Jameson and Partners are not yet another Estate Agency; they intend to redefine the property services market in every way imaginable. Jameson and Partners are your local property advice center specializing in period restoration, refurbishment, investment, project management, block management and HMO. They also offer in-house legal and financial advice services. By creating a more intuitive, customer-orientated business they hope to be a breath of fresh air in the local property market.
North West Business Life meet up with Jennifer Jameson to find out more
Q: It’s 1 month since you opened doors – how’s the 1st month gone on?
Our first month has been fantastic we have made some wonderful connections and have received a very warm welcomed from the local community. We appeared in numerous publications throughout the Cheshire region and have forged many contacts who we are looking forward to working alongside. We were winning sale and rental instructions since the first day of opening, and aim to transform the property industry and prove that the stigma of Estate Agents and poor Agency practice does not apply to Jameson and Partners Ltd. We have a passion for property and as a team all have a different field of expertise to bring to the office, once collaborated it is the perfect concoction.
Q: You realised the importance of working with local businesses from the outset. Local is really important to you isn’t it?
Supporting local business and putting money back into the area is a big part of Jameson and Partners’ ethos. We love Trafford, and realise it has been a tough few years for smaller businesses, we just want to work together with local people and business to help make things easier. We wish to play a leading role in restoring the towns and villages of Trafford and surround to their former glory. The South East of England sees so much investment and the North West has been somewhat neglected in comparison; we just want these beautiful areas and the great people who work here to make the most of what we have and by working as one force we can engender amazing transformations in our communities.
Having moved up from London a few years back, one of the things I love most about the North West is that sense of community and how friendly and helpful local people are. This sense of helping your community has been lost in the fight for success in the big city, but if we nurture this as we grow, we will be far stronger and happier as a business and residential community. We engender these principles in every choice we make and always use only local businesses for all our needs.
We also work closely with CAFT, this charity does some unbelievable work for children with special needs, they do not get enough credit for how hard they work. We very much look forward to getting more involved in our first year of trading and hope that the other businesses in the community support us and join in. I am also plan to host local conservation society meetings in the office to keep the local community up-to-date with planning schemes. We will provide a base for meetings and a voice through which a message can be communicated to and from the local council.
Q: Tell us about your background – it’s not estate agency is it? You’re coming at it from a different angle?
Prior to founding Jameson and Partners Ltd, I began life as an Architect. I studied at UCL, in London, then travelled to Sydney, Australia, to complete my studies and gain my initial experience. After working in interior design and Architecture I moved to Manchester on a temporary basis, initially as a trial (I was not sure Northern life would be for me). I took a job in an estate agency, and loved it! I quickly realized that this was a field which was massively underserved and had gained an unfortunate reputation. This is in part due to the lack of compulsory qualifications and the limited industry regulation. As I was an outsider I could see the short-falls clearly and realized that customers felt that they did not receive value for money and that most estate agents tend to be glorified sales men (which is often true). I was able to advise on the structural integrity of property being purchase and advice vendors on necessary repairs which would save a fall through at survey. I found a huge amount of job satisfaction in assisting investors, first time buyers and home movers in maximizing on their assets and making informed decisions. The only thing holding me back was working for someone else. Therefore, I spent a few years gaining a more rounded view of this industry and head out on my own to turn this industry on its head!
Q: You’re women in a male dominated industry. What challenges does that present?
We are a positive and progressive organization and as such focus only on our advantages. We see being something different as a huge advantage. Women tend to be more intuitive and understanding of individual needs, therefore, it surprises me that this industry has for so long been male dominated.
Men tend to be more commission hungry and can be very aggressive for a sale. While we see the human behind the house and will empathise with their needs and guide them through the process of buying, selling or renovating their home. We have a broad spectrum of design and management knowledge and take a more holistic approach to the task.
As you will be aware, it tends to be a female who makes the decision that the house is suitable as a home, or unsuitable. Having both a feminine eye for décor and the structural knowledge to ensure the house is in a safe and sturdy condition will mean we can cover all angles.
We are all passionate about what we do and love all aspects of property; from the history of a property, to the interior design. We understand that house is more than bricks and mortar, we realize it is a childhood home, with so many memories; or a first home for a young couple; a place to spend retirement, with space for the grandchildren to play. Jameson and Partners Ltd are that agent that will work through the night and be on call to support and talk to all our customers no matter what. We take the time to get to know all of our clients, so that we have complete understanding of their requirements and can perfectly match the people to the property.
I fully understand that is seems challenging to fight the stereotypical estate agent, but I am ready to take this challenge and brave the way for the future and change people’s perception.
Q: So Estate Agents – crowded market – what do you do differently? You’ve said you’re not “another Estate Agency; we intend to redefine the property services market in every way imaginable”. What’s your USP?
We are here to offer true value for money. For buyers and sellers, we will advise on renovation work required; redecoration advised and the potential to add value through extension or alteration of a property. For landlords, we can spot where a rental has been underperforming, we can oversee the modernization and remarketing of the property on any given budget.
Your average agency will merely snatch up any property and throw it at the market; then allow the buyer to fight their own way through the complex maze of progression. This often leads to either the realization that the house requires expensive undisclosed repairs, or the chain falls through due to another link in the chain having similar problems. Those who are selling or buying with ourselves won’t have those nasty surprises, we will ensure everyone is fully informed and the process is carefully managed by ourselves.
Q: You’re specialising in period restoration and refurbishment. Not many are going this niche – is the business following the passion?
Yes, the business concept stems from a passion for beautiful and generally neglected period properties. For me period restoration is like nurturing a bird with a broken wing back to health and seeing it fly again. With a house which has so much history imbedded in its walls, I feel it is so sad when it has been left uncared for. And even more sad, when it falls into the wrong hands and it is stripped of all its original character. For this reason, I have made it a small part of my mission to rescue as many properties as I can. I see it as preserving fragments of the past. Truly original Victorian and Edwardian houses are becoming increasingly rare and they will for this reason increase in value if their true character is maintained. Of course, these properties are not suitable for everyone, if you have a busy lifestyle and a young family perhaps your preference is for a more modern property. I entirely appreciate this. The job of a good estate agency is to identify the correct property for each individual or family; ensuring it suits not only their taste but also their lifestyle and future needs.
Q: What’s the best / worst things about the industry you work in?
We are here running this business because we believe the good parts massively outweigh the bad parts. The best bits are the lovely people we meet every day and the lovely houses we are lucky enough to visit. It’s the huge satisfaction of finding just the right buyer for a house; or just the right house for a buyer. This is what gets us out of bed each day.
For me it’s also the joy of seeing a property being loved again, being enjoyed by a family and being used as it’s maker designed it to be. It’s honestly so exciting seeing a project taking shape, seeing a transformation for the better and seeing a buyer or renter or owner’s reaction when the property is completed. This goes hand in hand with the satisfaction of knowing you have helped someone add value to their investment; helped them take the next step up the ladder or generate enough profit to help their child through university. This is what makes me tick.
The best things are created by those attributes we are working to engender. Through applying attention to the details and doing the job properly. By, stringent referencing of both buyers and tenants; by offering a bespoke service; by sharing more knowledge; offering better advice and sending people in the right direction.
The worst thing will be challenging perceptions and breaking down barriers. Prove that not all agents are the same; we are the new breed of agent and are setting the tone for the future.
Q: They say moving house is the most stressful time of your life. How do you cope dealing 24/7 with people going through the most stress time of their life?
This is simply a misconception! This need not be ‘the most stressful time of your life’, if it’s correctly managed and you are guided through the process, this can be easy and stress free. We have all bought or rented so we know the stresses that this life changing event can bring, and we also know how these can be avoided. We won’t just source you a property, take your money and send you on your way! We assist all of our clients through the whole process, we can handle a refurbishment, oversee redecoration, we can source furniture, we will organize a removals team, we can gather and put together a full plan to assist you in your move, along with a checklist so that nothing is missed. Our ethos is to take that stress away from the client and oversee the full project ourselves, so that our client’s working and family life is not affected.
After all what else are agencies for if this stress is still felt by their clients, they can’t be doing their jobs correctly.
Q: What is the one piece of advice you always give to potential sellers? And one piece of advice to potential buyers?
This is a tough one! It’s hard to give one piece of advice that applies to all property types and all situations. Every individual has unique needs, each is in a different position in their journey and I would always rather gain an understanding of these needs before offering advice.
If I must, then one overarching piece of advice, which most agents seem to undermine in their rush to make money is: ‘Don’t rush into it!’.
Whether buying or selling, take your time; consider the market; time it right and ensure you are being assisted by knowledgeable agent!
For a buyer: Don’t limit yourself. Be open mind and think outside the box. Allow a good agent to offer alternative options; think about the required investment and work the property needs; and carry out research into location, lifestyle, schools, shops, hospitals, transport and other amenities. Life can change, so think ahead a few years and try to consider how long this will realistically suit you. Don’t forget re-sale, this is really hard when you are just buying, but you must ensure that you do not limit the sector to which the house would appeal when you sell on, this could severely hinder your chances of making a good return on your investment.
For a vendor: A little invested can bring a large return. Ensure your property assets are accentuated, think about how you can add value to your home and present the house in the correct light. Put yourself in the shoes of a buyer, think how fast do I make the decision to dismiss or short-list a potential home (generally within 30 seconds). Therefore, it pays to pay attention to the details and the appearance. It will also pay to have made the necessary repairs prior to selling. If you don’t, the buyer will be told about them by the surveyor and may try to re-negotiate on the purchase price, or even worse pull out of the purchase.
Q: I read earlier today that 97% of house buyers select potential properties online these days. How important is online for you?
The internet is the main form of communication across many industries, however, when investing such large sums of money or selling your largest asset there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction.
I believe the internet is another tool for the modern estate agency. It can be a great way to market a product to a broad audience quickly and effectively. Yet, it will not replace the high street agency. The clue is in the question ‘select potential properties’, the word potential tells me this is only the initial stages of making a decision. We can search online in our own homes at any time of day. When we find something with potential, the next step is to see it in the flesh; generally, accompanied by an agent, who can make or break the deal.
Q: Do you see the industry changing in the next 10 years with more websites offering the “sell direct” options etc?
I imagine that many more retailors will offer their products online. This saves overheads, and for many, buying generic items online is more convenient. But not property, as a home owner how can you do justice to your own home with limited support, guidance, assistance and knowledge. I have seen many new online agencies pop up, but they do not hold a dominating share of any market at present. Many who attempt selling via this route will become frustrated and turn to a high street agency to actually find the buyer. The service industry is a very personal experience and for this you need a person, not a computer. Therefore, I do not see the rise and rise of online agencies.
Q: Last question and a big chance to do the big sell – you’re based in the property quarter of Altrincham, The Downs, why should people knock on your door vs the other options?
As stated throughout my interview we offer a different approach to the industry. We are not just commission focused, our main focus is the requirements of our clients. We don’t just sell houses, or rent out homes; we manage portfolios; we assist in projects, from interior design through to full restoration; we offer FREE advice, on many aspects, including how to maximize your sale/rental yield. After explaining the required steps to be taken we can then carry them out for you. We assist many investors both resident in the UK and overseas. We offer the best advice and unlike many other agents out there our advice is not based on how much money we can make; it is solely based on what we believe is in the client’s interest. We are here to make your wishes come true in unexpected ways. All it takes is a step outside the box, a house which you are struggling to sell or a budget you are struggling to work with. That’s what we are here for, we can suggest an alternative way to present the house, a new audience to market to; we can find you a smaller house with scope to extend, a rundown house which can be made into a home again, a plot you can build on a location you haven’t considered. We are the fairy god mothers in the property realm and our main aim is to meet demand, deliver results and prevent the onset of stress. This will make our business and the lives of our clients a dream come true.