Clayson’s Anatomy: a decomposition of Land & New Homes
22nd September 2021
Hunters Estate Agents have experienced a demand from our followers for more Q&A style content. You say it. We deliver.
The last few blogs have raised curiosity about the breadth of services Hunters provide and we can honestly tell you now that there’s no stopping us! It might seem cringe, but that well-know interview question ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?’ well…we want to keep growing and expanding our repertoire. People are at the heart of what we do, so why wouldn’t we want to create a magnificent concoction of services? Okay…we might have gone off at a tangent there. Let’s get on with the interview! This blog explores our other division, Land & New Homes, which focuses on finding new land for new ventures/property developments.
Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3…
Lauren: Hi Jon!
Jon: Hello Lauren…this bit isn’t going in so…?
Lauren: Oh, you want a bet? I can categorically say that I will be adding this to the script!
Lauren: Anyway, how are you today?
Jon: Smashing, thank you…it’s not verbal, it’s written!
Lauren: Yes, but I write all of this in the script…So, tell me about your role and Hunters Estate Agents in general. How long has Hunters been running for?
Jon: So, I am the Managing Director of Hunters and I oversee everything that happens within the business and I also plan for the future. I make sure that my team are fully on-board with my vision of what we need to be like and how we deal with our clients and friends. We have a huge amount of repeat business, so not everybody is just a ‘client,’ a lot of people come back for a second, third, and in some cases fourth time. We therefore need to be consistent in our delivery and we also need to make sure that we are very up-to-date with whatever else is going on in the market. For instance, how people best receive our information.
Once upon a time, we used to sit there with piles of paper and hand out lots of leaflets and post out property particulars to customers. These days, everything is done online. We almost print nothing (to hand out to clients) because clients communicate online via WhatsApp or email, or any other medium that we have. The difference now is the amount of technology that we can use to make it a lot easier for our clients to get the information that they need.
Lauren: You mentioned your ‘vision’ earlier, what is that exactly?
Jon: The way I look at our business is that we are all in this together, whether it is us or you…or your parents, we are all on the same side trying to achieve the same objective. The better we work together, the greater the communication process and the more information we can give, thus, the more comfortable you feel with us, which ultimately creates a better process. Everybody knows that moving can be incredibly tough and a stressful time, in terms of getting all the logistics together. As we are experienced in this, we can therefore take the lead and ensure that your move goes effortlessly.
I think that if you look at our testimonials and reviews, you will see that we get it right almost all the time. Our clients and friends feel strongly that we do the right job. So, my vision is really about working with people and not for people. If we do it together, we get a better result than if we do it by dictate.
Lauren: Thank you Jon. How has Hunters expanded over the years? How has it evolved?
Jon: When we set up in 1998, it was just Sales. We just sold properties. It took off incredibly well because we have always been at the forefront of everything we do. For instance, the latest technology, the latest way of helping our clients and how they get the information they require – this has always been driven through technology and ensured a smooth process for our clients.
It was very soon recognised that there was a huge demand for quality, when it comes to the Lettings side. There were a few larger organisations who did Lettings/property rentals, but the comments we were getting from a lot of our clients (who were professional Landlords) was that it was all very average. Nothing special. They didn’t really stand out. We felt we could do a lot better than that and our Lettings department was then set up 6 months after we opened and it has gone from strength to strength since.
We then moved into Property Management, which looks after large developments, because again – our clients pushed for this to happen. We have now moved into Land & New Homes as well, which is an extremely exciting and different world for us to enter. It is a lot more of a commercial based thing than a 1-1 based business (as all of our current businesses are), in that we will help developers find large plots of land or clients who have large gardens to get planning permission for 1, 2, 3 or even 4 additional properties on their plot. We then help them move those plots on and make a profit out of it for them. So, the Land & New Homes division is incredibly varied, for example, there is circa 3000 new homes being built in Burgess Hill over the next few years and the Mid Sussex area. There has been an enormous amount of regeneration happening, but there is still a massive requirement for new homes to be built and therefore a huge demand for land which can be built on. Our view is that we have such a great network of people who trust us, and trust working with us, so our Land & New Homes department will be successful quite quickly on the basis that people clearly enjoy working with us. We just don’t have time, nor any interest, in all the bull that goes on. It’s all so easy when you just say it how it is and don’t play games.
Land & New Homes has been going for about 3 months now and we have already 4 deals in the pipeline. It is a lot more secretive than other projects we have going on, because of course we are working on a 1-1 basis with clients and developers, but going forward, it looks like there is massive potential in the Mid Sussex area. There is a lot of land that is destined to be built on and we have acquired a lot of clients (over the 20 plus years that we have been open), who own large properties and are now looking at how they can best recoup the value of their land, as they don’t really want to move. They purely want to maximise their income.
Lauren: So, it sounds like there is huge potential and it is already growing at a fast rate. What would you say is the future of Land & New Homes?
Jon: I talk about Land & New Homes extremely positively because people need homes, and the South is undersubscribed and with great potential. There is a degree of guilt involved in it because a lot of our beautiful areas get dug up. Fields that we have gone past for years turn into a massive, sprawling, housing estate…but only because it is required. So, I think that the reality is that Land & New Homes is an extremely important area and if we can be involved in this and help create better designs or give our clients a better idea of what our customers really want, then we might be able to make a more positive impact. Ultimately, that land is going to be sold and something is going to be built, but we may be able to have a slight persuasion on what is built, as opposed to building something completely unnecessary…and in the wrong location.
Thank you very much Jon. It has been great having this discussion with you. If people wish to get in touch with Hunters, how can they do that?
Jon: No problem! So there are three Directors in our Land & New Homes department, including; Chris Rowe, who is our Prodigal Son, and runs our Sales department, Matt Cooper, who has been with me forever and also runs our Lettings Department! Then there is me. So, if you just send us an email to email@example.com or call us on 01444 254 400, then we would love to have a chat with you! Nothing we do costs a penny until we succeed. We take care with Covid (we have a great responsibility to our team and our clients) to not create any complications. However, the only way to really work together with people honestly and openly is face to face. We keep a respectable distance and as such, our preference is to meet personally. I think it is important that you get a true feeling of what we are about, because if you go through this journey with us, it is vitally important that you know you can work with us.
Lauren: Thank you Jon!
Jon: You are welcome – goodbye!