An Interview with The Good Estate Agent – Julie Tuckey
What made you choose estate agency as a career?
I have worked in the service industry for over 30 years, and I have become used to people doing what they say they will and delivering when they say they will. However, when comparing house moving stories with friends, it turns out we had all had similar poor experiences with estate agents over the years. We all spoke of estate agents who didn’t communicate well, where there was no feedback given following viewings, no updates on the progression of a sale, no helpful tips on how to improve the presentation of your home; plus they all seemed to overvalue properties and then encourage the seller to take a low offer.
I’ve always wanted to do something in property and after being made redundant after 15 years in my last job, I thought I would love to be an estate agent – but one with a difference, one who takes that ethos of doing and delivering on all the promises I make to my customers and making it a better experience.
Did you have any estate agency experience before joining The Good Estate Agent?
No – but I have worked in a role where service to the customer is of paramount importance. When I decided I wanted to work as an estate agent I took and successfully passed all the of the estate agency exams.
What was it about The Good Estate Agent that interested you, and persuaded you to become an agent?
I wanted to work as part of a franchise. When I came across the Good Estate Agent, I loved that they are local and are independent. They have the right ethos which is really important to me – the owner of The Good, Rob Bryer, donates 10 percent of his profits to charity and supports lots of charity events – they are certainly not your typical estate agency!
For me, it was also really important that I was supported in the beginning as I didn’t have any experience and I was able to pop into the Lympne office and get training and advice when I needed.
How have you built up your area? What marketing techniques would you recommend, for example?
I quickly discovered the importance of networking, I was invited to join the BNI which is a local organisation where you meet others in business and here I have connected with lots of great people who have recommended me to others. I get lots of repeat business through word of mouth – so doing a great job is the best marketing tool!
You also need to use a range of different marketing strategies, other than simply putting the properties on Rightmove, Zoopla etc. I advertise houses on Facebook, use leaflets and of course our “for sale” boards generate enquiries. I often do open houses – this usually generates a real buzz and for the vendor it means they only have to clean and tidy their property once thoroughly. I am a mum of two and work full time so I understand the time restraints that vendors have.
Knowing clients well is another technique; if you know what type of property suits a person or family then you can let them know when something ideal comes up.
How have you been supported by Rob, Sue, and the rest of the team?
Head office are great, the lettings manager is fantastic and our sales progressor is really on the ball. When everyone is working towards the same goal of getting the perfect house for our customers it really helps and we all support each other. I have been really lucky to work as a Good Estate Agent with such a great team.
What properties are you looking to market at the moment?
I’ve taken on a couple this week – one in Canterbury, which has four bedrooms and is right next to the city centre – it’s a great price at £355,000. The other is a super grade II listed house in Barham.
We have also just introduced The Good Short Stays. This is a where clients rent property out on a short stay basis rather than a long term tenancy. It’s a total managed service whereby we handle all the marketing, bookings and administration and you don’t have to do anything!
How do you stand out from the crowd?
I would like to think that my customers would say that they get a great personal service from me that isn’t typical of an estate agent. I am really flexible in terms of when I can come and value a property or when a customer can contact me. No one lives a Monday to Friday 9-5 life anymore, so I make myself available when it suits my customers which can mean I will carry out a valuation on Saturdays or early evening. I like to think I can respond to my customer’s needs. I am also contactable by phone sometimes until 10pm to ensure that I am communicating with buyers and sellers – often people make their decision to view a property in the evening which means they can text me their preferred dates and times to view and I can get straight on it. I don’t close the door and switch the phone off at 5.30!
Having a professional photographer is a real distinguisher as it’s always the photos that sell a property. A professional who can produce high quality shots at no extra charge is a real bonus to customers. I have learned how to market a property to its full potential in the photographs; you will never see a toilet lid up in any of my houses! To add to this, I personally handle all viewings and I make sure the house is presented beautifully before it is shown. I have high standards and treat selling each house as if it were my own.
Another great feature of The Good Estate Agent is that I don’t charge any upfront costs, I offer a really competitive rate which is only paid on completion.
Having lived in Kent for over 20 years means I have a great knowledge of the local areas and I can recommend schools or local amenities. I spend time understanding each of my customers’ needs, I build rapport to ensure that I really know what they are looking for both as a buyer and a seller. Finally, I treat people how I would like to be treated through a process which can be stressful at times; and I understand my role to alleviate as much of that stress as possible.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to become more established in Canterbury and to grow the Good Short Stays property letting side of the business. As the business expands I am seeking to build up a great team working with me who are a passionate about matching people to their dream home as I am.