Thursday, 16 September 2021

Time to talk property...

News and views from Henley’s estate agents and property experts

News and views from Henley’s estate agents and property experts. This week, Philip Booth of Philip Booth Esq charts the successful launch of his own property business earlier this year.

THE last 12 months have been pretty eventful for me in many ways â?? both personally and professionally.

My partner Emma and I were married in the Riverside Pavilion at Phyllis Court last October, and then I made the decision to set up my own estate agency business in January this year.

After 27 years in estate agency working for someone else, I thought it was the perfect time for me to be in control of my own destiny. So was born Philip Booth Esq.

Setting up a business requires optimism, planning and not a little risk - and when I was working on my business plan, I debated whether I should have a shop premises or not.

Having grown up in Henley, I have seen small businesses in the town centre come and go, with many struggling to meet the high rent demands and expensive business rates.

With more than 90 per cent of house buyers now making their first search for a property online, I decided that a more modern approach to estate agency was the way to go.

How many of you reading this feature have personally visited all the estate agents in the area you are looking in to register your requirements? I suspect, very few.

Philip Booth Esq offers a high level of personal service, combined with my 27 years of experience handling the sale of properties in the local area.

If you were to describe my estate agency, the industry refers to it as a ‘hybrid’ estate agency, where you benefit from my local expertise as well as having the same online marketing power that the corporate estate agents have, including the websites Rightmove, Primelocation and Zoopla.

I have spent a good deal of my time this year promoting my business through social media and face-to-face networking. Henley has a close-knit business community, in which I am actively involved, and I enjoy supporting local initiatives.

In February I had a great weekend exhibiting at the fantastic Henley House & Garden Show, where I was able to renew acquaintances with many former clients and meet new ones.

The Henley Business partnership also provides networking events each month via 3FM, and I will also be exhibiting at the Henley Show in September.

During April I had a very successful marketing campaign on a property in West Street, Henley. When I was asked to value the house, I recognised that a Georgian property in the town centre would be highly desirable.

I agreed with the owners that we would extensively market the property in the Henley Standard and online for two-week period followed by an open house.

During the two-hour open house we had more than 30 visitors, and an offer was promptly accepted. This was the first sale of a Philip Booth Esq property and we were all over the moon.

May is traditionally the month when people think most seriously about moving house, but this year many were distracted by the uncertain outcome of the general election and the spring housing market in Henley was less busy than usual.

The stability of the new government has caused the market to pick up, with many purchasers registering to buy.

It has also led some vendors to believe that house prices may have gone up at an increased rate.

In a bullish market, some estate agents value properties at inflated prices to win the instruction, and it has actually caused the market to slow at certain price levels.

It can be difficult to be ‘heard’ when there are so many estate agencies in the town. And in a competitive market it’s hard to stand out.

But I have found that my real differentiator is in being the trusted adviser â?? in giving my clients the benefit of my experience, helping them to price sensibly to reflect what the market can actually sustain, getting them the best price for their house, and in taking the time to help them successfully complete their sales.

I don’t expect to grow exponentially, take on premises and become yet another volume-led high street agency. It is important not to dilute what makes me different.

My plan is to do as I am currently â?? work hard and with integrity for clients who want a bit more of a personal service.

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