A passion for property

As the housing market shows signs of recovery, many Bairstow Eves franchise owners are expanding in preparation for an uplift in sales

The UK residential lettings market has seen sustained growth over the past year as many would-be buyers have decided to rent rather than buy. This increased demand for rental properties is good news for professional landlords, who are continuing to invest for the long term in quality properties across the sector, while many home owners are choosing to let their property rather than sell in a depressed price market.

The buoyant lettings market offers an excellent opportunity for anyone considering expanding their existing lettings or estate agency business, or equally someone considering entering the lettings and estate agency marketplace. In 2009 Bairstow Eves Franchising is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the launch of its very successful estate agency sales franchise and July the company also reached the first anniversary of the first opening of its residential lettings franchise, which has to date only been available to existing estate agency franchise owners.

"Following the very successful launch of the lettings franchise model to our existing franchise owners over the past 12 months, we are very pleased with the growth of the franchised lettings business and the very positive benefits it brings to our existing estate agency franchise owners and the Bairstow Eves network," comments Managing Director Philip Dobson. "Stage two of our lettings franchise growth plan starts in earnest with the public roll out of the Bairstow Eves franchised lettings model which is being offered to new prospective franchise owners, in addition to the company's very well established franchised estate agency model."

Bairstow Eves franchise owners provide a comprehensive sales and lettings service to their home owner customers and landlords alike and operate from either High Street retail premises for a combined estate agency and lettings operation or, in the case of a lettings only business, from either a High Street location or serviced office unit.

The company offers franchise owners a comprehensive proposition that provides support in all aspects of the business over the life of the franchise. At the planning and pre-launch stage head office provides assistance with business planning, comprehensive cash flow models, advice on premises selection, appearance and fit out, as well as IT systems and staff selection. Franchise owners have access to comprehensive Operations Manuals, a marketing library which is regularly updated and national promotion initiatives. A comprehensive 30-day training programme provides franchise owners and their staff with the knowledge and skills to run a lettings and estate agency business.

The lettings and estate agency businesses provide the main income streams to a franchised business with further income opportunities provided by the provision of landlord and tenant services such as rent guarantee products and insurances, mortgage services, conveyancing, HIPs and land & new homes.

In an increasingly regulated and accountable business environment estate and lettings agents are facing ever growing demands on their time, resources and money with the mandatory implementation of new legislation. Examples would be the Tenancy Deposit Schemes, HIPs launch and subsequent changes, EPCs and money laundering regulations to name but a few. Bairstow Eves franchise owners can be confident that they will be fully equipped to deal with new regulations.

Bairstow Eves Franchising is part of the Countrywide Group - the UK's largest estate agency operator with around 1,000 branches nationwide. The franchise network covers 110 locations with recently opened sites in Slough, Leeds, York and West London. A number of franchise owners have expanded their businesses in recent months in readiness for the anticipated uplift in sales and lettings activity.