This month, we caught up with Dawn Dickinson, General Manager at Midcalf Nicholls who talks us through the property market in the West Midlands and her advice for those looking to move home.
I’m Dawn Dickinson, General Manager of Midcalf Nicholls. I’ve worked in the property industry for many years in all roles to work my way from the bottom up. At one time I was the Area Manager for a large independent firm which was lots of fun, but there’s nothing like being at the helm of a strong, local agency.
It may sound obvious, but one that feels like a home. There’s no point having a beautiful show home if your spirits don’t lift each time you walk through the front door.
I would impose rules to ensure the conveyancing process better embraces modern-day technology. It still takes too long, on average, between agreeing a sale and exchanging contracts – the point at which everyone can plan with certainty and the stage before which people can often be in a state of nervous limbo.
The firm was established in 1992 by Robert Nicholls and Stuart Midcalf, initially with one office in Stourbridge. Stuart retired some years ago, but Robert remains at the head of the practice.
The business has grown significantly over the last 27 years, with the addition of a second office in Kinver in 1998 and the acquisition of two other businesses – one sales and one lettings.
Our ethos has always revolved around a simple mantra: treat clients, buyers and tenants as you would wish to be treated yourself. We invest in our clients and benefit from repeat business and referrals.
Properties are currently in short supply in many of the areas that we cover. We cover Stourbridge, Kinver, Dudley, Wolverhampton and Kidderminster, so most of the West Midlands. It’s good news for sellers and landlords, because premium prices are being achieved and properties are selling and letting very quickly. Our hope is that more properties will come to market.
Reputation is a huge factor. Feefo reviews have spread the world further afield as well, and are proving to be somewhat of a Godsend for us.
No one day is the same! That’s the joy of working for an independent firm. I’m involved in HR, marketing, market appraisals, social media, business development, viewings, morning meetings, trouble shooting and keeping the team caffeinated.
1. Be a people person: estate agency isn’t just about property, it’s about dealing effectively and empathetically with people from all walks of life, at a time that is potentially very stressful for them.
2. Be a good listener: this is important when it comes to identifying a motivated seller, or spotting buying signals from a potential buyer.
3. Know your stuff: ensuring you give the best possible advice to your clients is important. Estate agency is becoming increasingly technical, with an ever-expanding raft of legislation to comply with.
4. Learn diplomacy and bite your tongue: keeping both parties of a transaction happy requires tact and discretion. The reality is that disappointed parties often blame the messenger.
5. Be upbeat and enjoy yourself: always wear a smile – it makes everyone feel better and is good for business. Estate agency isn’t an easy ride, so you shouldn’t be in it unless you enjoy it.
If you’re ready to move, now is a good time as any. Don’t put your life on hold because of Brexit and if you’re thinking of downsizing, don’t leave it too long. You’d be amazed how many people tell me how they’ve struggled for years to maintain an overly large house. Think it through, obviously, but then bite the bullet!
We like to support a wide variety of local activities. Currently, our focus is on Kinver: we’ve sponsored Kinver KRUFTS, Kinver Light Operatic Society and the Open Garden Weekend. Sue Capon, our Lettings Manager and Eliza Little, our Lettings Coordinator are currently training to run the 5k Race for Life to raise money for cancer research. Support them and donate to a worthwhile cause here.