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Second time xaround


Just like getting spliced to a new partner in a registry office, agents and developers are finding themselves in new relationships when re-launching projects that went a bit awry during the worst of the credit crunch. A re-launch can be an exciting prospect, however, as Fairmist Homes, a branch of Cavendish & Gloucester, and its agent Halls in Bishops Castle, Shropshire, discovered. Taking on eco-friendly TheWintles in Bishops Castle after the previous developer, Living Villages, were no longer in this particular picture, meant a re- launch of sorts to sell homes in the final phase that should be completed in about a year. With the first two phases already sold, David Bryan-Jones from Halls (www.hallsestateagents.co.uk) says he believes they’ve been lucky, as there’s still a great deal of interest in the very green scheme, where residents can have their own on- site allotments and keep chickens, pigs and bees. “We re-launched in the local press, contacting local and national property editors,” says Bryan-Jones, who works with PR consultant Duncan Foulkes (01588 638755). “We’re also working in conjunction with a local movement, Household Energy Service, to be involved with an OpenWeekend. It’s naturally beneficial to us both to get people to see the energy-efficient and sustainable houses.” Since taking on TheWintles, Halls says three sales have been made already, which shows interest has


been regenerated. “There’s a domino effect,” suggests Bryan- Jones. “Once a few houses are built and people can see them, then more sell. The trick is getting footfall on site.” A new show home will launch over the OpenWeekend,with four different house types on the cards soon, giving potential buyers more to see. Halls says they spent half their marketing budget on print and half online when they kicked everything off, although when the new campaign is in full swing, they’ll put most of their cash into websites. MarkVanson from Fairmist Homes says the power of online advertising shouldn’t be underestimated. “Buyers at The Wintles are coming from places such as Somerset, Birmingham and Norfolk. They certainly didn’t find out about the scheme from the local press, but online.” A sympathetic relationship between agents and developers, just like a marriage, helps when it comes to sharing costs.Vanson says he’s been grateful for the agent’s zeal in putting information about the scheme on his website, as well as on other property websites. At the end of the day, however, there’s no substitute for getting people to come onto the site to look, touch and feel. “This is a very tactile scheme.We’re working in a difficult market right now, but people are becoming more receptive to buying new homes and you have to start somewhere to gain their interest,” adds Bryan- Jones encouragingly.


62| July 2011 showhouse


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