Big changes bring success for ELR

ELR Chartered Surveyor and Director, Nick Riddle'
ELR Chartered Surveyor and Director, Nick Riddle'

Eadon, Lockwood and Riddle, Sheffield’s longest-established estate agency, has seen many changes over the past 12 months, with the introduction of new shareholders and management team.

In spite of the challenging market, completed sales have increased by 18% and both the survey and lettings departments have been restructured to cope.

Managing director Chris Thomson said: “We had hoped for a small increase in sales over the first 12 months, maybe 5-10%, but we have surprised ourselves with the current position. There has been little help from the market, both job security and the access to funding has remained an obstacle, but we are all delighted at the progress made so far.

“We inherited some very capable and experienced staff, with the introduction of new systems and procedures, everyone has worked hard to hit targets and provide improved customer service.

“Recommendation is the best way of gaining business and many vendors have been kind in recommending our services.”

Eadon, Lockwood and Riddle was established in 1840. The firm has three branches in Sheffield and one in Hathersage, but property sales come from a wide area. Emma Jardine, the company’s newest shareholder, noted: “I was surprised how much the ELR name is recognised beyond Sheffield and the Peak; we are regularly invited to properties all over South Yorkshire, as well as Notts and Lincolnshire. With property available to view online 24/7, the branch location appears less important, providing good customer service is offered.”

The lettings department has been reorganised and new staff have been introduced. With the housing market approaching its sixth difficult year, more and more people are turning to renting whilst trying to save a deposit for their first home. ELR say running a lettings business isn’t as straightforward as some believe. Since the downturn in the sales market, many agents have turned to rental and property management, but it is a very different proposition to selling houses.

Lettings manager Kate Pope said: “Property sales and property lettings/ management are two very different businesses; once a house is sold and completed, the job is done, whereas in many cases, we continue to look after landlords properties for several years after their first tenant has moved in.

“It is a big responsibility, fortunately, in spite of the odd scare story the vast majority of tenants look after the property and pay their rent on time! We are seeing average tenancy periods increase, with many tenants treating the property as a home rather than temporary accommodation.”

The ELR survey department has also grown, with Chartered Surveyors Nick Riddle and Phillip Chapman carrying out professional work throughout South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Notts. As well as being busy with work from large corporate lenders, private work is also a major part of the business. Nick and Phillip both have over 20 years of experience in the local market and enjoy a varied schedule,

Director Nick Riddle said: “Every day is different, we can be doing a mortgage valuation in Dore, then on to an inheritance tax valuation in Rotherham, followed by a homebuyer’s report in Barnsley.”

He added: “Many people confuse mortgage valuations with surveys, the lender will insist on a valuation, but not always a survey, it’s essential to take advice on the most suitable report for the property you are buying. A few hundred pounds investment could end up saving you thousands of pounds in the long term.”

Chris Thomson said of future plans: “We realise there is still much work to do to continue developing and expanding the business, we do have one or two ideas, especially regarding putting the ELR brand into other locations. Hopefully these plans may come to fruition in year two, but in the meantime we’ll continue to work on what we have, and hope, with some improvement in the economy, we can all look forward to a more buoyant housing market over coming years’.

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