Want To Cash In On Your Knowledge of Chiswick?

Local property firm offers residents the chance to become new-style agents

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If you’ve lived, worked or been brought up in Chiswick you’ll know that Grove Park borders Chiswick House and the river, and that the High Road is a short walk from Bedford Park and the Glebe Estate.

You’ll probably also have an idea of school catchment areas, and know that the 94 bus gets you to Westfield Shopping Centre in minutes. You may even have some scoop on the local celebrities or know where you can park without getting a ticket or caught on camera.

But what you may not know is that there’s a way of capitalising on these insights to supplement your income - by showing prospective buyers and tenants around properties on the market in Chiswick. If you manage to convert a viewing into an offer, you then pass it to a professional estate agent to negotiate the deal. If the sale goes through, you earn a percentage of the fee.

Christian Harper of local estate agent Oliver Finn, “There seems to be an unwritten rule that you have to wear a dark suit and sit behind a desk on the High Road to be an estate agent. Well in fact you don’t. Intelligent locals have more business acumen and community spirit than most estate agents.

“Who would you rather have to show you around a property - a nice-but-vague rookie with a diploma and a long commute to W4, or a retired professional who knows Chiswick past and present?”

Marketing properties in Chiswick

However it’s not just long-term residents that Harper hopes to attract, but also people who would quite like a change of career, or are interested in the property industry, but who cannot commit full time. “In most estate agencies, you have to work weekends and evenings, whereas on this scheme you can work whenever you like.”

So you could be a full time parent who can spare three hours a day between the school runs, or you could already be working from home, but looking for another income stream. Although candidates don’t need a track record in estate agency, they must genuinely like people, and enjoy dealing with them in a business context.

Knowledge of the neighbourhood and the community are the most important qualities, whether its childhood memories of the area - local schools, parks and the cricket club - or the nearest GP practice or NHS dentist.

Most local households need two incomes to pay the bills, and with rising unemployment and redundancy, lots of families are feeling the pinch, so this offers a new way of earning says Harper. “Home workers now account for nearly 30% of the national workforce and bearing this in mind, we have invested in a state-of-the-art infrastructure that allows our team to work remotely and seamlessly, without the need to come into our offices.

“We provide phones linked into our new VOIP system – you simply plug the phone into a router, and if you’ve already got a decent broadband service that’s all you need to get started. You are then set up to answer calls from prospective buyers or tenants looking for flats and houses in Chiswick, just the same as the people sitting in my office.”

When an enquiry comes in, everyone’s phone rings at the same time, regardless of their location. The first person to answer the phone gets the enquiry and it’s down to each individual to take the call or not. The idea is to convert calls to viewings, and viewings to offers. The structure is simple and flexible - part time, full time or even night time – every now and then, or around-the-clock.

“At this point, the prospects are assigned to our in-house professionals to negotiate,” says Harper. “If the sale goes through, you invoice me for 25% of our fee. You can’t get fairer than that”.


April 22, 2009