‘Leading the way, after only 1 year of business’
I started up my own estate agency business after lockdown 1.0, not working providing me with the time to put together a business plan. Over the years life takes over, kids, work, home…., timing was never right. Was the time right now? Will the economy crash, will anybody want to sell during a pandemic? All of these questions rushed through my head. But at 40 (something) and with 19 years as a Local Estate Agent/valuer I knew it was now or never.
I officially launched Kirsty Hodgson Bespoke Estate Agent, powered by eXp at the end of June 2020. Offering a personal bespoke service, paying attention to communication offering a friendly professional service with attention to details with professional photographs, floor plans and virtual tours offered on all properties. Getting to know my client and their circumstances is very important to be able to be sensitive to their situation and also assisting them in finding a new home.
I discovered eXp uk. eXp offers a platform to be able to launch my own estate agency without all of the hefty outlays. They provide me with technology and support, in return I pay them a percentage of my income. The eXp format is from America, where the personal estate agent (Realtor) is common practice with one agent helping you with the full process from start to finish. I am currently in the top 10 eXp uk business owners out of 200+.
Quickly my business caused a stir and interest locally. My personal branding appearing all over my local town, Prudhoe. I cover all areas but initially concentrated on Prudhoe and surrounding villages. I quickly became the ‘property expert’ in my area and particularly on the Castlefields estate that I live in. Knowing the area inside out along with my modern marketing techniques I have become a real hit with the locals, with lots of people following my Facebook business page enjoying my videos. During the property boom Facebook became particularly useful as I put a ‘sneak peak’ and virtual tours on social media, before I can get the property ‘live’ on the property portals. The property market has been crazy and everyone wants to live in our wonderful Tyne Valley, and many properties have been going to best and final offers. Good job I am not afraid of hard work, (self confessed work alcoholic) I have made quite a few sacrifices and lots of ‘Mum’ guilt when putting in 9 til 10pm shifts working 6/7 days per week. The property market is now starting to slow down, (which I am a little grateful for) as we come to the end of the stamp duty freeze and new normality is in sight.
I also like to keep things simple. Offering a very straightforward fee with no tie in’s, no sale no fee, and no upfront or withdrawal fee’s, as I believe in what I do. Why would I need to tie anyone in if I truly believe in the service and marketing offered. No sole agency contracts or withdrawal period and only pay me when I get the job done.
My success in 1 year of business has not come without gratitude to the local support I have received, I have been blown away and feel very humble by the support and trust people have put in me to sell they’re ;often most valuable asset. I became the market leader within 6 months and nearly 12 months after launch I am currently listing and selling 50% more than the next leading local agents, according to official Rightmove figures in early June.
Thinking about the future……I am hugely passionate about property and currently concentrate all my attention into selling houses, saying that I have not ruled out branching out into rentals in the future. I also feel working from home suits a modern life style and means I don’t work set hours and am available when I am needed by my sellers and buyers.
My aim for the future is to stay fairly small and bespoke. It is very important to me to keep the personal service, with myself at the fore front. I am currently looking after over 70 properties therefore, in April I took the plunge and I employed Ailsa Coulson to help pick up my emails and messages whilst I am in appointments and carry out various admin tasks. Ailsa came with 3 years estate agency experience and has also been my best friend for around 25 years! So we make a great team and she keeps me sane. She is also an asset in helping me shoot my local informative videos promoting the wonderful area we are so lucky to live in.