The best estate and letting agents in the UK were recognised at the prestigious ESTAS luncheon and ceremony, which was held at The Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane, on Friday 12th May.
Now in its 14th year, the ESTAS, which are broadly accepted as one of the most important accolades in the UK estate agents sector, was attended by more than 1,000 senior industry figures.
Property firms and professionals, across various categories designed to help agencies shine in their region, were rewarded for outstanding customer service based on the results of over 34,000 customer surveys.
“The ESTAS isn’t just an awards event or a customer feedback programme. It is also a state of mind, a philosophy that all you believe in because customer service is in your DNA,” said TV property celebrity and host of the awards Phil Spencer.
“The ESTAS are the things you do every day at work, week after week, month after month to deliver great service,” he added.
Just being shortlisted for an award at the ESTAS can provide agents with the ultimate marketing tool that enables them to improve brand awareness and promote their business to new customers.
But of course, the day ultimately belonged to the gold winners. You can see a full list of this year’s winners here.
Countrywide was named the best large agency group, the best local agency award went to Williams & Donavon, Butters John Bee picked up the trophy for best regional agency group, Dale Eddison’s Ilkley branch was voted the best estate agent office in the UK, while the House Network won the ultimate gold prize in the best online agent category.
Countrywide was also voted by landlords as the best large agency group, the best local agency award was given to Thorgills, Kings Group’s Harlow branch was awarded the best letting agent office in the UK, Balgores Property Group was named the best regional agency group, while Upad collected the gong for best online letting agent.
Meanwhile Lynks Estate Agents in the North West was voted the best letting agency office in the UK by tenants.
One 77 Mortgages was named national mortgage broker of the year, while Cooper Associates picked up the gold award best mortgage broker office in the UK.
Board supplier Agency Express won the national award for supplier of the year, as well as best in service board specialist.
Other best in service supplier awards went to IAM Sold Ltd for auctions, TDS Northern Ireland for deposit schemes, Growth Track for digital marketing, Metropix for floor plans, Reapit for best software, HomeLet for tenant referencing, SULU software (powering Tenant Shop) for tenant services, and ValPal - owned by Angels Media, the publisher of Estate Agent Today and Letting Agent Today - for best valuation tool.
Finally, the people awards, which honour the very best individuals in residential agency for 2017, went to Chris Baron at Bolton Properties, Danielle Oaks at Beercocks Kingswood, Elaine Forrester of Chilterns Brandon, Iain Carter at My Mortgage Company and Sarah Mayes of Fisks Rental Management.
We will be talking to a number of the winners in the letting agency categories next week, but for now, here is what some of the national and regional award-winning estate agents and best in service suppliers had to say about their success at the ESTAS:
Butters John Bee Sandbach
The firm won gold for best estate agent in Cheshire, while sales manager, Diane Booth, was “honoured” to receive one of the people awards.
Booth said: “At BJB in Sandbach, we strive to offer not only an efficient service but a personal service and like to think that clients are happy to discuss any issue that they may have when moving home,”
“We value our reputation as friendly, approachable and knowledgable and we feel highly honoured as a team to be rewarded with this award as voted for by our satisfied clients.”
C residential continued its remarkable success at the ESTAS this by winning the gold award in the best estate agents category in the West Midlands (Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands) and silver for best letting agents – voted by tenants – in the same region. The company has successfully won at least one award every year at the ESTAS going back to 2004.
How do you feel after winning gold and silver awards? “Excited, elated and very, very proud, just about sums it up,” said company director Angi Cooney.
Austin Hawk, which was formed in 2012, was awarded gold for sales in Hampshire and Wiltshire for the second consecutive year, as well as silver for best letting agents – tenants - in the Southern region.
“Our service levels are second to none, as illustrated by our clients who voted for us, which simply makes us try even harder,” said Dean Austin, director. “These awards are true testament to my staff for their hard work and dedication and most importantly, having some fun along the way.”
After winning gold for best estate agent in the North East for the second year running, Jodene Schofield, associate director at Gowlnd White, reflected on the benefits of being an ESTAS award-winning agency.
She said: “One of the key benefits to our winning the award is that we ‘stand out from the crowd’ – we have something that our competitors don’t. The award is our stamp of recognition for the outstanding customer service skills our sales staff provides.
“On the back of our win in 2016, we saw an increase in instructions and are hopeful of the same for 2017, and this is as a result of clients acknowledging this award and recognising what this means to the property industry and how using an agent with this achievement will benefit them in their home moving experience.”
Logic Estates won no fewer than five awards this year, including gold for best Feefo agent and silver for best estate agent office in the UK.
“To know that our remarkable customer service has been recognised to the point of winning five sales and letting awards makes us extremely proud of our team, and thankful of our clients who voted,” said David Kennedy, sales director at Logic Estates.
Burton & Co Property Centre
The company has previously won several silver accolades, but winning gold for best estate agents in the East Midlands has “eclipsed” all previous successes, according to the company’s manager, Graham Davidson.
“The gold award has put a ‘spring in the step’ of everyone in our office and made new members of staff even more determined to match, if not better, their more experienced colleagues.
“The ESTAS promote the highest levels of customer service and are a quality mark of excellence for those who aspire to and achieve those aims.”
The company was only formed two years ago, which makes their gold award win for best estate agent in the North West (Cumbria & Lancashire) particularly impressive.
John Harrison, managing director, commented: “We formed the company with a clear objective of being a personal, bespoke, hands on and customer focussed business.
“I had worked for large corporate agents for 15 years and decided I wanted to see how my vision of how the industry should be would work in the market.”
Giggs & Company
‘Serving, not selling’ is the ethos at Giggs & Company, and so business manager, Natalie Brookman, was understandably pleased to have this recognised at the ESTAS, after her firm won the gold award for best estate agent in the East of England (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire) region.
“We are massively proud to deliver a personal, understanding and responsive service to our buyers and sellers,” she said. “Our team is incredibly happy and inspired to reach new heights and continue creating a new standard of estate agency.”
Williams and Donovan
When the company started in 1999 its aim was to always “offer an excellent service for customers” and so to win gold for best local agency group (2-5 offices) has exceeded even company manger, Paul Dunne’s “wildest expectations”.
He credits the estate agency award win to the firm’s “amazing staff that always go the extra mile”.
Moving Me and Right Advice Mortgage Consultancy
Moving Me and Right Advice Mortgage Consultancy, which are under the same ownership, chose to enter the ESTAS purely to help them “monitor and improve” the facets of their customer service levels and to ensure that they offer their clients “a first class service”, according to Kevin Hannan, managing director of both companies.
He was not disappointed with the results after both firms were awarded gold accolades in the Southern (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire) categories for best estate agent and best mortgage broker, respectively.
Hannan said: “Obviously the two businesses have a great synergy. The two teams are absolutely beaming with pride over winning double gold. To us we feel like we have just won the Olympics!”
Metropix is celebrating double award success at the ESTAS after being announced best in sector for floor plans, as well as receiving silver in the supplier of the year category.
Collecting the awards on the day, Metropix’s customer services manager, Steve Sanashee, said “The competition gets fiercer every year, and we’re thrilled with the two awards, especially the silver in the overall supplier of the year category.
“Being voted for by our clients provides real recognition of the hard work put in by the whole team. We’re really proud, and grateful, to everybody who voted for us."
The ValPal Network
The ValPal Network, which generated over 40,000 warm valuation leads for agents in April alone, provides more than 2,800 agent branches with access to an instant online property valuation tool. The company won best in sector for property valuations.
Craig Vile, director at the Network, commented: “We’d like to congratulate all the ESTAS winners, many of which are members of the ValPal Network.
“We are also delighted to have won a prestigious ESTAS prize ourselves and thank everyone that voted for us. It means a lot as it is our customers and clients that made the effort to vote.”
*Marc Da Silva is Estate Agent Today and Letting Agent Today Features Editor. You can follow him on Twitter @propertyjourno