- You have been the Head at The Hawthorns for 7 years now and can you tell me what you have enjoyed the most?
Watching children thrive, cooperate and compete at School. It is always a privilege to support families and see children reach their potential. Meeting past pupils at senior schools and hearing their fondness for their experience at The Hawthorns is especially rewarding.
- Have you always worked within the education sector?
Almost! I grew up in a prep school as a son of a Prep Head. My brother is also a Head of a prep school. But I did manage to escape and run a bar in a restaurant in Oxford for a year!
- In your opinion, what unique educational opportunities does Reigate and the surrounding area offer children?
I think that the space and transport links to London allow both working parents and children to benefit from the local area, where we are fortunate to see so many superb independent schools thrive.
Outside of school learning, how else does our local area enhance family life and why is it a great location to raise young children? Space and sport spring to mind. I suspect children benefit greatly from the space we have here in Surrey and the wonderful sporting clubs around us. They help families to socialise and come together.
- The Hawthorns School has students from the age of 2 to 13 – what would you say the benefit is for children to attend a school with this system?
I am passionate about our children enjoying a proper childhood for as long as possible. Our Upper School (12 and 13-year olds) isn’t awash with screens and the culture of a proper, outdoorsy, active childhood remains the norm. Our 12 and 13-year-old children become accustomed to the duty of responsibility and trusted with the privilege of seniority, developing confidence and self-esteem. They settle quickly into their senior schools and I often find that they make better use of the opportunities available to them there. Children in younger years benefit increasingly as they move up the school because of the influence and contribution made to school life by our 12 and 13-year olds. Who, in turn, benefit from the interactions that occurs between them and the younger children. On the other hand, we are proud of all our children’s achievements both at 11+ and 13+, and seeing 30% gain scholarships at both ages is always gratifying.
- With the introduction of your ‘Forest School’, you encourage children to learn outdoors during school hours. How can local families continue this type of learning across the weekend? Are there particular locations in the area that you would recommend visiting with this in mind?
The British Wildlife Centre and Surrey and Kent Wildlife Trusts provide wonderful opportunities to explore wildlife and nature. The National Trust woods near Outwood and in the surrounding area are all worthy of time walking the dog with the children and enjoying a pub lunch! During school holidays, The Hawthorns regularly offers a Woodland Bushcraft Camp for children to enjoy.
- How does the wider community benefit from the excellent facilities onsite at the school?
I am keen that The Hawthorns is connected with the local community and it is great that we can lend our facilities to local state schools and various clubs to use after the school day and at the weekend, as well as running a local Sports Centre. During the school holidays we use the School’s facilities to provide holiday camps and specialist courses that welcome children from all over the local area.
- As part of your school aims, you state that you strive to foster a sense of social responsibility in your pupils and aim to engage with and contribute to the local community through a variety of projects and activities. Can you tell me some more about the community-focused initiatives you have been involved with recently?
This is an important area and I am delighted that last term was busy with fundraising activities. Each year on Founders’ Day, children work in houses to raise funds for World Vision, a charity that supports the education of children who might not otherwise be able to go to school. Both Harvest Festival and Christmas are a time to be thankful. Children worked with Age Concern to send hampers to local vulnerable adults and made significant donations to local foodbanks through Loveworks and St Matthew’s. Cake sales raised money for Children in Need and mufti days for Young Minds and Save the Children. We are hoping to be able to reinstate Hawthorns Heroes next term, where in the past children have helped to tidy grass verges in Bletchingley Village, created sibling packs for a neonatal unit and washed cars to raise money.
As your house is your home, our company is our staff. Here at Hound and Porter, we define ourselves by the team we employ and strive to find the perfect people to help you with your search. Anthony has been with us for nearly two months now, but we have known him locally for a number of years. We are delighted to welcome him to the Hound and Porter team.
Anthony was born in East Surrey Hospital, so his roots are very firmly in the area. His love and interest in property started at an early age; his first memory of childhood is driving past an abandoned house with his family and asking his parents if he could buy it. Prior to Hound and Porter, he worked in renovation and was a well-known and well-loved general manager of Bill’s in Reigate. A local man himself, his genuine enthusiasm for the area and knowledge of Reigate is impressive. If you want to know the best independent restaurant or where to find those off-the-beaten-path dog walks, Anthony is your man.
Anthony first met founder Chris when he used to bring the Hound and Porter team into Bill’s for team breakfast. A friendship was quickly formed and according to Anthony, he loved seeing the Hound and Portercamaraderie during their breakfast meetings, how well Chris looked after his team and the mutual respect they all had for each other; qualities we in turn, constantly strive to emulate with clients. According to Anthony “Chris doesn’t ‘sell you the dream’, he sells you the perfect home.”
When not at work, you will often find Anthony walking his beloved cockapoo, Tilly, atop Reigate Hill – a place that offers breathtaking views of the area, as well as a welcome coffee at Junction 8. Or you may find him having dinner at his favourite local restaurant Regional Thai, a fantastic independent on Reigate’s high street. He also rather admirably, manages an under-18 football team at Dorking Wanderers. He’s a man with many strings to his bow.
To know Anthony is to know a man of genuine warmth, character and attention to detail, who thinks with clarity and is a natural problem-solver. According to Anthony, he saw attributes in our company which we in turn, see in him. Through care and honesty, he strives to break the traditional estate agency mould to ensure clients find that perfect property. He has the ability to unpack the most complex of problems and elegantly and carefully deliver them back to clients. Nothing is too big a deal for Anthony and his genuine enthusiasm for his job and hugely likeable nature, make him a perfect fit for Hound and Porter.
Anthony’s top tip for clients is to go in with an open mind and be open to suggestion. He will be closely working alongside Chris and India. Welcome Anthony!
We have put together a few pointers on using your lockdown time to present your home as best as possible for hitting the market as soon as we can!
- Research and choose your agent
Call them and tell them of your intentions in the coming months, and build a rapport with them. Relationships are key and if you can get a head start, now is the time to do it!
- Engage with a financial advisor
Working out your maximum affordability now and providing all the paperwork will save lots of time once you find the home you want to purchase, Now is a good time to research what the most competitive rates there are, out in the market and depending on the product you might be able to get an agreement in principle.
- Engage with a recommended solicitor
Getting legally prepared now when you have more time on your hands will save stress later. Organising all your paperwork, including service charge accounts and leases (for flats), any planning permissions or building control certificates if you’ve had an extension etc. All these things will aid a smooth transaction in the long run
First impressions are really important and often potential buyers can’t see past your personal belongings. Use the opportunity to focus on the key rooms in your home, for example the kitchen, lounge, and master bedroom.
- A lick of paint?
If you have a lived in-house you may like to consider some elements of redecorating. Over the next few weeks, each room at a time, could be done. We would always recommend using neutral colours. So if your children’s bedrooms have been painted bright pink, choose a neutral colour to appeal to a wider market.
- Gardens are more important now than ever before
As all of us are staying at home, our outside spaces have become our only piece of outside enjoyment! So your garden has become a very important extension of your home, Tidy and remove rubbish (or have it all set aside to dispose of once you can) In the summer people will expect to see the garden at its best!
MEET THE TEAM: INDIA GREGG, ASSOCIATE AT HOUND & PORTER
1. Hi India, can you talk us through your previous experience in the property industry?
“I started out in the industry in August 2007, where I joined Cubitt & West after I had been a manager in a restaurant. I had a desire to find something new, to find a role in a sector where I felt I could develop and grow. Working in property seemed very natural to me, as my father had been in the industry for many years.
“My first position for the company was as a Trainee Negotiator, and then I successfully worked my way up to become a Marketing Consultant. In 2013, I had my first child and then went back to work part-time, however Chris [Nathan, Founder of Hound & Porter] made contact with me and asked if would become a Regional Trainer for his specified region at Cubitt & West. This was a great opportunity but unfortunately one I couldn’t carry on with, as I had another child and I chose to give up work for a few years to focus on my young family.
“Recently, Chris got back in touch and offered me a new flexible role at Hound & Porter, which could work well alongside being a mum. It’s great to use my experience and expertise to help grow this new business – it really was an offer I couldn’t refuse!”
2. Can you tell us more about your role at Hound & Porter? What does a typical day look like for you?
“My role at Hound & Porter is really varied and exciting. For me, it’s not only about building relationships with local businesses and prospective buyers, but also that I remain informed about what is happening in the market and the local community.
“As a small team, we always ensure that we focus on our customers and suppliers’ – making sure we reach the highest standard.
“A typical day involves following up appointments and valuations and gaining feedback from clients on viewings. It’s also all part of our service to keep in touch with house-hunting clients and research into finding the right property for them.”
3. In your opinion, what makes Hound & Porter stand out as a new estate agency?
“At Hound & Porter, there is huge belief in the branding. The relentless hound and the dedicated porter make us stand out as an estate agency with a personal touch. Buying and selling homes can be one of the most stressful situations to deal with, and we are ready to navigate through any issues that may arise.
“We’re also innovative and always keeping up with the ever-changing industry. We have a homely hub on the high street for us to engage with clients, and we’re also flexible by being open on Sundays.”
4. You’re a working mum, how important would you say a work/life balance is to Hound & Porter and to the workplace as a whole?
“Very. Chris is a family man himself and approached me knowing that I am a mum and was confident that I would fit in well with the style of his new business. The flexibility and fairness of the workplace is changing, and Hound & Porter have incorporated this amongst their whole strategy for the company.”
5. Hound & Porter are based in Reigate, why is this a great place to invest in a property?
“Reigate is super accessible, with great commutability aspects. Residents are only a 40-minute commute into Central London, and the town is near to the M25, A25 and Gatwick Airport.
“There is also lots of investment in development in the area, with the expanding high street and restaurants. Additionally, Reigate’s appeal also comes from the fact it is a bustling town with access to lots of green space, combining busy city life and the tranquillity of the countryside.”
6. Why is Reigate great for families?
“Alongside the rolling hills and stunning countryside, there is so much going on in Reigate. Whilst it’s country-setting enables it to be perfect for outside sport and dog walking, Reigate always embraces seasonal activities, with the Priory Park Open Air Cinema in the summer and an ice rink at Christmas time. Reigate is also known for its great range of schools and variety of clubs for children to get involved in.”
Residents of Surrey could not be more fortunate to be surrounded by rolling hills and beautiful countryside – providing ample opportunity for a relaxing walk alongside all furry friends. Recently, Dan, better known as @walkfishuk on Instagram had a quick break from taking images of stunning scenery and sat down with us at Hound & Porter to talk about all things dog walking in the local area.
Q: Hi Dan. Firstly, why do you think it is important for us to get out and about with man’s best friend?
A: I think for many reasons, but the fitness aspect is crucial as a good bracing walk through the hills provides a great cardiovascular and muscle work out. The more energetic your dog, the more you walk and the fitter you will get. My dog, Bear has bundles of energy, so he keeps me on my toes. The exercise is also good for letting off steam on the weekend after a long week at work.
In addition, I think that just being outside, engaging with other friendly dog walkers and seeing the natural beauty of the countryside boosts your mood and allows you to see all things in a positive light.
Q: So,what is it that makes Surrey great for dog walking?
A: Surrey appears to be unlimited with places to walk with Bear. We both like to explore so I am always looking for new places to go and even after two years, I’m still discovering more hidden gems all the time.
Many of the best spots incorporate the North Downs Way. The North Downs way is a National Trail that stretches from Farnham, Surrey to the White Cliffs of Dover, well known for its scenic paths and great views across the downs, some parts are quite hilly so can take a bit of an effort but very worth it.
Along the North Downs Way, you will find popular spots such as Box Hill, Ranmore Common, Denbies Wine Estate, Gatton Park and Titsey Hill. But you still shouldn’t be restricted to this as Surrey is awash with scenic places to take dogs, including Esher Common, Virginia Water, Epsom Downs, Banstead Common, Farthing Downs, Godstone, Oxted, Limpsfield… I could go on!
Q: What are your favourite spots near Reigate?
Reigate is full of places to walk your dogs including one of my favourites, the National Trust’s Reigate Hill and Gatton Park, a series of kept paths including a small section of the North Downs Way. The great views, cafe and free parking make this a popular spot, so it’s a fun place for sociable dogs. For the more adventurous, Reigate Heath is an excellent option – although one must be wary of golfers!
It is also worth noting that nearby in Mogador is Banstead Heath. This area contains a fantastic dog-friendly pub, ‘The Sportsman’ which always manages to pull the perfect pint after a long, brisk walk.
If you would like to find out more about Chris’ tips and recommendations, please contact our friendly team at Hound & Porter for impartial advice on 01737 317 880.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – and where better to celebrate and get prepared for the busy festive season ahead than Reigate, a town full of cosy, country charm and a great array of shops and eateries.
On Reigate High Street, Christmas shopping becomes the simplest of tasks. With big names such as Jo Malone London, Space NK, Mint Velvet and White Stuff, each shopper will find a present for everyone on their list. Late night shopping also takes place on the 12thof December, allowing that extra time for those who need it.
Reigate also contains an exceptional mix of eateries, where residents can catch up with friends over the festive period or share a special meal with loved ones. For example, La Barbe on Bell Street is a popular choice at Christmastime, as it is heralded for its delicious December menu. However, Skimmington Castle is also an excellent choice for a Christmas meal, as it is known to be royalty amongst the pubs of Reigate. Located away from the hustle and bustle on Reigate Heath, the ‘Skim’ contains a dining room with a warm fireplace, the perfect spot to enjoy the pub’s selection of real ales and fine wines this winter.
Furthermore, the annual Reigate Christmas Fayre takes place each year towards the end of November or the beginning of December. This year, Santa truly came to town at the Fayre as he arrived by helicopter and landed in Priory Park, much to the delight of all children.
Reigate on Ice is also a brilliant event and is happening this year until the 4thof January 2020. Under a big top marquee in Priory Park, Reigate locals can enjoy a special skating experience alongside other fun attractions, all whilst make those special festive memories with family.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us at Hound & Porter – we’ll be enjoying all that the winter wonderland of Reigate has to offer!
- DE-CLUTTER & TIDY
The most cost-effective way to dress your home is to de-clutter and tidy, to give the impression of a spacious and cared for home. Do this before you have your photos taken. Consider circulation space at viewings; if space is tight, move some pieces of furniture into a different spot, or into storage. If you are short on time, arrange for a packing service for a third of your items – if it’s likely you will be using one on moving day why not plan ahead.
Make sure you keep some personal objects on show. Carefully curated, these give the impression of a loved and lived in home, plus they help to draw peoples’ eyes towards any key features. A good rule of thumb is to organise objects in groups of three, like a vase of fresh flowers, a treasured photo and an ornament from your holiday. Don’t worry about items co-ordinating exactly; a loved & lived in home looks like it’s evolved over the years. We love the William Morris quote “Have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”
- INVITING LUXURY
The quality of your home will reassure potential buyers, so set the scene to highlight your homes’ advantages, remembering the devil is in the detail. A sun filled spot maximised with an armchair and a plumped cushion, alongside a side table with a good book, table lamp and feature mirror on the wall to bounce the light around. A traditional fireplace could be highlighted by a collection of vases or candles on it and a statement piece of art over. Don’t forget the view onto the garden; even a few seasonally planted pots will look fantastic.
- A TOUCH OF PAINT
Fresh coats of paint work absolute wonders to give a clean, fresh appeal to your home. If there are any rooms that feel particularly dated in their colour choice, or a bit worn, then consider painting the room. Don’t scrimp on the number of coats applied – a quality finish will give that sense of luxury throughout the home. Be brave with colour as the correct shade can enhance a space immeasurably. When choosing, consider the room’s orientation – for example, a south facing room can take a bolder colour choice.
Good quality lighting makes such a huge difference so start by turning your lights on for viewings! A mix of high, mid and low-level lighting adds atmosphere. Make the most of the lighting you have by changing your lightbulbs to a warm white (2700+ kelvin), which will make any room instantly more attractive and cosier. Then add low level lighting where you can – a few floor or table lamps give a soft homely glow. Try placing a lamp on a bookshelf so the corner of a room doesn’t feel too dark, to make the room appear larger.
- INVEST IN PROFESSIONAL ADVICE
If all this seems too time consuming or out of your comfort zone, it may be worth investing in professional interior design advice.
Thank you to Hannah Darrall and Kat Briggs, co-founders of Design Twenty Five Ltd, for this article.
REIGATE: MY 20-YEAR PERSPECTIVE
Q: Hi Chris. From focussing your work on Reigate over the long period of 20 years, what are the most positive changes you have witnessed?
For me personally, I think it has to be the significant improvement of the High Street. In recent years, we have seen a range of up-market retailers make their mark on Reigate, starting with United Colours of Benetton, then Sweaty Betty and Space NK, and eateries such as Cote Brasserie. This investment has been fuelled by more people making the move from South West London to Surrey over the last 20 years, engaging in a family-life in the peaceful countryside but only adding 40 minutes onto their commute into the city.
Q: In terms of the property market in Reigate, can you expand on the changes that you have seen over the course of your career?
When I first began working in Reigate, a two-bedroom terraced cottage would have been priced between £125,000 and £130,000 – now, this would cost the prospective buyer around £500,000. It is no secret that there has been a dramatic rise in property prices since the early 2000’s with many people flocking to the commuter belt rather than central London itself. During this time, young people who owned small city-based properties set out to Surrey to invest in a larger property for a lower price.
Q: Why is Reigate a great place to buy a property?
Reigate is an excellent choice of location that simply cannot be beaten in many areas. A rural and picturesque market town in the Surrey Hills, Reigate also has exceptional transport links – it is only a 40-minute journey into London Victoria, and from most properties you can drive onto the M25 within 10 minutes. However, even with the city so close, Reigate still maintains a close-knit community feel.
Additionally, I always try to emphasise to my customers the variety of property available in the area. This makes Reigate a great spot for any house-hunter, as it offers anything from a trendy one-bedroom apartment to a grand detached country home.
Q: Drawing on your past experience, what would you say the future holds for Reigate?
In my opinion, in the long-term Reigate would benefit from a bypass. As the A25 runs straight through Reigate Town Centre, this can cause congestion on the High Street if there are issues on the M25 and create difficulties for local residents. This would also greatly enhance property prices in the area, making right now an ideal time to invest in a property in Reigate.
I have also talked previously about the fantastic investment in Reigate’s High Street, and I feel that this is only going to improve further. Due to Reigate’s prime location, high-end retailers are bound to see the benefit of gaining a spot in this exclusive position.
The day is finally here, the boxes are packed, and you are about to move into the house of your dreams – but unfortunately, there always seems to be a lot of hassle involved. Here, Chris Nathan, Founder of Hound & Porter is pleased to offer five top tips on how to simplify the stress of the move.
1) IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS
On a big day like today, the list of little but crucial tasks can sometimes be overlooked. Rather than constantly thinking ‘have I remembered to empty to the fridge?’ or ‘did I take out those last rubbish bags?’ make a key list to give yourself that peace of mind, knowing that everything will get done. This can also help you to prioritise your time and remain organised whilst avoiding a last-minute rush.
2) CONSIDER YOUR PETS
As the owner of two miniature German schnauzers, I know that prioritising your pets is of paramount importance. Whilst it is advised to arrange for them to be kept with friends, family or in a kennel throughout the move, sometimes this isn’t always possible. If you have to keep them with you, choose a room or location where your dog can stay safe whilst the move is happening to prevent any distress.
Moreover, it is also a worthwhile suggestion to save the dog’s bedding and toys to be packed last. Whilst the presence of familiar toys is comforting, it is also wise to not wash bedding until a couple of weeks after the move, so a recognisable scent is still present in the new home.
3) A MOVING ‘ESSENTIALS’ BAG
Up to a week prior to the move, prepare a “moving essentials” bag which will have everything you need for moving day and the following few days after. This can be filled up with anything from important documents and phone chargers, through to toiletries and medication.
Keep this in your car or another quiet designated place – this will help to avoid the problem of it being accidentally packed up in a mountain of boxes.
4) A FINAL CLEAN
At this point, the deep clean should have already been completed, but it is good practice to leave out a few standard cleaning supplies for any unexpected mess.
Whilst a dustpan and brush and cleaning wipes should be all you need, also ensure to keep this in a safe place so it is not packed away by mistake. Once the boxes are all out and the house is empty, any untidy spots can be tackled efficiently.
5) ONE LAST WALK THROUGH
When all is packed up and ready to go, make sure to do a final walk through of your former home. Keep this brief but try your best to spot anything that you may have left behind, as this could be difficult to get back. Open all cabinets, closets and drawers to make sure nothing has been forgotten.
Currently, the average person will move to a new house eight times in their lifetime, with approximately only six years between each move.1 Therefore, it’s important to get to grips with the routine and practice of moving day, making each experience as organised and as stress-free as possible.
The job title, ‘estate agent’ comes with a lot of baggage, and this is something estate agent of 30 years, Chris Nathan knows all too well. This is why he has decided to launch a completely different estate agency which challenges the clichés and norms that Reigate homeowners might expect. Hound and Porter is a completely new breed estate agent which is putting dedicated service, experience and in-depth local knowledge at the centre of its ethos. Chris provides 24-hour access to speak directly to him, and he is ready to share his little black book of local experts – comprising a ‘who’s who’ of RH1 and RH2; all of which is designed to ensure you’re in complete control when making one of life’s biggest decisions.
What makes Hound & Porter stand out from the many other estate agents in Reigate is the personal touch. This experience starts with the name of the business. ‘Hound’ is in the name because it conjures up the image of a hunting dog – relentlessly searching for great homes with an energetic and committed attitude. ‘Porter’ refers to having a concierge mind-set which is always professional, informed and diligent.
Of course, Chris knows a big hurdle for many people using an estate agent is cutting-through the jargon. This is why Hound & Porter says it promises neverto use the following 10 estate agent clichés:
- Viewing recommended
Chris Nathan comments:“You won’t hear us reel-off lots of superlatives to try to sell a house. Our focus is about helping people move home. We’re determined to shatter those preconceptions and myths about estate agents. One of our strongest beliefs is that the people who come to us about one home should keep coming back whenever they move. And the way we build up that relationship is by being personable and passionate about what we do and above all, professional.”
Chris adds:“We want to be known for making things happen. I’ve no doubt that my career in the British Army means that the values of respect, diligence and tenacity have informed that type of business I want to create. We’re committed to being known as the people who are true to their word and do what they say they’re going to do.”
Hound and Porter is also challenging expectations with a service which offers a central Reigate business suite on Castle Walk – for when you might need a base to do multiple viewings in one day or a base on moving day itself, or a place to meet with local professionals who can help with conveyancing, mortgages or even school applications. Homes will be marketed using ‘virtual tour’ technology when you want to do another viewing but haven’t got the time. And on moving day, Chris and his team will provide a personal moving-home pack with the essentials you need, especially when there’s so much else to think about.
On his vast knowledge for the area, Chris comments:“It’s an exciting time to be launching Hound & Porter in Reigate – we have destination shops such Jo Malone and M&S Food, and specialist shops such as Sweaty Betty and Space NK (coming soon) – all of which make it an energetic and vibrant high street, defying national retail trends. Reigate is also helped by the fact that it’s so close to the M25, it has fast access to London from Redhill, plus it’s also obviously a beautiful, historic market town with its medieval castle, and there’s a good choice of Independent and State schools – but anyone can gather that knowledge. We will offer those extra insights such as where does the best Sunday lunch, where to walk the dog, and where to go for a special night out.”
With more than 20-years experience of selling houses, Chris Nathan wants to provide an alternative to online-only competitors
When it comes to looking for a new home, where is the first place that most people search?
Is it looking at what homes have for sale signs outside? Or is it popping down to your local estate agent to see what’s displayed in the window?
Maybe once that might have been the case but not any more.
With the housing market rapidly changing to keep up with the ever-growing demands of the modern world, you can search and view available properties with just the click of a button.
And with many online-only estate agents, you can even book a viewing all without having to speak to single human being.
But when it comes to making such a massive life decision like buying a house, the personal touch is still as important as it’s ever been.
Chris Nathan, the director of Reigate’s newest estate agent, Hound and Porter, knows exactly what it takes to support someone through the process of buying and selling property.
He wants to combine the competitive rates of an online estate agent with the personal touch of a high street one.
Why did Chris set up Hound & Porter?
The 50-year-old estate agent has been in the business for nearly 30 years but it was not a career he had planned to pursue.
Having been in the military for six years, Chris left at the age of 22 and by his own admission, fell into estate agency.
Almost three decades later, he felt the time was right to branch out on his own.
He said: “A lot of people say that Brexit has killed the market and that it’s on its knees, but I think that where there is uncertainty, there is opportunity.
“Why is it not the right time to sell your property? It’s the right time if you find the right buyer. A lot of people are still looking.”
Where is Hound & Porter located?
Well, it’s not a premises per se, but rather an exciting new hybrid concept.
With an office located on the high street, it’s all completely set up as you would expect of a traditional estate agents for customers to come in and talk to a real person.
But not having a high street shop means that Chris can offer highly-competitive fees for those looking to sell.
He said: “I can be competitive with rates but provide excellent service as I don’t have so many overheads as the high street.
“You get the complete service that you’d get with a high-street agent. You get brochures, advertising, virtual tours, professional photography, floorplans.
“Just ring me and I’ll show you around. You’ll get feedback, I’ll negotiate offers, I’ll see it through to completion.”
What will Hound and Porter bring to Reigate?
Straight-talking Chris is very keen to tailor his service so that it works for every customer individually, more bespoke than you can expect to find on the high street.
He said: “When you sign up with an online agency, any customer can come and look at your house, you don’t know who they are.
“You wouldn’t invite a complete stranger into your house because of the dangers surrounding it.”
Chris added: “We’re a trustworthy business. I want to help people and build relationships.
“I’m hoping to shake your hand, turn up at your house with a nice box of moving in stuff and hope you use us again.”
Chris thinks honesty is very important in his industry. He is very matter of fact about this.
He said: “I’m honest, you might not agree with what I say but you’re going to get professional honesty.”
So will Hound & Porter go the extra mile?
Chris said he wants to build a network of reliable contacts who could assist homeowners.
He said: “Whether it’s a carpenter or architect, the brand I’m building is to have reputable partners.”
And being someone that’s worked in the local area for quite some time, Chris will offer his local knowledge to those moving to the area.
He said: “I can tell you where to go for a good coffee, where to walk your dog, the best gyms and health clubs, I can tell you.”
Not wanting to limit his service to a nine to five, Chris is keen to offer hours that are suitable for his customers.
He said: “I won’t be restricted by opening hours, that’s crazy.
“Most business men and women want Sunday hours but most estate agents are closed. I’ll have hours that suit the public, not hours to suit me.
“Whether you ring me at 7.30 in the morning or 8.30 at night, I’ll always be here to help.”
What are the benefits for househunters?
Ensuring that his business caters to the busy lifestyles of his customers, the Hound and Porter website will include virtual tours.
With the help of some very high-tech software, house viewings can be done online before you view the property for real.
You can view the property as though you were there yourself. This is also very handy for second viewings or for when you need to show someone else.
Chris said: “If you come and view a property and you love it but your partner is working, by the time that you both get a chance to view it, it’s possible you would lose the house.
“Instead, you can view the house on a virtual tour.”
Does Chris have any tips for those looking to sell?
For the best chance of selling, Chris does have some advice.
He said: “Firstly, I very much look at the moving process as a partnership between agent and customer, so it’s important that the customer completely trusts what I, as the agent, advises.
“Secondly, showcasing! Good imagery is critical, I always recommend an open house launch where we can invite all prospective buyers over on a weekend therefore minimising the disruption to the home, so working with the customer and photographer is imperative.”
How can I find out more?
If you’re thinking of selling your home, get in touch with Chris to find out how he and his team at Hound and Porter can help.
With no direct opening hours, he’s always at the end of the phone ready to take your call.
ARTICLE PUBLISHED ON SURREY LIVE – WITH THANKS
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