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It’s time to put something back into the community, says agency owner

An independent estate agent based in Leicestershire has urged agents to play a more active and altruistic role in their community.

William Naylor, owner of Naylors in Market Harbrough, believes that agencies of all sizes – from small independents to national chains – should become more involved in the area they operate. 

“It’s very important for an agent to have a good knowledge of the villages, towns or cities in their area, but we should be aiming to do much more than that,” he says. “Estate agencies are often seen as making a lot of money out of people who live in the local area, without putting much back in. If we are to improve the profession’s image and gain the trust and respect of our customers, we need to demonstrate that we are committed to helping improve the community and supporting local residents.”

Naylor references an Ipsos MORI poll released earlier this year which found that only 22% of respondents believed that estate agents told the truth. The only profession to come lower in the honesty ratings were politicians.

“We can only change this unfortunate public perception by showing that we actually do care about our area and the people who live here,” says Naylor.

He explains that after living and working in his patch for over 12 years, he has become very committed to the region. 

“Whether you are part of a small agency or a large chain with a hundred branches nationwide, there’s no excuse not to get involved in whatever is going on in your area.”

Naylor says that there are some opportunities which don't cost money and that some of the best ways to get involved are by sponsoring school football teams, helping out at fêtes, running charity events and taking on work experience students.

He also believes that there is a strong commercial argument for supporting local communities, as well as a moral one. “If somewhere is perceived to be a pleasant place to live with lots going on and a strong sense of community, people are more likely to want to live there.” 

Naylor himself has instigated several community initiatives since opening his own agency a decade ago. In 2015, the company’s community programme has included paying for a litter pick in a local rubbish hotspot, as well as sponsoring the town’s annual Britain in Bloom entry.

The 2.5 mile litter pick was the first in the town to be sponsored by a local business and yielded seven bags of rubbish – an average of one bag every third of a mile. 

“Litter is something that I personally feel very strongly about and so it seemed a good idea to practise what we preach by actively supporting a litter pick. We are hoping to repeat it on a quarterly or biannual basis depending upon the level of litter. We have also helped publicise the service in the local press in the hope that other businesses will join in and sponsor different parts of the town,” Naylor explains.

Naylors says it is currently investigating other opportunities to get involved in its local community.

Yesterday we reported on an estate agent, Matt Nicol of Nicol & Co estate agents in Worcestershire, who has been nominated for a national award as result of his local campaigning to help rebuild play equipment in a local park

  • Chris Arnold

    The average agency reading this will have no idea how important this philanthropy is to their image! Until it's too late. Well done Naylor‘s

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    Yes well done, some very good initiatives and some succinct arguments put across. But perhaps assuming/suggesting that the majority of agents don't get involved in their community is a bit unfair!

  • Jon  Tarrey

    Agreed. Congratulations, Naylors.

    Always nice to see a bit of altruism/philanthropy in an industry that is often rife with greed and self-interest. As we see from the Agents do Charity weekly round-up on here, plenty of agents do good things on a regular basis. I would argue, though, that this is more the case with local or provincial agencies rather than the big national ones. For example, could you imagine Foxtons ever coming up with a charity initiative?

  • Daniel Roder

    Very refreshing stuff. I echo the goodwill towards Naylors over this stance.

    But I agree with John. Plenty of other agents do charitable things as well. Agents do Charity shows us that. There is plenty to criticise estate agents for - and certain parts of the media excel at it - but I think a good majority do appreciate the positive effect charity initiatives can have on their standing and reputation as a business.

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    When it comes to the national press, though, isn't more a case of bad news = good news. So the biggest stories are ones about agents that have run off with someone's money or have broken the law in some way? Rather than about the agent who ran a charity event. It's a shame but true I think...

  • Felicity Blair

    Great to hear that another agency is giving back, but this isn't a rarity, estate agents are doing it across the board, its just that it often goes unnoticed. At my estate agency we've always been keen in giving something back to the community, and making the surrounding are an even better place to live, which we will continue to do. Hopefully more articles like these will be written so the general public can see a different side to the agents.

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