If any of you didn’t pick up a recent copy of the Herald, please see below a recent Q&A with Austin. It is a great read, he talks about our journey throughout the last 6 years.
CHOOSING the right estate agent to market and sell your home is arguably as important as choosing your next property when you consider the financial and personal implications of moving. However, as excellent service and results are talked about, personal references and referrals win hands-down as a differentiator – and within the central belt of Scotland, the name on many happy sellers’ lips is Halliday Homes, which opened in Bridge of Allan six years ago and has more recently established a second branch in Linlithgow.
We asked founder and managing director Austin Halliday how the award-winning independent firm’s expansion and success has been affected by the COVID pandemic – and why service remains the crucial driver in the current buoyant market.
Q. You seem to have grown the business in a comparably short space of time, what do you put this down to?
A. “Living and working in Bridge of Allan gives our teams here – and in Linlithgow – a solid foundation when it comes to property knowledge and local fluctuations in supply and demand, which is backed by professional marketing expertise. More important, however, is our overall focus on quality and excellence in everything we do, coupled with a truly personal one-to-one service that means clients know who they are dealing with at all times.”
Q. The firm also operates a Letting division and has more recently moved into Financial Services. What underpinned these additions?
A. “Both are fundamental to our core mission of providing a fully comprehensive, joined-up property service for landlords, tenants and sellers, whose needs are very different yet interlinked: landlords expand their property portfolios; tenants often go on to become buyers and sellers of the future, while the financial services arm incorporates everything from insurance and investment to securing the best mortgage products from those on the market to suit each client’s individual requirements. We also have access to exclusive mortgage deals. Being able to undertake the whole process under one roof by professionals in their different fields gives clients a smoother, more supportive and often quicker transition than having to deal with multiple firms online or by phone.”
Q. You remained open during this last lockdown – how has COVID impacted on the business?
A. “It has been challenging on many levels although the top priority was – and remains – to ensure the health and wellbeing of our staff, clients, viewers and other service providers., such as chartered surveyors and the professional photographers we use for property marketing. We were also fortunate in being a relatively small firm in terms of numbers of people and therefore found it easier to adapt and invest in new technology as it came on stream and some elements, such as livestream viewings, drone footage, video and 3-D tours, proved so successful they have become integral to how we operate going forward.”
Q. Earlier this year you predicted the spring and summer market would be buoyant, is that still the case?
A. “Absolutely, in fact more so, given our Bridge of Allan and Linlithgow branches cover some of Scotland’s most picturesque and desirable towns and villages – Dunblane, Doune, Kippen, Stirling, Falkirk, Bo-Ness, Thornhill – places now in strong demand as a result of the pandemic-induced exodus from the city to semi-rural lifestyle-driven locations. Many movers are looking for a permanent home office and are trading up to secure it – and there has been a noticeable rise in the number of buyers from south of the border seeking a better-balanced lifestyle with access to commuter links and outdoor recreational pursuits.
Q. Many properties are currently selling within days of being marketed – does this make it less work for agents?
A. “Not if they are doing their job properly. On the contrary, it may be easier to sell…but it’s also easier to sell short and perhaps cut-price agents with limited resources may be happy to agree sales and move quickly on to the next one. Our service focuses on results derived by skilled marketing to maximise interest and create a competitive platform for negotiating a premium price for our clients. That’s what they pay us for – and we aim to do it to the very best of our ability. That, in turn, is what generates referrals and personal recommendations.
Q. Are there more new Halliday Homes’ branches in the pipeline?
A. I am always thinking about a new branch! The people of Bridge of Allan and Linlithgow have made us feel very much at home, so yes, it would be good to be able to take our service to other areas. However, we need to know our clients in order to maintain our close working relationships – grow too big and the personal touch becomes lost, so growth will be limited for that reason.