The good times keep rolling for Norwich

These are good times to be involved in local estate agency. The Norfolk housing scene is undergoing major and exciting changes against a backdrop of strong ongoing sales of traditional period properties, dramatic growth in new-build and, increasingly, conversion of old industrial buildings to character housing.

These are good times to be involved in local estate agency. The Norfolk housing scene is undergoing major and exciting changes against a backdrop of strong ongoing sales of traditional period properties, dramatic growth in new-build and, increasingly, conversion of old industrial buildings to character housing.

A record number of agents now operate in Norwich and the county, offering sellers and buyers an unprecedented choice. That means the marketplace is increasingly competitive, but vendors should research carefully the services agents are offering before making a final choice on who should sell their home, invariably their most valuable asset.

Go-ahead agencies are adapting to changing times, not only in how they go about their day-to-day work, but also where they position themselves in the marketplace.

A good example of repositioning involves the young but growing Norwich agency Gilson Bailey & Partners, based in Prince of Wales Road. Now celebrating a decade in business, it started off in a modest way selling terraced homes in the Golden Triangle and has since broadened its operations to take in properties in most price sectors throughout the city and within a 15-mile radius.


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Run by hands-on directors Simon Nisbet, Stuart Baird and Donna Barrett-Smith, and a dedicated sales team, the agency offers seven day a week opening - to 8pm Mondays to Thursdays - and also provides a full 10am-4pm Sunday service to include valuations by a director.

“We are proud of the personal service we have provided over the past 10 years and feel this has been repaid in the amount of repeat business we are asked to carry out,” says Simon. “People we sold homes to in the early days are still coming back to us, although it is now 10 years on. Personal recommendation is one of the nicest ways to pick up business and makes all our hard work worthwhile.”

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He and his fellow directors are well aware of the need to change as the market evolves, which is why Gilson Bailey's involvement as joint selling agent in Norwich's latest conversion project is a totally new departure for the firm (see above).

“Although the market is still price sensitive, we are achieving very good results and increasing our sales and instructions month-on-month to record levels, since the beginning of the year,” he adds. Well-presented terraced houses in north Norwich, the city's Golden Triangle and Thorpe Hamlet continue to attract keen buyers if realistically priced.

Simon Nisbet adds: “We are generally very happy with how the market is performing and are achieving close to asking price on most of the properties we are handling.

“However, some newer agents locally are cutting fees to around one per cent, which we simply cannot match and still give our regular level of service.

“We do not believe you can provide a quality service to vendors, in terms of marketing and advertising, for fees as low as one per cent. As a rule you get what you pay for, and the same applies in residential estate agency.”

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