The young businesswoman set up Grace Estates in the summer of 2022 and has built up an ever-growing portfolio.
Grace quit her low paying apprenticeship role at the age of 18 with no savings and with plans to start Grace Estates.
The past year has been “an amazing and challenging adventure” but Grace wants to show other young people that it is never too early to start a business in a field which they are passionate about.
Here, in our latest Business of the Week feature, Grace tells us why she decided to launch her own estate agent business and she shares her plans for going international in 2024.
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What’s your full name?
How old are you?
Whereabouts in Warrington are you from/do you live?
I live in Appleton.
Which school/schools did you go to?
I attended a school in Great Budworth and then continued to Priestley College, for around two months. I quickly concluded that the best thing to do was to go right into the sector and learn everything I could about property management and house sales.
What’s the name of the business?
Are you the owner/manager?
I am the owner of Grace Estates
When did you open the business?
I opened the company in July 2022 with my full-time commitment to the company beginning in mid 2023.
Tell me a bit about your business
Grace Estates stands as a solo estate agency, distinguished by my exclusive focus on selling properties in and around Cheshire. Many people like the self-employed estate agent module since you just deal with one person rather than a whole office. As a new agent, I understand the importance of social media and how to market homes online, with a recent property earning 230,000 internet views and capturing viewers from that video. It’s been a fantastic adventure thus far and I’m looking forward to seeing what this year brings.
What do you do? What services do you provide?
My services include selling and renting properties, managing landlords’ portfolios and managing short term rentals in Abersoch, Wales.
Why did you decide to open your own business?
I saw a trend within the local companies: a reluctance to embrace new techniques and an unwavering commitment to outdated practices. Recognising the possibilities for innovation and a more dynamic approach, I, as a young and forward-thinking agent in the area, am ready to bring something fresh to clients looking to sell or rent their properties.
Why this type of business?
I really love meeting new people and forming connections with them. It’s such a great feeling when, after working on a property for months, I can finally hand over the keys to my clients. And, of course, I enjoy seeing all the beautiful homes in the area!
What were your interests at school?
I had no major interests in school. However, in hindsight, taking business at GCSE would have been beneficial. Starting a company without any business understanding is difficult but my father’s advice and guidance as the owner of Gilbert & Co Accountancy Services has kept the ship sailing.
Does the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and the current cost-of-living crisis affect your business?
There is a lot of hard work that needs to be done, which doesn’t always pay off, but that’s the game. The current market is a very difficult market to break into as a new agent. The local estate agents are hungrier than ever for new listings. However, opting for a solo agent with unwavering dedication, time commitment and a fresh perspective on selling techniques has proven to be an advantage in this competitive environment.
What makes your business different to others in the same area/field? What sets your business apart from your competitors?
I am dedicated to delivering a truly bespoke and personalised service for clients. I make a commitment to handle only a limited number of properties simultaneously, differentiating my approach from other agencies that often attempt to manage 30+ homes at once, struggling to balance client expectations and enquiries. Communication lies at the core of my business vision, ensuring that every vendor receives an individualised service. This tailored approach is designed to optimise the sale of each home, securing the best price within a suitable timeframe.
Every home isn’t always an easy sale and certain properties demand innovative ideas and strategic approaches. Empty homes, in particular, pose a challenge as buyers may struggle to envision themselves living in a vacant space. With my connections with property staging companies and cutting-edge virtual staging software, I bridge this gap by providing clients with a visual representation of the home furnished. This unique strategy sets my approach apart from other agents, emphasising the importance of finding distinctive methods to make each home stand out from the crowd.
What’s next? What does 2024 hold for you and your business?
As the volume of sales activities in Cheshire grows, I wish to invite additional estate agents to engage via a self-employed module. Allowing more agents to join the team, each bringing their own unique insights and creative ideas, is expected to preserve the fresh and modern approach that I hold.
I will also be an international estate agent. I will be marketing three developments of luxury villas in Cyprus. This opportunity, which I could not overlook, marks a significant milestone in my career. I am eager to apply my extensive marketing skills to contribute to their housing market.
In light of the upcoming busy season for holiday rentals in Abersoch, I am in the process of developing a mobile and web application for the properties. Recognising the potential for growth in this aspect of my business, I feel this investment will improve efficiency greatly. Grace Estates stands as the primary holder of chalet inventory for rental in Abersoch, surpassing five other prominent companies in the area.