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.