The housing market may be struggling as vendors and buyers cope with a double-dip recession, but independent estate and letting agency Preston Baker, which has branches in York, Leeds and Selby, is bucking the trend and expanding. “Since we relaunched as an independent company six months ago, we’ve grown by 19%,” says managing director Ian Preston. “Our successful, pro-active approach to selling means that we’ve had to expand our sales and lettings teams to deal with our rapidly growing customer base.” Formerly a Countrywide/Bairstow Eves franchise, Preston Baker became an independent agency at the end of November last year.
Early this year, the Selby branch became the number one agency in the area, with the most “sold” boards as verified by the independent company For Sale Sign Analysis. The demand for this top-selling branch’s services is such that they are taking on a new negotiator as well as a graduate apprentice.
Both the Leeds branches have expanded, with two new team members joining the Oakwood/Roundhay branch and the Headingley/North Leeds office. While other operations are shrinking, Preston Baker’s expanded premises in York on Walmgate houses the lettings team, which has doubled in size.
“We’re proud of the experience, expertise and skill of our staff, who provide personal service to our customers and clients,” says senior director and company co-founder James Baker. “That’s why we highlight them on our state-of-the-art website prestonbaker.co.uk so people can go online and meet the staff who will be working for them.”
The company recently held a branch-wide conference, focusing on team-building and staff development. The meeting also served to introduce the recently appointed new branch managers: Hugh Sneddon in York, Nicola Partridge in Oakwood and Chris Holroyd in Headingley. “One of our strengths is our management development scheme to train and promote from within,” explains Ian. “I’m particularly proud to have been able to appoint Chris, who has been with us for seven years, as branch manager in Headingley.”