Yet another estate agency has announced that it’s shutting branches and opening a centralised hub.
This time it’s Newman Property Experts, a Midlands agency which has four physical branches. At least some of these are to close according to a statement from the agency.
In their place will be what the firm is calling the ‘Newman HUB’ which will be a 10,000 square feet Rugby headquarters.
The firm insists this is not a backward move but in reality the start of an expansion programme - it says there will be up to 100 new jobs with agents in the field covering Warwickshire and the West Midlands, with proposals to expand coverage at a late date.
“It’s radical how the house selling process has changed – customers no longer visit our branches to register their search. We need to make sure we are at the forefront of technology and marketing” explains Brendan Petticrew, managing director.
“We see a centralised concept as the best way to make sure all systems and processes work in a way to benefit our clients. The Newman HUB will be the first operation of its kind in the Midlands and will consist of a number of different departments” he continues.
“There will be a telesales team, a legal team for after-sale support, a design and print department, a recruitment department, advanced training, professional photographers and of course the agents”.
He adds: “The agents role will be focused on just three areas – Valuing, Viewings and Negotiating. This will enable them to spend more time with our clients, ensuring they are always happy with advice, effort and results. Basically, - we want to make people love the moving process, not hate it”.
He insists the company is by no means anti-High Street but simply very pro-agent.
“Having the HUB and agents in the field will open up opportunity of flexible business hours. We will be able to conduct appointments when clients need us – most property buyers and sellers work 9am to 5pm. Our values are to be an expert – be committed and be connected. We don’t lose the value of good agents because for some reason they can’t work strictly to traditional office hours” notes Petticrew.
“We are worried that advertising would give the general public the impression that selling a home means calling in a company – advertising on the internet and agreeing a sale. Our client journey consists of 17 stages to ensure most exposure is given to every home to maximise its value – going on the internet is only one stage”.
The HUB will also be large enough to house community events and meetings; the company already donates services to local businesses and says it wants to expand this side in 2019.
This is just the latest agency to shut High Street branches and centralise.
Last week we reported that Orchards of London was scrapping its four branches and moving to a centralised operation; Humberts announced the same tactic for its national network of branches, with its first hub recently opening in Dorset.
US-owned Keller Williams operates this way with a number of ‘market centres’ across the UK while Harding Green and Agent & Homes do the same in prime central London locations.