Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Property consultant who just isn’t the retiring type

DOES anyone remember when Romans at number 30 Hart Street used to be called Jacksons? Well,

DOES anyone remember when Romans at number 30 Hart Street used to be called Jacksons? Well, Standard Property does.

There was a very good reason the name changed — when local property expert Richard Jackson decided to take up Romans’ offer and sell his agency to them.

Two years later and Richard is back. “I was a bit bored!” admits the property professional.

“I wasn’t ready to retire — and having spent more than 35 years in this business, houses are really what I’m passionate about. I particularly enjoy looking after clients — I guess you could say I had missed it.”

When Richard first started working in Henley it was at the same site — number 30 Hart Street — and the agency was Chestertons.



“I had been working for one of their London offices since 1990 but was offered the chance to head up their new Henley branch five years later. I bought them out in 1997, launching my own company.”

“Having successfully run my own independent agency for the last 17 years in Henley means that I have developed an invaluable network of connections, whether they be property owners, developers or fellow agents.

“This means that with my current company, which focuses purely on sales, I can cover not just Henley but also South Oxfordshire and over into Buckinghamshire and Berkshire.

“It enables me to have the inside track on new instructions, off-market opportunities and development deals.”

Richard continues: “All in all, it means I can give my clients that all-important competitive edge, invaluable in the local market, which is hugely competitive as there is limited stock at any one time.”

So what is it that Richard Jackson can offer, which other agencies can’t? First of all, he is no longer on Hart Street — or indeed any Henley street.

“Having only a website, and no shopfront, means I can keep my overheads low. It also means I can meet a client wherever they wish for an appointment,” says Richard.

Another important benefit of keeping things small, with one to one service, is that communication breakdown becomes less likely. “I have really embraced the new technology involved in property today,” continues Richard. “Yet because I offer a highly personal service, there is no confusion — nothing to get in the way of communication.

“Estate agency is fundamentally a ‘people business’ and I think a lot of larger firms often lose sight of this. The difference is that I deliberately take on fewer properties than other agents do, in order to provide more of a bespoke tailor-made service to clients.

“Sometimes my clients want to be so discreet that we choose not to even list their property on our website. Therefore, if you’re looking to buy a house it’s best to talk to me in person, as I may have the perfect property for you!” Having spoken to a number of local clients, it transpires that they came to Richard because of his reputation.

“It’s true that the majority of my clients come to me by word of mouth,” says Richard. “My reputation locally is one of my greatest assets. And ultimately, apart from technology, the job is the same as it has been over the past 25 years.

“The 2014 stamp duty shake-up had an effect on how the market works, however I really haven’t noticed the Brexit vote having an influence. If anything, I’ve become busier since the referendum.”

On a personal note, Standard Property has noticed that properties have seen a ‘price adjustment’ since the Brexit vote, and will be delving into this issue in a future issue of Homes Weekly, so watch this space.

“I particularly enjoy offering a ‘personal search’ service,” continues Richard. “Knowing the local area well is, of course, crucial to this. In fact I currently act for an overseas purchaser looking to buy in South Oxfordshire.”

Richard says he has a great respect for all the agencies in our home town and his role means sometimes working alongside a number of them. “I know them all well. In fact, Henley is too small a place not to.”

He adds: “Throughout my career I have taken pride in always acting with honesty and integrity, offering a refreshing straightforward approach, and building my reputation based on trust. All in all, Richard Jackson is a bespoke niche agency offering a highly personal service.”

31 HAZEL GROVE, KINGWOOD

THIS modern three-bedroom detached house — one of only 80 in the private grounds of majestic Wyfold Court — comes with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, as well as three decent-sized living areas.

If you like classic Georgian style, this will really suit you. Expect stone fireplaces, high ceilings and neoclassical columns galore.

Being part of the estate, residents have the use of the private tennis courts as well as the orchard, woodland and extensive parkland.

The property has been maintained to an exceptional standard and there have been many improvements including a new kitchen three years ago and a very recent inclusion of BT fibre, with cat5 cabling installed in various rooms.

The owners also converted part of the garage to create an excellent additional reception room and utility room, still leaving a very generously sized garage with plenty of storage.

Ultimately, this is a very comfortable, easy house to move in to and to maintain.

“When we walked through the front door for the first time we were struck by the sense of character and spaciousness that the high ceilings engender,” say the current owners.

“Arriving through the entrance to Hazel Grove and seeing the houses neatly spaced around the green gave a feeling of comfort and security that have never gone away.

“When you first enter the estate down Lime Avenue and instinctively look out for the resident herd of deer, to the moment the trees give way to the meadow both sides of the road, one feels a distinct feeling of pride to be a part-owner of such lovely countryside.”

The owners are a retired couple whose children have left home, although they told Standard Property that they often had them to stay with their grandchildren, who enjoy the wildlife encountered while walking around the estate.

They will be downsizing and hope to move to nearby Sonning Common, which has a good range of shops and amenities.

They’ve enjoyed their last summer at the house, making the most of the tranquil woodland-backed garden.

“But we’ll miss the living room this coming winter,” they admit. “It has a cosy feel when the fire is on.

“We will also miss the wonderful camaraderie in our cul-de-sac. We are all on good terms with our neighbours who range from families with young children to retirees.

“We’ll also miss the opportunity to walk from our front door across our meadow to the tennis courts and the orchard and to see into the far distance without a building in sight.”



AT A GLANCE

31 Hazel Grove, Kingwood (15 minutes’ drive from Henley)

• Bedrooms: three

• Bathrooms: two (one en suite)

• Reception rooms: three

• Other: downstairs WC, utility room and cloakroom, garage, driveway with lots of parking, landscaped gardens to both the front and rear, situated on the Wyfold Estate so use of 180 acres of communal grounds, backing on to woodland

• Would suit: Those looking for an easy, comfortable choice and a smooth transition to their new home

Guide price: £895,000

62 ANCASTLE GREEN, HENLEY

THIS tucked-away gem is in desperate need of a makeover, if not a redesign, but it’s a fantastic choice for a great, central location that you can live in straight away, with the intention of a longer-term project that will add value.

With four bedrooms, and walking distance to Ofsted-rated “good” schools, it’s an ideal family house.

However, there is only one bathroom, so Standard Property would advise looking into the possibility of adding another via extending out over the garage — although the officious local residents’ society may have something to say about it.

The garden is not very big but the pay-off is that private communal green right outside.

The amount of downstairs living area is also smaller than you’d imagine for a link-detached house, but there’s always the option to “steal” part or all of the garage to increase the size of the liveable space — or even add a downstairs guest suite.

Another option is to do away with the internal kitchen wall and move the kitchen to the front of the house (you can see your kids playing as you wash up!).

Architects will have a field day, it is fair to predict

Richard Jackson told Standard Property: “The house is vacant, so there’s no onward chain and it’s being sold for the first time in over 35 years, offering scope to improve and remodel internally.”

A diamond in the rough.



AT A GLANCE

62 Ancastle Green, Henley

• Bedrooms: four

• Bathrooms: one

• Reception rooms: two

• Other: Downstairs WC, garden, garage, greenhouse, shared ‘village green’, good views, needs updating so a nice project

• Would suit: young families looking for a family home in the town centre, close to schools, with parking and a ‘private’ communal green for kids to play on

Guide price: £575,000



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