This summer, Mark and Michelle Smith celebrate five years of running their family estate agency business on Whitstable High Street. Since opening for business in 2012, they have gone on to receive a huge number of thank you cards from happy clients. The writing isn’t just in the cards, Mark Smith Estate Agents has become the town’s leading independent agent for property sales.
When Phil Spencer of Location, Location, Location (Channel Four), called into Mark Smith Estate Agents in Whitstable, he couldn’t help but notice the number of cards on display in around the office. Michelle Rafferty, the team’s sales progressor, recalls, “He was really surprised to see so many of our clients had taken the time to thank us for our efforts in selling their homes.”
We asked Mark Smith to tell us how this independent family business has been able to establish such a strong presence in Whitstable, carving out its niche between the corporate agencies.
Mark says, “It might look like we are battling against bigger, corporate agents, but really we see ourselves as a different kind of business altogether. Our approach is that there is just our clients and us. We don’t have shareholders and corporate targets: our focus is on delivering the best possible service to every single client.
“Our reputation means everything to us, we can’t walk away from the business, or blame a director higher up the tree. It makes a difference to the way we value homes, how we market them and how we progress sales to completion.”
The husband and wife team, have more than 40 years’ experience of selling homes between them. Alongside with their team – Nikki, Michelle and Kim – they have stacks of local and professional knowledge.
Michelle Smith says, “We want clients to feel that we are working for them and with them. If they can feel we are their personal adviser at every stage of their sale, then we are achieving our goal for customer service. Every sale has it’s stumbling blocks, but we know where to look for a resolution. We’ve handled all kinds of issues – from Land Registry omissions to missing FENSA certificates.”
Looking around the office at the thank you cards, she laughs, “I mean – in this age of emails and text – who sends thank you cards to their estate agent? We must be doing something special – even if we are only doing what every good agent should!”