NEWS and views from Henley’s estate agents and property experts
NEWS and views from Henley’s estate agents and property experts. This week, Giles Robinson, senior partner at Bell Street’s Robinson Sherston, talks about the company’s recent 23rd birthday get-together
WHEN we threw our party last week to honour Robinson Sherston’s 23 years in business, we were celebrating a local business that has been built up on trust and honesty.
My family have now been in the Henley area for four generations and I know the town, people and property intimately.
This is reinforced by the fact that 65 per cent of our business is returning clients, recommendations and referrals.
Currently, 60 per cent of our income is derived from sales and 40 per cent letting and management.
So what has changed since I started estate agency in the Seventies, where a pint and a basket of scampi was our twitter and internet feed?
Basically, technology. The internet now drives our business and is where 70 per cent of our leads come from.
What hasn’t changed since those days — and I still believe passionately in — is client liaison.
Each of our clients get a call once a week, plus they always get feedback after viewings and fresh marketing ideas and initiatives.
Personal contact is important to us. Here at Robinson Sherston we have time for our clients — you — and we invest time in them.
There has been a change in housing trends. In the Seventies and Eighties the average time to stay in a house was seven years, now it is 25 years.
Clients are putting off downsizing — they are improving and extending rather than bear the cost of the move.
The major consideration in moving now is the recently reformed system of stamp duty tax. As things stand now, there is £43,750 to pay on £1,000,000; £153,750 to pay on £2,000,000; and £273,750 to pay on £3,000,000, and so on.
The new ruling has changed the lack of stock, but also the planning process, with endless consultations and procrastination.
I do, like Bill Bryson, want our greenfield sites protected, but the housing stock is far too low.
If we now see Jeremy Corbyn in the kitchen, bent over his nuclear button or changing stamp duty land tax, I would suggest the latter, but if he has his way I can’t imagine what would happen.
There are said to be 12 per cent fewer houses for sale than this time last year, although one report I saw suggested there is a marked upturn in the London property markets, which is encouraging.
Demand is for houses in central locations where there is convenience, schooling and shops.
Property portals play a big part in our outgoings here at Robinson Sherston, and one we are part of, Onthemarket.com, had 18 per cent more enquiries in July than June. The aim of this portal is to knock the digital property group Zoopla into third place and produce a cheaper alternative to Rightmove.
Robinson Sherston looks forward to continuing to mix traditional values with the latest technology to ensure client experience is second to none.