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Boutique hybrid agency plans 20 similar operations in local areas

A distinctive boutique estate agency that describes itself as a hybrid between traditional and online operators, and which set up a ‘pop up’ physical branch 18 months ago, now plans to recruit up to 20 agents working around the country from their homes.

Mr & Mrs Clarke opened in 2014 using a model that has now become accepted as hybrid: an agent visits and values a property, with most of the marketing being online via the agency’s own website and through Rightmove and Zoopla. 

Back in December 2015 Estate Agent Today reported that the agency - which handles sales and lettings and has its main office in a rural location - was opening a pop-up branch for three months in an interiors shop in Leamington Spa.

The firm made a specific decision not to have a permanent High Street office in order to reduce overheads and make its charges lower than traditional rivals.

Now the Mr & Mrs Clarke concept, which puts the emphasis on unusually high quality marketing, is seeking to expand to up to 20 other locations.

“We decided that to expand the business whilst keeping try to our approach we would recruit, train and support great people to run their own Mr & Mrs Clarke Estate Agency in their area from home and offer the boutique services and great marketing that we have built a reputation on” Paul Clarke told Estate Agent Today over the weekend. 

“Four agents now work with us and we are looking to have 20 in the team by summer, 2018. It is a little bit like a franchise system but without the huge upfront fee and our agents have autonomy to work how and when they want so they have that work/life balance whilst being able to provide a personal and hardworking service for buyers and sellers” he continues. 

Clarke says the four examples in place now are women from law, marketing and IT backgrounds. “They provide the kind of customer care that we think is so important and so vacant in the industry. They are all property obsessed and diligent.”

The company’s recruitment campaign commits to provide the training and support, admin staff, marketing, Rightmove and Zoopla accounts and estate agency software for those wishing to run similar local agencies under the same name elsewhere in the country. 

“We think this approach is better for the client and better for you. We think it is the future of the estate agency industry” says Clarke. 

“If you are heavy on the hair gel, speak in riddles and prefer watching reality TV to reading Living ETC then do not apply” he adds.

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