An estate agency that launched in 2018 saying that High Street offices were dead…has now opened its second physical branch in just three months.
Back in November 2018 Bob Crowley - one of the founders of Agent & Homes, which had launched six months earlier - told Estate Agent Today: "Like most agents who have worked on the high street in the past, we're of the opinion that a high street presence and shop front is no longer needed for a modern agency to be successful”.
The idea was to have self-employed agents operating either from a serviced office or from their homes.
But now Crowley’s co-founder of the agency, Rollo Miles, has announced the two physical branches are in Ladbroke Grove and most recently Islington.
Miles says the explanation behind the change of mind is simple: "Where we already have strong self-employed agents on the ground working and gaining market share, we then parachute a local hub into their patch to support them. This gives them extra presence, and helps them gain more market share by tapping into potential clients who do not know them personally. They also get increased marketing and brand presence by having a local branded hub in which to welcome clients.”
However the company insists that these local hubs are not old-style High Street offices, and says their design is all about the home and creating links with local vendors and landlords.
The new hubs instead “add a new dimension to the platform and take advantage of the changes in local habits.”
Nathan Kinder, who runs the new Islington branch, says: "Not only do we have boards up, or our branded classic cars zooming about, but we also have a local presence to welcome residents in, so they get a better and clearer idea of what we are about.
"This local bespoke service "with all the added benefits of the best tech tools and modern thinking, that is our twist - we are traditional agents but also very tech savvy and above all consumer-service focussed.”
Agent and Homes says it’s looking for new sites all over London.
Miles concludes: “As we come out of Covid and the economy starts to open up, what we all want to do is work in the new world in which we find ourselves.
“More and more of us are working from home, our local high streets have been re-discovered by their inhabitants who get to spend more time in the local coffee shops or delis and therefore having that extra local presence and being able to invite a client for a coffee and a property catch up is more important than ever. What is crucial is cementing ourselves as true local agents - our agents live and work in their patch and are therefore the best people to introduce the area to new tenants or buyers."