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Ex-High Street agents swing over to Hybrid model - and claim it works

Two separate former High Street estate agents have sung the praise of switching to the hybrid business model.

Appleby’s in Gloucestershire is a family-run agency set up by Wayne Appleby with the help of his mother in law Julie Hankins. 

In its first year in business, just completed, it has handled residential property plus farms, land, country homes, building plots and new homes.


“I have now been in the estate agency industry for 10 years. It was always a dream to set up on my own, so that’s what I did, and a year later the business has gone from strength to strength. Against all odds, like all start ups, there is a huge risk, but I believe you have to take risks to achieve any goal in life” Appleby has told local media in the county.

Appleby’s model is distinctly local and emphasises its family roots and Gloucestershire heritage.

Meanwhile the latest Hunters franchisee has revealed that his Cumbria and south west Scotland franchise will have a hybrid element to it, working from a centralised hub in Carlisle.

Staff at the hub will handle sales progression and property management While nine Purplebricks-style local operators will handle specific instructions in the Cockermouth, Dumfries, Penrith, Kendal, Workington, Whitehaven, Barrow, Lancaster and Carlisle locations.

This hybrid variant is the first of its kind ever accepted by Hunters, but franchise owner  Graeme MacLeod -  who was at LSL before spending 13 years at Countrywide - says the deal is the consequence of the management buy out of Cumberland Estate Agents, which until now had been part of the Cumberland Building Society . 

“We have had a fantastic 27 years as part of the building society and will continue to harness our strong relationship with them. We felt becoming part of a strong national estate and lettings agency brand and having access to the benefits of a well-established franchising model was a crucial part of our growth as a company, and of huge benefit to our customer base” he says. 

“Estate agency is and always will be about people first, but that’s no longer just about face to face contact. It is equally important to capitalise on digital innovation and technological advancements, which offer significant benefits to our staff and by extension our customers, allowing them to be better informed and at a faster pace too. We very much see it as a strengthening of the High Street offering, rather than a dilution of it” he adds.

These two hybrid operators support the concept just as a new company with roots in the US - eXp UK - launches in this country.

As we reported yesterday, two agents with established High Street brands - former NAEA President Mark Bentley and former Connells executive Ian Dobrin - have announced that they too are taking the helm of local hybrid operations via eXp.


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