were also the most likely to pay more than they expected (83%), suggesting a strong link between fees and overall selling experience.

Sam Mitchell, CEO at Strike, said: “Estate agent fees are often the most significant expense when moving house, especially with the current stamp duty relief, and it’s really interesting to see which factors affect how much people pay.

“At Strike, we help people sell their homes for free, which saves them thousands of pounds, no matter where they live. With no estate agency fees, you have more money to spend on the things that really matter, like your new home.”

For expert advice on how to save money when selling your home, visit: https://strike.co.uk/latest-news/how-much-does-uk-waste-estate-agent-fees