We caught up with Steve Scott for ScottBeckett Estate Agents who talked to us about how business is going.
Steve began by explaining, “The Covid-19 pandemic is completely unprecedented and it has inevitably affected businesses of all natures worldwide.” He continued, “In property sales, spring time – March to May – is usually our busiest time of year so for lockdown to have occurred at this time was particularly unfortunate.” He confessed, “We did however go into the lockdown period with a sales pipeline of almost 40 sales and the majority of these sales remained fully intact. We also had 14 ‘essential’ sales complete during lockdown so we were certainly still busy. Now that lockdown has been lifted there are considerable changes to the way estate agents can operate to comply with social distancing and to ensure our clients are safe, but it’s fair to say I feel we are coping well.”
Steve detailed, “To help reassure our customers and to ensure safety, our office has been rearranged and social distance markings have been put in place. Protective desk screens are on order to further reassure customers, and all desks have hand sanitiser on them. All surfaces are regularly cleaned and disposable gloves are available for customers, should they feel the need. Staff will, on occasion, work remotely from home but will remain fully contactable. Ultimately we aim to help our customers by continuing to be as accessible as possible but in doing so ensuring the safety of our clients.”
As for whether they are providing any extra services, Steve explains, “We are not specifically offering any extra services, but we are actively promoting the government guidelines that viewings in the first instance should, where possible, be virtual. Whilst we have not had a large increase in vendors offering specific virtual tours, it’s fair to say that Rightmove, Zoopla and On The Market, all sites we use amongst others, have all of our property listings with as many internal and external images as possible together with floor plans and energy performance certificates. This enables applicants to view a property ‘virtually’ prior to any actual viewing taking place.”
The future may be unpredictable but Steve assures us, “ScottBeckett opened in Felixstowe seven years ago this month and we’re delighted that according to Rightmove Intel statistics we have been Felixstowe’s leading selling agent every year since opening. The volume of business has grown year on year and this shows that there appears to be a strong demand for our services which we never take for granted and for which we are exceptionally grateful.”
Steve and Keith Beckett were both born in Felixstowe and entered into the estate agency business in Felixstowe upon leaving education in 1986.
“We had known each other throughout school and were good friends,” says Steve. “In 1994 I moved jobs to work for the local company Keith had first joined in 1986 and we worked together as a team until 2013 when Keith was unexpectedly informed he was being made redundant.
“Being well known locally and having sold thousands of houses in Felixstowe over the years people had often asked why we didn’t open up on our own but in truth we would probably not have done this out of loyalty to our former employers. The redundancy however changed this and we opted to form ‘ScottBeckett’ and the rest, as they say, is history!”
He continues, “In addition to myself and Keith, we have two other valued and well-known sales staff working with us. These are Debbie Chenery and Alan Fox. Alan has been an estate agent in Felixstowe for longer than Keith and myself. He used to work for Bannister & Co and has been an estate agent in Felixstowe for 40 years. Debbie also used to work for Bannister & Co, is the office manager and is primarily office based. Debbie deals with the majority of post sales progression which is a sometimes testing but vitally important aspect of our business.”
Lastly, we asked Steve why he believes the business stands out and is trusted by so many. “Our orange SB sold boards are probably the single aspect of our brand which is most recognisable. We receive many comments about our boards! As for trust, it has to be earned over a period of time and with our entire team having been born in Felixstowe and offering more than 120 years Felixstowe estate agency experience, we are well known locally and the public know that we will always endeavor to offer genuine advice which can be trusted.
“All of the above combined with our motto: Born in Felixstowe… Raised in Felixstowe… Estate Agents in Felixstowe!”