Estate agency firm MartinCo said its acquisition of Cleckheaton-based estate agents EweMove last month is bedding down well and it will continue to operate from its own HQ in Yorkshire to preserve its distinctive cultural and brand identity.
MartinCo described EweMove as a 21st century “hybrid/on-line estate and letting agent“ which has enjoyed “tremendous growth” since it launched two years ago.
EweMove now has 90 franchisees and MartinCo believes there is the potential to expand this number to 800.
David Raggett, chief financial officer of MartinCo, said: “In our sector there’s a struggle to find people who understand the technology. There is a lack of skills.
“EweMove is making headway in a way no-one else is. It is engaging customers locally and providing a service 24 hours a day.”
David Laycock, co-founder of EweMove who has stayed on with MartinCo, said: “We asked landlords and vendors: What is the most important thing to you in an estate agent?’ Price came seventh. The most important factor is local property experts, then convenience and the ability to contact people out of hours.
“Customers don’t want to go to a high street agent. They want the agent to come to their home. They want someone who can be on the phone at 8 o’clock at night. They want to ask for a valuation at 9am on a Sunday and for their home to be valued later that day.”
EweMove was named the UK’s Most Trusted Estate Agent and Letting Agent on Trustpilot, the estate agency world’s equivalent of TripAdvisor.
After the vote to leave the European Union, the group said that everywhere north of London is “doing alright”. The group saw a slowdown in June and July, but the market picked up again in August and September.
Mr Raggett said: “After the EU vote I think we’ll have highs and lows. The North is holding up well – it’s ahead of last year. People will always need somewhere to live.”
He added that the enlarged company is trying to overturn the negative perception of estate agents.
“In our marketing we say you need to be a nice person if you want to join us. We want people who do the right thing even if it’s not the best financial decision,” he said.
“Now 50 per cent of our business comes through referrals. It’s all about the property and the relationship.”