In the first of a series, we meet the real people at the heart of Hatched. This time, Swindon estate agent Ben Deacon tells us all about how hard he works for his customers, and sets the record straight about online estate agents.
Tell us about yourself.
I am Ben Deacon, I’ve been an estate agent for over 20 years and I’ve lived in Swindon for 40 years so I know the local area like the back of my hand.
What’s your role?
I am the Hatched Local Property Consultant for Swindon. It’s my job to meet face-to-face with our customers and those interested in selling with Hatched to guide them through the process, starting with a full valuation of their property. I’m also the Senior Consultant for the South of England. Along with the National Sales Director I provide training and support to our team across the South.
Tell us about Hatched.
We’re a mix of all the great things about online and high street estate agencies. We don’t have a physical branch, so we can pass those extra running costs on
as savings to our customers with cheaper selling packages and great value additional services. I believe our Enhanced package, for example, is unrivaled in the current market
Why should people choose you and Hatched to sell their home in Swindon?
People should choose Hatched because the packages we can offer are fantastic. Aside from what you’d usually expect, we also offer professional pictures, virtual reality property tours and very clever targeted marketing through social media. And it’s all at a fraction of the cost you’d be charged on the high street.
From a personal perspective, I have extensive knowledge of the area, schooling, house types and local builders.
What sets you apart from other estate agents?
I’d have to say my work ethic and sheer tenacity! This isn’t a standard nine-to-six agency, I’m always on-hand to answer the phone or reply to an urgent email. I’ll answer my customers’ calls till gone 10pm and I’m still checking my emails approaching midnight.
If customers want to see me for anything I’ll make the time to go and sit with them in the comfort of their own home and explain anything they may be unsure of.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
I can't narrow it down so I'll have to give you three different stages of a sale: the first is winning someone’s trust and being asked to sell their property – it means I’ve done my job of explaining Hatched well. Seeing the confidence in someone willing to experience a more modern way of selling property always brings a smile to my face.
The second is preparing the property descriptions and adverts for marketing. To me these have to stand out from the competition, and I like the quality professional pictures bring if the customer chooses to take that option – they look so much crisper and clearer online. The descriptions have to reflect the type of property and the type of buyer we’re aiming it at, so my 40 years worth of local knowledge is key at that point.
Lastly, when my customers receive an offer they’re happy with and our sales progression team take over, that’s the best bit by far. Not only do they receive great customer service, they have saved several thousands of pounds in fees in some cases.
Where are your favourite places in and around Swindon?
My favourite restaurant by far is Rick Stein’s place in Marlborough – the food and atmosphere is fantastic! The Sally Pussey’s Inn at Royal Wootton Bassett also does great food, and in my opinion, it’s the best carvery in town. There are lots of lovely country parks around Swindon that come in handy when the kids want to let off steam. Lydiard Park is our favourite, apart from the parking it’s a free day out!
What are some of your memorable sales in Swindon?
Let’s start with an easy one: Larchmore Close in Greenmeadow was a lovely detached house. The owners were a little sceptical about my valuation, but it went on the market on Monday, viewings were booked for Tuesday, and they accepted an offer on Wednesday morning!
Then there was Zakopane Road: a lovely top floor apartment owned by an even lovelier couple. It sold after two viewings and they now live a few doors down from me.
The hardest was Lavinia Walk. There were a lot of issues with the other side’s solicitors but myself and Mark from our Sales Progression team must have made over 100 calls and 200 emails to push through the sale on time. Online agents sometimes get a bit of stick because the level of service you get differs greatly and some bad ones bring the rest of us down. But that example shows what really happens behind the scenes, and how hard we work for our customers. It helped that Hatched’s conveyancing service is open late when others close at 6pm.
What is going on with Hatched right now in Swindon?
At the moment I’m working hard to get our brand out there and known in Swindon. We’re working on a great partnership with Stratton Juniors FC to be their shirt sponsor next season, so hopefully the brand will be a bit more familiar to people. In all the areas I look after, Hatched are selling homes in a short space of time. Our name is getting out there, and right now it’s a very exciting time for me and Hatched in Swindon.
Ben is one of the Hatched team of estate agents going above and beyond for their customers around the country. If you’d like to sell your property smarter, book your free no obligation valuation with your local Hatched estate agent now, or call 0333 999 7699.