Way back in the distant mists of time, when men were real men, women were real women and even estate agents were respected as serious professionals, the Nation’s first, and perhaps only celebrity agent appeared on the TV and radio. He was the inimitable Roy Brooks, raconteur, wit, chum of the rich and famous, and libidinous centrepiece of the French House with his great friend Jeffrey Bernard.

Roy Brooks was a complicated sort of bloke – an avowed communist and revolutionary, he nonetheless became extremely successful as an estate agent in London’s West End. His success was based on a very unusual secret – he was crudely and often hysterically candid:

estate agent humour

For over thirty years Brooks’ articles would appear in the Observer and The Sunday Times to the great amusement of the bourgeoisie and the louche London classes, who would wonder who’s house he was describing. The working classes loved him as he ribbed their ‘betters’ with merciless abandon:

Desmond Wilcox had a story he used in the foreword of a book on Brooks in 1985. Even being Brooks’ personal friend did not protect him from awaking one Sunday to read that the bar in the corner of his own lounge had been described as: “a white painted brick feature for holding exotic drinks. Rather theatrical and in keeping with the pretentious style of the owner”.

Becoming wealthy from the enormous fees thrown at him by London’s upper crust never sat comfortably with Roy however, and he would occasionally be seen loading his Rolls Royce with a 1000 pairs of shoes that he’d drive to Russia, ‘for old times’ sake’.

We may never see his like again…

-Alan

 

The Howick & Brooker Partnership is the leading and longest-established estate agency in Harlow. Howick and Brooker are members of the Guild of Professional Estate Agents


If you are interested in moving into the Harlow area pleas get in touch.

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Despite everything that’s happened thus far in 2020 (and let’s be honest we won’t be totallysurprised if an asteroid hit before Christmas) the property market seems preposterously buoyant. We detailed in a previous blog post how well sales were going in our area here in Harlow and the Villages – but it seems that this trend is happening nation wide.

moving home to harlow or old harlow

Despite a slow start when it first re-opened the property market is expecting a boom. A new poll carried out by Miller Homes showed that buyers are very active at the moment with a very large proportion of them hoping to move this year – many before the end of summer.

According to Judy Johnston in the Daily Express: “(Miller Homes) polled 750 potential property buyers around the UK, with surprising results. It found that more than two thirds of buyers are itching to get moving and still hope to do so in 2020, despite the uncertainty. It found that 69 per cent were still determined to make the move to a new home by the end of the year.”

The survey was conducted in May as restrictions were being lifted, which may of course have swayed the results a little, however of those polled a huge 36 per cent of people were hoping to move by the end of the Summer.

 working from home, harlow essex

As you may have seen, here at H&B we introduced virtual tours during the lockdown period, which have proven to be extremely popular. So much so, indeed, that we intend to keep producing them into the future. The use of virtual tours is in accordance with government guidelines of course - and although safe viewings (with social distancing provisions) are now acceptable it remains important to stay safe in this difficult time. This means, of course, that fewer viewings are possible, slowing the whole procedure down.

It has been estimated that 450,000 buyers and renters in the UK had to put their plans to move on hold during the lockdown. 

Chris Endsor (chief exec at Miller Homes said: “It’s encouraging to see that so many people are still keen to push forward with their property plans as soon as possible. With everyone spending so much more time at home during the lockdown, many people will have taken the opportunity to re-evaluate their current living arrangements and this may prompt increased interest in moving home.”

best estate agent in harlow, sawbridgeworth

Life has changed for a large majority of us over the last few months especially when one considers family life, work routines, expenses and family finances. It’s very positive to see that people are still very keen on moving and finding their dream property

That said, it is crucial to remember that the virus hasn’t gone away. Please stay safe and be responsible. We certainly intend to at Howick and Brooker.

The Howick & Brooker Partnership - is the leading and longest-established estate agency in Harlow. Howick and Brooker are members of the Guild of Professional Estate Agents

 

If you are interested in moving into the Harlow area pleas get in touch.

T: 01279 418888

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So lockdown continues to ease and even us Oldies are getting out and about and back to work. Our estate agency, Howick and Brooker, has emerged phoenix-like after a decent slumber to a near avalanche of new interest and sales. Naturally, February through May were very slow, but the housing market seems very buoyant now – nothing like three months locked in your old house to make people keen to find a new one!

buying and selling property in Essex

I’ve been ruminating a little (as one does) as to why we are doing quite so well since agencies like ours were allowed to open a few weeks ago. I’ve decided that there are four main reasons:

  • We’re pretty damn good at what we do. Slightly hubristic, I know, but we’ve been in practice for many years and have a little experience when it comes to buying and selling properties…
  • As we’ve been present in Harlow (Old Harlow) since the mid 1970s our name is pretty well-known in the area and we do like to conduct ourselves in a professional but also friendly manner.
  • We did make a big effort to be visible and helpful during the lockdown period. It’s very important to work with the community at times like this – so inn association with our friends at Your Harlow.com we shared a plethora of local news. James, the fruit of my loins, used social media (whatever that may be) to share articles on home schooling and childcare etc. I’m led to believe this was all very well received.
  • Cricket…

estate agents, Harlow, Essex

As some of you may know, I’m a little keen on cricket, so you can imaging my devastation with the lack of play over at the Marigolds ground thus far this year. The prospect still remains of course, but it has been decidedly odd not partaking in a glass of Chablis and listening to the sound of leather on willow.

Harlow CC has been building up a lovely community following over the last few years, and it’s been rather depressing that we’ve been unable to gather in the Pavilion with the local families who have made the place so ‘buzzing’ over the last few Summer’s.

That said, over the last few weekends members of the HCC Vice Presidents Club have been working like Trojans preparing the southwest corner of ground into a quiet garden space. With the approval of the club’s committee this area is where the former clubhouse stood between 1953 and 2018. Hopefully it will retain a few happy memories for those of us who spent many happy hours there. Look at my magnificent trousers!

quality estate agents in Essex

The project included the levelling of the area (thanks to our Chairman, Simon Radbourne), the removal of weeds and as many plastic remnants from the old nets, the planting of seven silver birch trees and the creation of a new paved ‘slab’ for two new benches which are to be kindly donated by those wonderful chaps at Branson’s Leisure. All whilst socially distancing, of course!

The costs involved have been organised by the HCC VPC with kind donations from the Pamela Whitby 90th birthday fund and local solicitors Harris Cuffaro & Nichols. Its getting very green already, so thanks to our groundsman Cliff for scattering grass seed along with anything that is green that grows wild over this corner. 

At Howick and Brooker we are always grateful to the local community who have given us so much over the past 45 years or so. It’s important I believe, to give a little back every now and again, and hopefully this ‘memorial garden’ area will give a little pleasure to cricket lovers, or to people who just want to take a sit down on a warm say in a tranquil location. 

-Alan

 

The Howick & Brooker Partnership - is the leading and longest-established estate agency in Harlow. Howick and Brooker are members of the Guild of Professional Estate Agents.

buying a property in Harlow

 

If you are interested in moving into the Harlow area pleas get in touch.

T: 01279 418888

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With lockdown regulations easing and estate and letting agents back to work it appears that the property business is looking very active in the short term.

According to Rightmove, the property portal, they received 5.2 million hits to it’s website on May 13th– which is a 4% increase on the same time last year. On the same day Rightmove reported a large surge in rental enquiries too – the biggest single day since the previous September. As viewings (in person) began again some estate agents reported their phones ringing ‘off the hook’

Is this surprising?

With the industry effectively on hold for two to three months one would expect that delay on house purchases to ‘carry over’, although contrary to that, we have a situation where many people are on furlough or have had an even bigger cut to their earnings.

So, where are we? Well the majority of the homes that were listed before the lockdown remain active – some 50,000 for sale and slightly more than that in London, for example. And according to Homes and Property there has been a week-on-week increase of 111% since restrictions were lifted, meaning that we are getting close to parity with the size of the market at this time last year.

Prices have fallen however, slightly more than anticipated. London estate agents Knight Frank originally forecast a decline of 3% for 2020 as a direct result of the virus. They have since downgraded that to 7%, most have which has already occurred. The majority of other experts opine that it’s still too early to predict.

Miles Shipside, (Rightmove director and housing market analyst) said: “The traditionally busy spring market was curtailed by lockdown but we’re now seeing clear signs of returning momentum.” He went on to add: “We expect (this) momentum to rebuild over several months rather than weeks. If there are attractive lower-deposit mortgages available, it would help sustain the recovery in activity. The industry has been caught by surprise, as we were all expecting the market to stay closed until at least June.”

In Harlow, the Old Town and the Villages we have certainly seen a huge surge in interest since re-opening. In the first three weeks (or 12 working days) we have put together 13 new house sales which amounts to £4,513,500 of property value which is incredible. There are also two more deals we are about to tie up that will push us through the £5,000,000 mark! These house sales are from £110,000 to £800,000 so there is interest in all price sectors.

Interesting times, indeed.

 

The Howick & Brooker Partnership is the leading and longest-established estate agency in Harlow. Howick and Brooker are members of the Guild of Professional Estate Agents.

 

 

If you are interested in moving into the Harlow area pleas get in touch.

T: 01279 418888
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

 

I feel I owe you all an apology.

 

Over the last few months my musings on this blog may well have given you the impression that I have become somehow curmudgeonly in my dotage.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I have always been like this.

No, I jest, or course, but I’d hate to give you the impression that (as I sit here on the veranda or my waterside-side apartment, in my bath chair with a blankie and a warming spaniel on my lap) I spend the majority of my time being bellicose and cantankerous and shouting at random children and cyclists across the canal.

I mean, I AM doing that, naturally, but not all the time.

Indeed as I wrote previously, the World in some ways has slowed down and become (dare I say it) a bit nicer? It’s not for me to even dream of underplaying the seriousness of the situation but who would have thought politeness and consideration would have made such a comeback in 2020? On my daily ramble yesterday a young person (indeterminate age, under 30, perhaps?) actually stood aside and asked my how I was keeping! I was so shocked I had to have a lie down with a glass of Chablis and a bun.

buying a property in Harlow
Curmudgeonly, Moi?

 

Anyhoo, where was I? Ah yes – well, technology is rampant Chez Howick at the mo. The team at Howick and Brooker  and I have ‘Zoom’ calls on Mondays and Fridays – which is remarkable tech really – I can remember selling houses back in the sixties when it was still common for dwellings not to have telephones. On top of Zoom, e-mails, face time, drop boxes, cloud-based thingies and all the rest, we are offering virtual tours around the majority of our properties. Whilst it may be true that house sales are slower than an asthmatic ant with some heavy shopping, the wheels are still turning. Lawyers are still doing legal things, buyers are still searching, sellers are getting prepped and conveyancers are doing whatever it is that they do (only slowly of course) Alna Howick. See that smiley face thing? That’s an ‘emoji’ – I am definitely ‘down with the kids’.

I am quite shocked how simple it is working from home. A great deal of our work can be achieved remotely – if it wasn’t for the camaraderie and my secretly social nature I might never go back to the office again!  It does makes one think that perhaps the greatest affect that this ghastly virus will have on business moving forward will be a huge proliferation of home-working.

Now of course, the future looks challenging. Like all estate agents we will be effectively ‘starting again’ once the lockdown is lifted – although as we have detailed in this blog before  it does seem likely that our industry will be one of the first to return. I’m very optimistic about this and quite excited. Since 1975 I’ve created and run two estate agency businesses and enjoyed every minute. This will be similar, only we have a great team, great branding and an excellent reputation in place already. Looking forward to it!

 

Stay safe!

 

-Alan

Now, where ‘s the chaise longe

 

The Howick & Brooker Partnership is the leading and longest-established estate agency in Harlow. Howick and Brooker are members of the Guild of Professional Estate Agents.

If you are interested in moving into the Harlow area pleas get in touch.

T: 01279 418888

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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