BEN WEST looks at how Britain’s largest single estate agency is forging ahead
BUYING or selling a home is the biggest financial transaction of most people’s lives. That means it is vital to use an estate agent you can trust completely to make sure the whole process progresses smoothly. Your Move, which this year became the UK’s largest single estate agency brand, carried out a satisfaction survey of 1,071 of its customers between June and December 2009. Of this figure, 1,047 recommended its service, with 844 rating it as “very good” and 184 describing it as “good”.
Your Move became the biggest agency in its field after the acquisition of 101 branches of a major high street estate agency.
That deal means it now has 336 branches and employs a 1,550-strong workforce.
The business was set up in the late Eighties by UK insurers General Accident. In 1999, following the General Accident/Commercial Union merger and subsequent acquisition of Norwich Union, it rebranded as Your Move.
The valuation and survey business became e.surv, which is now the largest distributor of valuation instructions in the UK.
Being the largest single estate agency brand in the UK means that customers of Your Move have a nationwide network of offices working on their behalf.
The agency says this is great news for sellers and landlords wanting maximum exposure and for buyers and tenants interested in properties, not just locally but nationally too.
“This deal has rocketed us into the number one spot,” says David Newnes, managing director of Your Move. “Customers will notice the impact of the acquisition immediately.
“Your Move’s investment in staff really paid off in 2009 and our volume of complaints is at an all-time low.
“We’ve spent the last two months retraining hundreds of new staff. We’re the biggest, the best and we want customers to know they can trust us.”
He adds: “Our online presence has also been strengthened. Your-move.co.uk is now the most visited estate agency website in the UK. That’s great news for sellers and landlords who want to maximise their properties’ exposure online.
“We’ve also invested heavily in placing properties on the major property portals in order to raise the online profile of our customers’ properties.”
AS PART of the integration of the enlarged network, Your Move is undergoing a £1.5million rebrand that will see all 336 of its branches fitted out with new signage and fas§ias.
Your Move has several additional services it can offer, all under one roof.
These include mortgage and remortgage advice through a network of in-house financial consultants who provide no-obligation advice to customers about mortgages and related insurance needs. You don’t even have to be a Your Move customer to use the service. The company has access to hundreds of mortgage products, many of which are from high street lenders.
It can notify existing customers when their deals are coming to an end and provide ongoing advice on what to do next.
‘Our presence Your Move is also the UK’s largest lettings agency, offering three levels of service to landlords, depending on the type of support that they require. strengthened our website the most In weathering the recent economic storms, Your Move has reported industry-leading trading results. estate site in The company has invested heavily in developing systems and processes that streamline the house-buying and selling process, thereby helping it to provide an award-winning service and ensuring prices remain highly competitive.
Now that Your Move is such a big business, branches can work with each other, selling and renting properties and attracting customers from further afield. This is further boosted by Your Move’s massive nationwide advertising and public relations campaigns, as many people would expect from an agency of its size.
On top of that, its first class geographical coverage means it has a greater appreciation of what is happening in the market as a whole and how this can make an impact on local markets.
online has been and is now “The impact of the deal on the business will be massive,” explains Newnes, who has worked in the estate agency sector for 30 years.
visited agency “It reinforces our residential sales and lettings business and strengthens our position in different markets such as new homes, using the existing expertise and knowledge of staff who are new to Your Move.”
the UK’ He adds: “Last year, Your Move sold in excess of £1.6billion worth of property. As a result of this deal, it’ll be much, much more in 2010.”