Home Is Where The Heart Is

24 weeks ago
13 minute read
By Jessica Mackenzie

Buying a new house is the most emotionally laden purchase of our lives, but so often the process lacks the personal touch. Thankfully Coulters’ hub based approach to buying and selling puts some soul back into the system....

 

No-one can deny that technology is revolutionising the way we work, rest and play. But many would also agree that it’s not necessarily always making it better. Cue a new take on a very old conundrum – what happens when you want to have your slice of convenience cake

and eat it?

 

From small things such as splurging on new season clothes to big investments like property, it’s the same scenario: we want the speed and simplicity of an online service, but as anyone who has grappled with the frustration of an automated amazon return will testify, we also crave the agility and interactive nature of speaking to, well, a human.

 

Enter Coulters’ latest baby: a new North Berwick base which puts them in the heart of East Lothian. At a time when banks and post offices seem to be disappearing quicker than a Bostock bakery donut, it’s a welcome addition to the high street. “Becoming

an integral part of the local community and building pockets of expertise in key locations is integral to our approach,” explains Laura Weir, Head of Marketing for Coulters. “We want to see neighbourhood outlets with open door policies in key locations to help preserve the

human side to what are huge milestone moments in people’s lives”.

 

Belonging to a generation of hybrid estate agents trying to make our lives easier by offering the best of both worlds, Coulters knows that to do this well requires three things. A slick online operation, team mobility to meet clients where they’re at and a bricks and mortar offering that offers a pavement presence for sellers and a high street haven for buyers. But they haven’t stopped there. The expansion of the Coulters footprint signals their attempt to re-humanise the sector, but in a thoroughly modern way. Forget the slightly threadbare carpets and dark wooden furniture that categorised estate agents of old. This drop-in office is the opposite of stiff as it’s out with the fax machines and in with the coffee machines for passers-by who want to talk property.

 

 

Today’s house buyer or seller is more mobile than ever and as a result so are their estate agencies but the true hybrid alchemy - in any sector - lies in the combining of bricks and mortar with technology. What egg doesn’t love a virtual book club or online coaching session?

 

If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that there’s very few things we cannot do online, but for life’s biggest decisions, nothing beats a meaningful interaction face to face.

 

“We’re keen that our hubs aren’t traditional estate agencies but warm and friendly places to pop into for advice,” explains Weir. “In a few months’ time we’ll also have our legal team popping in and out so you can walk in and get some advice as and when you need it. There’s

no need for an appointment, just come in, grab a coffee and sit down for an old new-fashioned chat.”

 

As those who like a little window shop (who can resist slowing down to peek at a property showcase in an estate agent’s window?) will already know, they are also entertaining us with creative ways to connect the hub with its location.  Local window displays – such as the

recent design by East Lothian interior designer Katie Forbes depicting the cityscape of North Berwick – is the first in what will be an exciting local line up of partnerships with other designers, artists and like-minded brands.

 

 

It makes sense when you consider that the Edinburgh and East Lothian property marketing is booming. “They are huge growth markets in the property sector and we know from our market research that consumers based in East Lothian like to work with an estate agent that knows the area and feels local,” explains Francesca Hill, senior valuer for Coulters. “Our support team is based in the office which is really important for us.”

 

When it comes to buying and selling houses there’s one thing that an algorithm or online advertising just can’t beat and that’s insider knowledge. “The aim for the hub is that it becomes a little pocket of knowledge about the local area, whether it’s for families looking for information about local schools or young couples looking to live near the best wild swimming spots,” adds Hill. “ We will also be offering off-market advice and have assisted many clients who have had the ideal home in their head but it wasn’t on the market yet”. But this isn’t just a feel-good approach – it can be seen in the bottom line. According to The Advisory, the UK’s oldest support resource for home sellers, a high street estate agent can expect to deliver up to 48% more viewings, 64% more offers and a 5% higher endprice for clients compared to internet-only listing portals.

 

“Technology plays a key part in making the process of selling seamless and has been fantastic in enabling us to ‘meet’ clients during the pandemic, but ultimately when you are trusting your most valued asset with someone it often it comes down to having the right chemistry with the individual, “explains Hill.

 

 

Property Hot Spots in East Lothian…

1. The North Berwick trend continues as people are now permanently making decisions on where they want to live based on long-term hybrid working, meaning that what might have been their favourite place to visit at the weekend can now be a viable place to call home. Since the start of January our team have been incredibly busy in North Berwick as more and more clients make the move.

 

2. ESPC stats show that Haddington and Tranent had some of the largest volume of property sales in 2021 compared to other towns in East Lothian. They were up 121.1% and 117.6% respectively and show no signs of slowing.

 

3. For seaside living and good transport links without the North Berwick mark up, Dunbar is another top seller. It has a great high street with an ample supply of local produce and a very active community with a surf centre, tennis, squash, cricket and

football – perfect for young families.

 

4. Longniddry. A quieter alternative to North Berwick but with a lovely sandy beach and an average house price of £450,824 versus an average of £489,043. There’s still ample scope to snap up a new build here at the moment.

 

Coulters is an independent property consultant with vast local knowledge. All egg card holders enjoy £500 off legal fees when selling

with Coulters and using them for conveyancing. Coulters also offer 20% off purchase legal fees. Email [email protected] for more information.

 

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