Meet the man behind Hound & Porter
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