To mark the 30th anniversary of estate agency Andrew Granger & Co, some of the company’s long-serving personnel talk about their time at the company and the changes that they have seen. Here, Director of Residential Lettings Jill Griffiths talks about her experiences of working at such a well-known local agency.
I have been working at Andrew Granger & Co for over 20 years having been originally employed to work part-time building up a rental portfolio. However, within a month, my ‘part-time’ position had become full-time as I started to develop the considerable local lettings potential.
Prior to coming to Andrew Granger& Co, I had spent many years working in foreign banking in the City of London. One of the attractions of making the move from banking to estate agency was the prospect of taking on a less stressful local job working in property which had always been an industry that had interested me. In fact, I already had experience in the rental industry on a personal level, as I had a small portfolio of student lets in Northampton at the time. I had also purchased and renovated a number of properties, so I felt that I would be well qualified for the position.
Over the last two decades my role has changed completely. The private rented sector has experienced a massive period of growth. Parallel to that growth has been a complete change in legislation, with everything becoming much more carefully regulated. This has had benefits for both landlords and tenants, but has created significantly more paperwork with stricter regulations to follow.
Having also become a director in the company during that time, I have taken on more responsibility overseeing and managing the thriving lettings department. In fact, we now manage properties for around 1,000 landlords across the East Midlands, making us the one of the largest independent lettings agency in Leicestershire.
When Andrew Granger & Co was first set up in 1989, it operated from a small office on St Mary’s Road in Market Harborough with just five people. Although the company has grown significantly since that time, when I started working there, we were based in a small office on The Square next to Hobbs the fishmongers. At that time, there were only seven of us, including the sales and our accounts department; in fact, it was two years before I employed any additional staff in the lettings team.
The change in the industry that has had the most significant impact has probably been the introduction of buy-to-let mortgages. This allowed the industry to flourish at a time when values were increasingly rapidly. The introduction of ever more stringent regulation has also been another significant area of change that as agents we have had to work hard on to ensure compliancy for our clients.
In my opinion, the secret of our success has been down to offering a professional service based on great local knowledge which centres on providing the very best service for our clients. Being an independent agency has enabled us to make decisions quickly and maintain a closer professional relationship with tenants and landlords – despite our growth over the last two decades, I am always available to our clients, some who have been with me from the start.
I love the variety of the work – every day brings something different and interesting. I also value the opportunities that our founder Andrew Granger himself allowed me to pursue – not forgetting talented and dedicated staff who have helped me along the way. As a director of the company I am proud of our many achievements and good reputation in the local area.
Moving location to a bigger office at 52 High Street in Market Harborough holds a lot of memories. I remember the constant trips to and from The Square to move all our files which I did not trust to the removal team! I also recall the buzz of opening a new office in Leicester city centre and the exciting challenge of helping to set up the lettings team there.
I love working in Market Harborough; it’s a fantastic place to work and live. The fact that it offers such easy access to London is a huge bonus. I like to be able to pop out and buy almost anything and support the varied range of local shops. I’m particularly fond of shopping and there are some really good clothing shops here!
The last two or three years has seen a lot of change within the lettings industry. The key challenges have really been keeping abreast of the constantly changing regulations as well as training staff to industry standards and retaining good staff. Every business has the same challenges, but the property sector has had more than its fair share recently!
Jill is a member of the Association of Residential Letting Agents as well as a member of National Association of Estate Agents.
If you are looking for advice on any aspect of property including selling, buying and rental as well as planning and professional services, rural and equine, you can contact Andrew Granger & Co on the following numbers: