Hortons Estate Agents celebrates first successful year
The founder of a new style hybrid estate agent based in the city has revealed plans to expand his firm following a ‘sensational’ first year trading.
Adam Horton launched Hortons Estate Agents at the start of January with a team of five staff and want to expand by taking on 15 sales agents next year.
Hortons operate across Leicestershire and are a combination of traditional and online agency. The fact you will not find them in a High Street office allows them to keep costs down says Adam, yet like traditional agents they have sound local knowledge and charge only if the property is sold.
The firm’s policy of charging a fixed fee without commission is typical of the online model, Adam said: “The first year has been incredibly encouraging, especially as the hybrid agency is a fairly new concept in Leicestershire, offering the best of both traditional and online services."
“We have benefitted from a steady national trend in people looking for cheaper alternatives to High Street agents but still wanting the informed services they offer."
“Without the overheads of a large office our growth has been accelerated meaning we’re able to expand the team and keep our prices low, we charge an average of £500 less than High Street operators.
“Taking on more agents will allow us to specialise in more specific areas of Leicestershire, we know local knowledge is important regardless of how much information can be found online.”
The Home Owners Alliance say the average fee for selling a property in Leicestershire with an online agent is £1,000 - £1,500, for High Street agents the figure rises to around £3,000. Yet online agents have faced criticism for poor sales figures and charging even if the property is not sold and that according to Adam, makes a very strong case for the hybrid agency.
He said: “Both buyers and sellers want to be able to pick up the phone at the drop of a hat and have someone on the other end that’s got all the facts and knowhow. Moving home can be a demanding process and this is where many online agents fail, they are usually based the other side of the country and will be reading notes off a screen when they speak with you.
“However, around 7 per cent of sales are made via an online agent and that figure is widely expected to rise in the coming years. We intend to embrace this change mindful that people value trust and familiarity, alongside reasonable costs.
“Our agents will work with their clients from first meeting to completion, they’ve all been in the industry for a number of years so are able to provide a service which assures both buyers and sellers. My eight years working as an estate agent have taught me there’s no room for nonchalance.”
Hortons recorded a 32-day average to find a buyer, in line with national figures according to Rightmove and a 98.3 per cent asking price average.