Saturday, 01 December 2018

A healthy residential property market across the Channel Islands has led to Guernsey’s award-winning estate agency – Livingroom – expanding into the neighbouring island of Jersey.

The agency, which was founded in 2006, has won a host of awards for its fresh and dynamic approach to the sector, including being named the World’s Best Estate Agency for Marketing at the 2017 International Property Awards.

Founder and CEO Simon Torode identified the need to add creative flair to the sector, bringing his experience as an advertising creative to the industry. Livingroom Estate Agents is one of the only agents in the UK with a dedicated, in-house creative team – to include professional photographers, videographers, designers and licensed drone pilots. Livingroom was also handed a five-star award for the Best Estate Agency Single Office in Guernsey at both the 2017 and 2018 International Property Awards.

The expansion into Jersey comes in what has been an incredible 12 months for the company. New websites were also launched in both Jersey and Guernsey, which integrate the latest in technology.

Both websites and incorporate Channel Island-first technology. Transparent Vendor Management (TVM) was designed by Livingroom to communicate with clients at every stage of the selling process. Clients can log in and review the sale or letting of their homes with a full timeline of events, including sharing feedback from viewings and staying abreast of marketing plans. This valuable data will help clients to truly understand what is happening behind the scenes at what can often be a demanding time.

Significant investment has been made in both islands in new premises. The Jersey team occupies a prime 2,000 sq.ft split-level office with seven experienced staff members - adding in excess of fifty years’ experience from inception. The 18-strong Guernsey team also moved into brand new 4,000 sq.ft stand-alone premises in Guernsey’s capital of St Peter Port adding in excess of 100 years of cumulative experience in the local property market.

The Channel Islands have a combined population of around 165,000 yet the property markets differ greatly by island. Guernsey has a market for locally qualified residents, known as the Local Market, as well as an ‘Open Market’ which constitutes around 7% of the island’s housing stock, and on which anyone can buy a property.

Across a short stretch of water to Jersey, recent figures show that the average home costs £589,000, topping London’s average of £484,000. This is due to a healthy top-end market in Jersey of £1m-plus properties but a relative lack of properties in the £500,000 to £1m bracket.

In recent years both islands have made a concerted push to attract high net worth individuals from the UK and further afield through their respective relocation agencies – Locate Jersey and Locate Guernsey. A “Brexit boost” has led to more interest in the islands as stable jurisdictions which benefit from close connections to both the UK capital and mainland Europe.

As part of Livingroom’s expansion, Founder and CEO Simon Torode will be maintaining the hands-on approach that has proved successful so far by moving to Jersey to manage recruitment and growth of the agency.

“The decision to expand is not one we’ve taken lightly,” said Mr Torode. “We researched the Jersey market extensively and firmly believe that our focus on client service and dedication to marketing property in an innovative way will add value to the Jersey market.

“Our model is to grow Livingroom organically in Jersey, just as we did in Guernsey, and cement the business’ position as the Channel Island estate agent. Key to our ethos is our emphasis on customer service and quality creative marketing - our in-house creative talent really sets us apart from our competitors across the islands and further afield.

“Our ultimate aim is to bring inspiration to the Jersey property market. Moving home is one of the most exciting things you can do so the process should be enjoyable, not torturous. We’ve taken the first step to achieving this by putting a knowledgeable and ethical team in place who will work hard to understand what clients want and deliver on those requirements. We’re bringing quality and carefully considered customer service back to the Jersey property market.”

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