Marc Ballard reflects on Salloway's expansion into the Nottingham Property Market
I remember nearly 18 months ago when we started trading in Nottingham. With the property market in the doldrums and the wider economy in poor state, we had decided to expand and set up our third office in the East Midlands. Madness? I suspect that's what most other property professionals thought. Nevertheless, we have pressed on and I have been very pleased with the welcome and support we have received from the wider business community.
In difficult times challenging yourself to enter new territories and markets is a daunting prospect; however I believe it is essential. With established and successful offices in Burton-on-Trent and Derby, we felt that the Salloway brand and approach to property marketing was transferrable, and this has proven to be the case.
As a Nottingham lad, it was a strongly held ambition to set up here. Despite the challenge, to see our first agency boards go up around the city last year was a time of immense pride of me. So, with the philosophy that "if we can establish a business in this market we can do anything", how has the first 18 months gone?
To start with, I think we set the right expectations. The market is extremely tight and has now been so for several years. We all hoped the property cycle would be further on than it is right now but it hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t proved to be the case. 2011 was tough, 2012 is proving to be tougher. In these circumstances more than ever, all business counts.
I think that it has been the amount of acquisition work we have been asked to carry out which has been the most welcome surprise. When acquiring property on behalf of tenants and purchasers it is of the utmost importance to give a balanced view of the property available and make recommendations based purely on client needs. In times when every penny counts, companies are increasing challenging their occupational costs. Salloway has provided relocation advice to a number of Nottingham companies in the last year, assessing existing property needs, reviewing business requirements and advising on alterative property solutions.
Whether agency, acquisitions, valuations or property investment advice, what is evident to me, more than ever, is that clients are expecting the best service. It's often the hardest call to make, when ringing a client to tell them that enquiry levels are low or a party didn't show up for a viewing but as a chartered surveyor I believe we all need to keep the market moving through continuing positive dialogue between clients, occupiers and the profession at large. Business is not done by people going into their shell when times are tough. I hope our establishment in Nottingham is a sign that we are here to make property transactions happen and are positive that the market will improve for us all. Salloway's establishment in Nottingham over the past 18 months has been modest but set strong foundations and I believe over the next 12 months the city might just see a few more Salloway yellow agency boards popping up.