Meet the Estate Agent: Nick Miller, Eden Estate Agents
Burnetts' conveyancing team speaks to Nick Miller from Eden Estate Agents in Penrith, where he gives a background to the company and his top tips for home buyers and sellers.
Image: Nick and Helen Miller of Eden Estate Agents in Penrith
Burnetts' conveyancing team spoke to Nick Miller, Managing Director of Eden Estate Agents in Penrith, to find out more about the company, what advice he would give to buyers and sellers, and how he sees the industry changing in the future.
How did you get into the Estate Agency business? What is the background to the company?
"I’ve always loved property and I was practising as a property and commercial lawyer in north Cumbria, following a move from Manchester.
I had been seeking an opportunity to run a business, rather than be an adviser. I had always thought that the amount of effort that estate agents put into marketing their clients’ most valuable asset was pretty poor and had always been active in the property sector myself.
My wife Helen (in the picture above), who is my business partner, was running an estate agency in Penrith when the branch business was offered to us at a time when that business was in financial trouble. We took it over, rebranded and relaunched (in 10 days flat) and set about building the business on the basis of total client focus - personal service, aspirational branding, presentation and marketing - creating positive working relationships to get the right results.
We further developed the business by becoming part of the Fine & Country group in 2016 - a very successful brand with national and international reach, and over 300 offices."
Describe your business – what makes you stand out from your competitors?
"Going the extra mile - unrivalled client-centric service. We have a unique and collaborative group of motivated staff who work together brilliantly for the benefit of our clients. Achieving outstanding and sometimes ground breaking results.
Becoming part of the Fine & Country group has taken our business to a new level with the ability to offer standards of presentation and marketing that others cannot replicate.
Our mission is to secure the best possible outcome for our selling clients. We do this by an holistic approach to our clients and their properties. We treat both as individuals, enabling us to market and negotiate properties in the best way - tailored to the attributes an potential of the property - and to develop relationships with each client to ensure that we are giving them the best selling experience and making the most of every situation.
At the core of selling is the relationships with buyers, who in many cases are making a ‘big’ move; there is no hard sell, only transparent advice to help them in their decision making, which we can influence.
We combine the best opportunities presented by online marketing techniques with traditional personal relationships and using information we hold to promote business.
Because we are not a ‘listing’ agent, always seeking to increase market share, we have developed a highly individual approach to each client and their property. We are not driven by corporate targets, but growing our business by achieving the best outcomes on an individual basis. This has generated client goodwill, business referral and brings the benefits of a long term view of business success."
How is this put into practice?
"So, in practice; we photograph each property - however large or small - professionally. The photography takes into account the characteristics of each house. Each property has measured floorplans and a beautiful printed brochure. Our online presence has been developed to give the best display of our clients’ properties - a tailor made solution rather than a generic template.
We've a team of sales negotiators who work together to inform buyers, create selling opportunities and do the essential ‘broking’ that is needed to produce the best deals. Today’s buyer is tomorrow’s seller, so we seek to give buyers’ helpful and transparent assistance in realising dreams! This includes guiding people through the process, both before and after the sale is agreed. None of our staff are paid on commission on sale, ensuring that there are no conflicts of interest.
All our negotiations are conducted by or under the supervision of one of the highly experienced directors, again to ensure high achievement. We actively follow all sales through to completion - with my assistance when needed on the legal front.
Like estate agency, only better!"
What is your favourite part of the job?
"Developing the business by inspiring and converting clients to the benefits of our approach, in an increasingly commoditised online world; meeting the incredibly diverse range of interesting people in our part of the world; making the market for certain classes of property, and achieving great results for happy clients."
What would be your dream house?
"A south facing beautifully proportioned Georgian house, with winter fires and cellars, with a contemporary extension with lots of glass and energy efficiency. Near the sea or other body of water. There would need to be a garden room opening to the outside, with undercover outdoor space for winter barbecues!"
Do you have any tips for sellers on making their house more appealing to potential buyers?
"Yes, talk to us! Maximise kerb appeal, moderate any particularly personal decorative features (e.g. black paint on walls!), remove pet animal smells, declutter and imagine you are the buyer."
Do you have any tips for buyers – what should they look out for when viewing properties?
"Rely less on a comprehensive and probably unachievable wishlist, and more on your gut and emotions. Focus on location, before the individual attributes of the house. Talk to us for a frank, positive and helpful view!"
Where do you see the estate agency business in 10 years?
"In relation to estate agency as a whole, I think the industry will segment, as with other professional service sectors. There will be 2 key markets - those sellers who understand the value that we can bring to the process and those focus only on the cost to sell.
Too many high street agents have no real identity or brand - they do not stand for anything in particular and so lack identity. The advent of online-only operators with clear branding and large marketing budgets able to create market share will force them to change or decline.
For our business, I see a structured business clearly catering for the different markets that we currently serve, with very clear branding and messages, so that consumers/clients can access the service that they wish for.
Our emphasis, as now and growing, will be in the market for individual, special and/or high end properties."
Read more from our Meet the Estate Agents series here.