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Q&A with Vincent Anthony, Managing Director, Propertynest

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Benedict Smith

1) What was the driver behind you setting up Propertynest and the history behind the company?

I’ve always been ambitious and self-motivated, aiming to add real value wherever I’ve worked. I was looking for a career path which gave enjoyment, progression, financial security and independence. Estate agency offers all these benefits, with the bonus of being able to meet new people, and the opportunity to provide a valued service to the local community.

I’d worked in various roles from selling advertising space around London to recruitment, not really sticking to any job for more than a couple of years. It was a chance conversation with a family friend at an outing to Donnington Park Racetrack which led to being offered the chance to set up a letting agency in 2007 under their guidance.

I was originally the sole person working hands on in the business. I did however, benefit from a team of reliable contractors, some who handled maintenance issues and repairs, and others who helped on the operational side, saving time on carrying out inventories and inspections for example.

The agency went from strength to strength. Over time, this has led to the development of great team of people. Over the past 14 years, we’ve built our business model around providing the best possible customer experience, with service and quality at the heart of everything we do.

In 2016, we merged our business with another well-known agency in Leeds, also entering the property sales market. As part of this process - and with ambitious plans to franchise - we created and launched our new brand Propertynest.

Over the company’s history we have learned what works and what doesn’t. We have developed a proven marketing, lead generation, and operating system, which includes both bespoke and market leading software applications, fully integrated with the aim of providing for an ultra-efficient back office and marketing platform. This means our agents can grow their businesses more easily, be fully supported, and can spend more quality time with their clients on an individual basis, with continued focus on building long term relationships and local presence.

We have been working hard in preparation for launching our Propertynest franchise. Following the success of two pilots, we are now ready to start sharing in our model with other ambitious people who want to start their own agency by joining Propertynest and be part of our journey together.

2) Who makes up the Propertynest team and what do they ‘bring to the party’?

The Propertynest team at our Leeds head office is integral to our success. The team is made up of our key personnel including:

Myself: Managing Director, I focus on business operations, exploring new opportunities, and continually working towards enhancing the company’s operating processes, systems, and procedures.

Vicki Anthony, Operations Director: Vicki is responsible for operations including group compliance, customer service, event planning and all things admin.

Paul Sheard, National Training & Business Development Manager: With over 40 years’ experience, Paul heads up our training and national business development. Paul is well known in the industry and has worked with, and helped grown some the industry’s most recognised brands, including Countrywide. This means new agents joining can rest assured they will receive fantastic training and the best support.

Gabi Austin, Marketing Manager: is passionate about supporting our agents to grow their businesses and works hard to maximise effective marketing coverage across the main social media & marketing channels.

Our agents can also find added value as a group, benefiting from what we believe to be the best combination of market leading tools, systems, software, and industry bodies, whether this be for direct mail, sales progression, training, automated email campaigns, social media scheduling, entry into the ESTAS awards, and so much more.

3) What’s been the biggest lesson you’ve learned over the years?

Nothing comes easy! To succeed in business takes a lot of time and effort. There is no such thing as an overnight success.

If a good opportunity does present itself, then grab it with both hands! If you can give it 100% and have no regrets, you are more likely to succeed. I also think it’s important to love what you do, to be humble but also aspire to be the best at what you do too.

4) What do you like about the property industry?

Every day is different, you literally can’t predict what you will be dealing with from one day to the next. It’s a people business, so building relationships with clients is always rewarding. There are always new people to meet, new and exciting properties to experience selling or letting, even down to the random issues you’ll be tasked to resolve, it’s interesting and fun!

I also like the fact that there is a continued opportunity to enhance service and scalability using an ever improving and evolving tech base too. I love the fact that just working in the industry opens up so many new doors and opportunities.

5) What’s your secret to success?

I guess my secret to success is always to always put myself in the shoes of my customers. For example, when selling, remember that your job is to get the best price for your vendor, not your buyer. Your buyers will respect the fact that you’re pushing to get the best price for your vendor. Most importantly it’s to respect and treat your customers as though they are your own boss.

That said, I couldn’t have set up Propertynest so successfully without the support of my whole team. We are all working towards the same goal: to develop the business further and offer the chance for new franchisees to join in our success as we grow the brand.

6) Why do you think the time is right to launch Propertynest as a franchise?

Covid has sparked a working from home revolution. Our business model has already been built to cater for this revolution. Even before Covid, most agents started their new businesses from home. We’ve invested heavily in tech, and a slick combination of the most innovative and award-winning software, training and marketing tools, which gives our agents the ability to focus on growing their new businesses immediately, while being able to spend more time with their customers on an individual basis. This adds value and means we can command premium fees.

Despite the Pandemic and rises in inflation, demand for property remains strong. After all, everyone needs to live somewhere! According to the Office of National Statistics the average property price increased by 7.8% over the year to June 2022. The average UK house price was £286,000 in June 2022, which is £20,000 higher than this time last year.

There is currently a real opportunity for estate agents to start their own business working from home in a strong market. Working remotely is both accepted and convenient and Propertynest offers new franchisees all the tools and technology to achieve this. It’s also a great way to start out as overheads are kept to a minimum. As the agency grows and takes on staff, then an office or high street location can be added if necessary.

7) What benefits can franchisees expect?

The Propertynest franchise offers the chance to join an exciting, growing brand. You will have full autonomy to run your own sales and/or lettings business under our umbrella within your own designated territory. We currently have territories available across England.

Propertynest offers great training and support, use of the industry’s best tech, operating platform, website platform, marketing solutions, collateral, and a continued push from head office to innovate and improve the brand, plus ongoing support from our experienced team.

The Propertynest franchise offers a superb income generating opportunity. This summer, one of our existing franchisees invoiced £54,575 net in commissions in one month alone! His success has been extraordinary and not everyone will achieve this. However, we can train you and ensure you have all the necessary tools to run a successful franchised estate agency of your own.

8) What makes the Propertynest franchise different to other estate agency franchises?

Our business is all about people. We have brought on board key team members selected for their experience and passion for service, and these skills are now available to help new franchisees as we grow. For example: we have recently appointed Paul Sheard as our National Business Development & Training Manager. Paul has more than 20 years’ experience in the property sector working for established players such as Countrywide, and Ewemove.

As well as our great team, we are backed-up by our technology. We love efficient processes and will do everything we can to reduce admin and make lead generation as easy as possible. We have taken many years to hone our platform and integrate the tools and systems we use daily and so access to our streamlined tech is one of the benefits of becoming a Propertynest franchisee.

From a sales perspective, we wish to emphasise the personal service that the customer enjoys when working with a Propertynest agent. This adds value, and we’ve developed the brand in such a way that allows us to target the mid to high end of the market. We sit between models which promote a bespoke personal service, while not venturing too far from the conventional model. This means that the brand and exclusive territory will help give our self-employed, franchised agents consistency, a clear sales message, plus the opportunity to build a business asset of real value which they can one day sell, if they choose to do so.

9) Who would make the ideal Propertynest franchisee?

To represent the Propertynest brand we are looking for ambitious, hardworking, committed, energetic individuals or couples who are driven to create and build their own business which, as an asset, they could eventually sell on or even offer as a legacy to their own family.

The ideal Propertynest franchisee would be an experienced estate agent looking to set up but would like support to realise their dream of setting up their own agency! A lot of people expect that we’d only consider working with people with industry experience. However, this is not the case. I didn’t have previous industry experience myself when setting up my own agency and it worked for me and my family!

Having said that, the ideal Propertynest franchisee should have a proven track record in face-to-face selling involving negotiation and reasoning, be ambitious, always be looking to put clients’ needs first, have a thick skin, good time management, be self-motivated, and have a degree in common sense!

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