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NI agent offers short-term accommodation to reduce fall-throughs

A County Down-based estate agent has acquired a local rival and launched a new “stop-gap” accommodation service for buyers and sellers to preserve chains.

Quinn Estate Agents, which operates branches in Downpatrick, Banbridge and Ballynahinch, has acquired the longstanding Banbridge-based Sawyers & Co. estate agency, expanding its portfolio of rental properties and sales listings.

Alongside the business, the agency has acquired the former Sawyers & Co. trading premises which offers prominent street-level office space, which Quinn is now operating from, as well as two residential apartments above the unit.

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The business, established in 2010 by Jonathan Quinn, has also acquired similar premises in Ballynahinch which features ground floor commercial space with potential for apartment accommodation and an abandoned bungalow. 

This is the backdrop for an innovative new service to support home buyers and vendors caught in the property chain.

Benefitting from on-site storage containers for large home appliances and possessions, the bungalow has undergone a renovation to accommodate short-term stays for homebuyers and sellers wanting to complete on the sale or purchase of their property to avoid the transaction falling through.

The agent said the cost of the accommodation, which also includes the provision of on-site storage, amounts to around the same cost as storage alone.
 

Quinn said: It’s a rather unique service.

“Moving house can be a stressful exercise, so we’re keen to ensure a frictionless transition for our vendors and homebuyers. Unless you’re a first-time or cash buyer, you’re likely to find yourself in a property chain that relies on the completion of successive property transactions. 

“Often, there can be a break in that chain for any number of reasons that causes the sale of a property to ‘fall through’.

“We’re renting the property to our clients on a week-to-week basis to help ease the burden of sourcing temporary accommodation. It’s a service that has been extremely well received.”

As a result of the success of the trial in Ballynahinch, Quinn is now investing in the development of a similar short-term let for homebuyers and sellers in Banbridge.

The agent’s expansion has been backed financially by Ulster Bank.

The lender’s business development manager Derick Wilson, said: “Jonathan and the team at Quinn Estate Agents have identified a workable solution to a common problem facing many people in the residential property market. It’s a simple, but extremely effective response.

“In addition, as the past 18 months have shown, the property market operates in peaks and troughs as it reacts to external factors. By acquiring these premises the business has secured new revenue streams from commercial and residential rents that will sustain the business.”

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