As the New Year approaches, Manda Cunningham, Lettings Manager at Dewhurst & Co, takes time out from checking inventories and closing rental agreements to reflect on her upcoming 10th anniversary at Swindon’s premier estate agent.
“When I started working in the property sector in 1987 everything was paper-based,” says Manda, who joined the Dewhurst lettings team in 1996, “so the main change can be summed up in one word; technology! In the ‘80s, many people would contact estate agents with only a vague idea of what they were looking for. Now the Dewhurst & Co website has detailed information on all our available houses and flats so most people do their homework in advance: house-hunters can search for a new home online; landlords use our digital marketing tools; tenants can even report a repair online.”
However, one key aspect of the lettings business is unaffected by the cyber-revolution. “Personal service is still at the heart of Dewhurst’s philosophy,” says Manda. “I began my career at a national estate agent chain, but when they started outsourcing their property management to a call centre and literally forbade us from helping landlords or tenants face-to-face I knew it was time for a change.”
“By contrast, landlords using Dewhurst’s Property Management Service or tenants who rent a home from us know they can pick up the phone or come to the Lettings office and speak directly to a staff member they know and trust. We don’t use ‘go-betweens’ and there’s no passing the buck. We take personal responsibility for dealing with every request or issue.”
“We apply the same principles to every aspect of lettings. A pool of experienced tradesmen who’ve worked with Dewhurst for years handle all our maintenance. Landlords trust us to deal with any repairs swiftly and fairly with none of the inflated costs you get when you deal with big chains or intermediaries.”
“Everybody at Dewhurst takes great pride in the hands-on way we support our clients. Whether it’s an investor with a dozen rental properties or people with just one small flat to let, every single landlord gets the same professional service.”
Summing up Manda says, “I wouldn’t dream of going back to a faceless estate agent chain where corporate decisions are made with no thought to the impact on the ground. And as Dewhurst now has one of the biggest lettings portfolios in Swindon we must be doing something right!”
So are there any special events lined-up to celebrate Manda’s decade at Dewhurst & Co? “I’m not sure what Mike and the others have up their sleeves,” Manda smiles, “but whatever it is, I hope it involves rest and relaxation. I’m running the London Marathon in April and that’s quite enough strenuous exercise for one year, thank you!”
Watch this space for more information on Manda’s fundraising marathon in 2016.
DEWHURST & CO. EXPERIENCE MATTERS!