Websters Shortlisted For Awards!
Websters Estate Agents have been shortlisted as a TOP 10 Estate Agent in the East of England Region of the Estate & Letting Agent Awards (THE ESTAS)
The Estate & Letting Agent Awards, better known as the ESTAS, have announced their shortlist for 2013.
The ESTAS determines the best estate/letting agents in the country through research carried out amongst customers who are asked a series of questions about the service they have received from their agent, 23,000 questionnaires were completed by customers during the competition.
Agents have been shortlisted in 18 regions around the country. The regional and national winners will be announced by Phil Spencer, the TV Property expert at the 10th annual ESTAS ceremony at the Hilton Park Lane on 19th April. Phil says “I think it says a great deal about company who’s prepared to stand up and announce to customers and competitors that they believe in providing the best possible service and they’re happy to prove it. These awards help agencies to focus on customer service levels and that’s why so many take part each year”.
“The ESTAS competition is about recognising the hard work agents put in every day, every week and month of the year” says Simon Brown who runs the national scheme. “So to be shortlisted is a great accolade for any agent”.
Charlie Webster, owner of Websters said “We are absolutely delighted to be shortlisted for the ESTAS 2012. It means so much to us as we know it’s our customers who have put us on the list. We take our levels of customer service very seriously because we know clients have a choice. We have always been very proud of the personal service we provide and this is great way to demonstrate how good we really are.”
Alex Chesterman, Founder and CEO of Zoopla Property Group said, “We’re now in our fourth year of sponsoring the ESTAS and are delighted to be once again supporting this key industry event. The collection of valuable customer feedback is essential to success in any business and rewarding those who provide the best service in the industry, as these awards do, is perfectly aligned with our business. Congratulations to all those shortlisted this year.”
'Inspired by others' - EDP Future 50 Article
Charlie Webster, director of Websters Estate Agents first became involved with the Future 50 in the class of 2009 with his first business, Albatross Villas.
His new business, Websters of Norwich, which opened last September, is high-end estate agency based on Unthank Road, selling city and country homes. "The best thing about being involved with the Future 50 has ben connecting with like-minded business owners from Mattressman to Mrs Temple," he said. "Seeing how they have built their company up from nothing to be a multi-million pound business inspires me to do the same.
"To anyone considering putting themselves forward for the class of 2012, I would say, 'go for it!'. You never know quite how well you have done in business until it is recognised by others of a higher standing.
"Being involved in the Future 50 and connecting with the elite of Norfolk Business men and women is invaluable to your company and brings a recognition of success and exposure better than any other in Norfolk.
"We have started a new business in a very competitive and poor economic and property market but over the last year we have achieved a great platform for the business to thrive on and expand to further locations in the near future.
"For the company to be selling houses in Norfolk for £2m after such a short period of time is highly encouraging that we are doing things right. We are an honest, family run, friendly and reliable estate agent - something that we, and most people we speak to, believe is a very rare thing in this corporate driven market.
"We are profitable, we are expanding our team and we look forward to the future."
Charlie defies illness to open new agency.
Estate agent Charlie Webster has always lived life at a fast pace.
At the age of 19 he was running his own overseas property business and now the young entrepreneur turned highly motivated businessman has just realised a personal ambition: opening up a new agency in Norwich’s high profile Golden Triangle.
But there’s a reason for living life in the fast lane because Norfolk born and bred Charlie, 25, knows his biggest ever challenge lies ahead in the near future.
Charlie, whose parents live in Surlingham, suffers from PSC, primary sclerosing cholangitis, a chronic liver disease caused by the inflammation and scarring of the bile ducts.
The disease means he will need a liver transplant and it forces him at times to slow down and take it easy.
And the one thing he really can’t do, not even to celebrate the opening of his new agency on Unthank Road, is to crack open a bottle of champagne because he is not allowed to drink any alcohol.
“It was when I was in my first year at Brighton university that I got really ill,” said Charlie. “I was
doing business and law and couldn’t finish the course and had to go
“It’s a progressive illness and I am on medication. At the last appointment, I was told I would need a transplant in about three-five years’ time – which is difficult to come to terms with but you just have to get on with it.”
In fact, it was the illness and returning home from university which ended in Charlie helping run his parents’ villa in Portugal.
This resulted in him forming Albatross Villas, which has gone from strength to strength, and his business acumen saw him pick up a young entrepreneur award at the EDP Business Awards in 2009. Now, after three years in planning, he has opened his new estate agency, Websters, with his wife Emma.
The former Norwich & Peterborough building society office has been transformed into a dynamic looking agency in navy blue and grey with a huge magnetic map on the wall.
And, although based in the Golden Triangle, Charlie hopes to attract properties from around the city and county, aiming for between 20-30 properties on the books.
His passion for property, enthusiasm and drive really comes across and in the first week of opening, he took on one house a day. With such a zest for life and determination to overcome all odds, Charlie Webster is all set to make his mark on the local property scene.
Charlie Webster can be contacted at Websters, 141, Unthank Road, Norwich on 01603 670646.
House prices down but activity picks up, says RICS
House prices dipped last month but activity in the housing market edged up as sellers got realistic over house prices, the RICS claimed in its latest survey.
Although still at historically depressed levels, the RICS said a ‘rebound’ in sales and buyer interest gave the survey its best reading since April 2010.
The RICS reported that the only place where house prices rose last month was London.
Completed sales rose slightly, to reach an average of 15 per surveyor (by branch) over the past three months.
However, respondents note that if buyers are able to access finance, banks are taking a long time to agree lending terms, which is slowing down the purchase process.
Brian Jackson, of Ellis & Sons, in Southport, Merseyside, said: “The number of proceedable purchases has declined to such a level that vendors are taking drastic reductions off the asking price by accepting low offers to achieve a sale.”
Mortgage lending recovers to highest in over a year
The number of mortgages lent for house purchase rose 7% in August from the month before, to reach 52,000.
The figure was up 2% on August the year before, the Council of Mortgage Lenders said.
The number of loans to first-time buyers rose 5% both from July and August last year, with 19,000 loans taken out by first-time buyers. Home movers took out 33,000 loans in August. Lending to both first-time buyers and home movers was at its highest for over a year.
Meanwhile, remortgaging activity rose sharply by 9%, with 34,100 remortgage loans advanced.
Lending criteria for both groups in August showed little change from the previous months. First-time buyers continued to put down on average 20% of their property’s value as a deposit and borrowed 3.20 times their income, slightly up from 3.17 times in July.
Typical deposits for home movers stayed at 31% for a second month but in August home movers on average paid 9.4% of their income on mortgage interest payments – the lowest since monthly records began in 2002.
Paul Smee, director general of the CML, said: “Even though it is impossible to ignore the knocks to confidence emanating from the Euro zone, August lending showed welcome signs of life.
“With those moving house experiencing a record low in the proportion of their income needed to pay their mortgage interest, it is clear that the low-rate environment is a benefit to those with mortgages, even against the backdrop of the gloom in the wider economy.”
Eurozone crisis driving London house prices crazy
The Eurozone crisis is driving property prices in central London higher and higher, Knight Frank reported today. The firm said prime London prices have risen 0.6% this month, contributing to an annual growth of 11.4%. That equates to an incredible increase of £1,117 each day over the past year. Since the credit crunch low point in March 2009, central London house prices have now risen 37.2%, and are at a record high at 4.5% more than their previous peak in March 2008.
Liam Bailey, head of residential research at Knight Frank, said the impact of European and global financial market turmoil over the past few months has pushed more buyers into the central London market.
On the demand side, the number of new buyers rose by 7% in the last three months, with viewings up by 25%, and the number of offers being made on properties higher by 24%.
Bailey said: “Sharp price rises over the past two years have not discouraged buyers from entering the market. Growth in demand is easily absorbing stock volume increases without downward pressure being placed on prices.
“Last month I pointed to low interest rates and the weak pound as the key issues driving price and demand growth at the current time – with some buyers from Asia-Pacific for example still able to benefit from an effective 25% discount on 2008 prices. In addition it is increasingly clear that the ongoing crisis in the eurozone, as well as wider global market uncertainty, is helping to support the market.
“The role of central London property acting as a safe haven investment in periods of economic turbulence has been confirmed by the fact that the recent growth in purchases has been overwhelmingly driven by international buyers, with domestic buyers now accounting for only 45% of the central London market, compared to 51% 12 months ago.
“As the market has moved into new peak pricing territory, we have been watching very closely to see whether there is evidence of purchaser resistance to these new levels. It appears that buyer concerns over alternative investment opportunities and the potential impact of European and global economic turmoil is trumping any concerns over the sustainability of property prices in London at the current time.”
Agents offices hit by riots
Estate agents in riot-hit parts of London are counting the cost as their offices came under ferocious attack at the weekend and, in particular on Monday night.
Last night, agents could do little to to protect their premises in other city centres where trouble flared and properties and cars were torched, including Manchester, Salford, Nottingham, Birmingham and Liverpool. Among firms whose branches in London have been vandalised are Barnard Marcus, Countrywide, Foxtons, haart, Winkworth and Felicity J Lord. Damage includes smashed windows, doors and interiors, whilst looters have stolen computers. Some offices remain shut and boarded up, including Winkworth's Tottenham office. As a precaution, Connells closed its offices yesterday in London at Tooting and Thornton Heath amid fears of fresh rioting. Its Barnard Marcus office in Battersea managed to open, albeit late, after rioters broke in on Monday night, and its Ealing branch was also damaged.
Lee Hinds, assistant manager at the Battersea office, told EAT: “Rioters kicked the door through and then ransacked the office. We came in to find everything strewn around. “We cleaned up the office and fixed the door. We opened later than normal, but we’re here for business, although a number of our late evening appointments have been re-arranged. In terms of damage, we fared better than Courtenay, an independent agent just along the road from us, which has had to be completely boarded up. The nearby branch of Featherstone Leigh was also targeted.”