First of all, I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying the break away from work (if you’re lucky enough to have had one, of course).
It’s been quite a year here in E11. With 2020 not that far away, I thought it’d be the ideal time to look back at all that’s happened, as well as take a brief peek into the crystal ball at what the upcoming 366 days may hold.
A good decision
Those of you who have followed our fortunes here at Petty’s over the years will remember that we took the decision to close our Buckhurst Hill office back in 2018, bringing the family back together again in our spiritual home of Wanstead. The last 12 months has been our first full year back as one unit, and I’m delighted to report that the decision has stood the test of time.
Not only are we a more cohesive unit now that we’re all working so closely together, the team spirit and camaraderie here is better than ever. This is important for a number of reasons, but to put it succinctly, happy staff equals happy customers, and Jenny and I care about both in equal measure.
This year has seen some massive shifts in the property world, with the biggest reforms, revisions, and refinements affecting landlords. The list has been seemingly endless, with the broadening of minimum energy efficiency standards, compulsory client money protection, changes to mortgage interest tax relief, the Home Act, and more all happening over the last 12 months.
The most important change by far, though, was the Tenant Fee Ban. The run up to June 1st, when the ban came into force, was one of the busiest periods I’ve ever experienced as an agent. Ensuring that every little detail was correct, reassuring our landlords over the future, and all of the associated admin, such as changing our site and brochures, meant more than a few sleepless nights.
Thankfully, however, we’ve weathered the storm exceptionally well, and we continue to serve both landlords and tenants in exactly the same manner we did before the ban - with integrity and understanding.
I know it’s touted by agents everywhere, but I truly believe we are situated in the best community in the UK. There’s nowhere quite like Wanstead.
As many of you will know (and testify to), we’ve always done our bit in and around E11, but I started the year with a real feeling of wanting to do even more this year, and we have.
Not only have we continued with our sponsorship of local schools, charities, churches, and good causes, we’ve also extended our work into creating our own appeals, such as our latest request for trainers to help local homeless at the Redbridge Night Shelter, and actively participating in local events ourselves. Staff recently helped out at the Woodbine Winter Craft Fair and we also spent an entire day raising money for Cancer Research UK down at London’s Liverpool Street station, raising over £2,000 in the process.
Then there was the 2020 Wanstead Fringe...what a week (and a bit) that was. Incredible! Absolutely fantastic to see so many different things going on in the area. As founder sponsors, we've seen how the event has blossomed over the years thanks to the diligent work of the organisers. I'm already looking forward to next year!
It’s almost a tired cliché now, which is unfortunate, but giving back really does matter to me and it goes way beyond simply sticking up a few sponsorship boards around the area. I want us to be fully involved locally, and we’re making great strides towards that goal.
Don’t just take it from me, here’s what local community legend Suzi Harnett recently had to say about our efforts:
Looking forward to 2020
You can expect more of the same from us as a company, although we do have a few novel ideas up our sleeves.
February sees our first ever Property and Law Clinic, where members of the public can simply walk in and ask any property related questions they may have. We’re delighted to be teaming up with Edwards Duthie Shamash Solicitors for this one, so you’ll be in safe hands. Follow our Facebook page for dates and do come along if you have a burning property question you need an answer to.
We’re also looking forward to welcoming the Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) in 2020 as well. Petty’s have been long-term supporters of greater regulation in the property industry and we’re way ahead of the curve in terms of our staff’s training and accreditation.
We’ve always actively invested in our team’s training and development, as we know it pays dividends, but seeing a higher level of professional standards across the industry can only be a good thing for all concerned.
Politically, who knows what will happen next? We firmly believe that the local market will remain relatively stable regardless, but the geopolitical landscape is still worth keeping a watchful eye on. It could well be another year where the risk averse continue to sit on their hands, leaving the market to the need-to-moves as opposed to the nice-to-moves.
Whatever happens in 2020, let’s hope it’s a good one for all of us.
Happy New Year everyone!
John Wagstaff MARLA, MNAEA