Brendan Cox and Gary Brooks reflect on 25 years of Waterfords

News at Waterfords | 03/09/2020

In 1995, we both had a full head of hair and ambition to create a successful customer service led estate agency. We noticed that solid customer service was undeniably lacking in estate agency and wanted to change the perception of the property industry with our new venture.

25 years on, we have much less hair but still possess the same ambition and drive for running an independent and successful customer focussed estate agency. We are incredibly proud of our wonderful team at Waterfords. We have always carefully chosen the finest staff, based on their dedication to the customer and friendly personalities. 

Because of the dedication of our team and ambition to put the customer first, we are the number 3 estate agent in the UK for customer service on review platform Trustpilot. This is an achievement we are extremely proud of and we are delighted to have achieved this accolade in our 25th year of business.

We are looking forward to continued growth and success over the next 25 years. Watch this space and we hope we can be a part of your moving journey.


A history of Waterfords

In 1995, estate agents were predominately located in prominent High Street positions. All were reliant on walk in clients from the Hight Street and people responding to marketing material sent via mail.

Although computers were around, most estate agents operated with pen and paper and by licking many stamps! Property brochures were posted to potential buyers and advertised in local newspapers. It’s amazing how things have changed in 25 years.

Our first ten years in business were strong and far better than Gary and I imagined. By 2005 we had grown to numerous High Street branches in Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire and launched a successful Lettings and Land and New Homes Department.

In the early 2000s we embraced the world of ever-evolving technology and launched our website in 2005. This was around the same time property portals such as Rightmove started to gain traction in the industry and the way property was advertised was changing rapidly. We are proud that we have always been ahead of the game in terms of innovation and technology and were praised by the Sunday Times as being ‘unafraid to innovate’, an accolade we are incredibly proud of. 

It is ridiculous to think how we were the first local agent to have floor plans and colour copier for property brochures! Those days are behind us in today’s digital world, but we are proud to say we are still leading the way amongst local estate agents in terms of innovation and marketing technology.

Here for you in the toughest times

Arguably, anyone can be an estate agent when the property market is booming, but what about when the bubble bursts?

2007 was the start of a difficult time for the property industry and businesses in general. Northern Rock collapsed and 2008 saw the banking crisis take a hold on the UK economy. This has a serious impact of the property market over the following years and it wasn’t until 2011 that we started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We persevered through the financial crisis and managing a business through these tough times made us stronger and more successful. 

The latest crisis for UK business is of course, COVID-19 and lockdown. We are proud to say that we were one of the few estate agents locally that remained open with staff working hard from home throughout lockdown to support our customers. 

Unafraid to innovate

In the last decade estate agency has become far more regulated and as always we’ve stayed ahead of the game by working hard on our compliance process, ensuring our staff receive all the training they need to provide a seamless and trusted service. 

The digital world, social media in particular, has dramatically changed how properties are marketed. We continually invest in digital marketing and social media to make sure our customers properties are put in front of the right buyers. We are proud to persistently reach a bigger buying audience for our clients.

The latest spanner in works for all of us has been the COVID-19 pandemic. This has forced us into creating further methods of reaching out to potential buyers and tenants. We promptly reacted to the change in our customer’s needs by introducing virtual tours and livestream viewings to ensure our properties continue to be seen by the right people. Our instant online valuation tool and ‘video valuations’ made sure people could quickly get an estimated value of their property, despite lockdown. 

A thriving future

Despite the impact of COVID-19 on our business, the bounce back since the easing of lockdown in May 2020 has been incredibly positive. We have seen record numbers of activity in both the sales and lettings market in all areas Waterfords operate. We are also delighted to have completed on the acquisition of a highly respected local estate agent to aid the growth of Waterfords. Sapphire Estate Agents of Sunninghill became part of the Waterfords group towards in August 2020.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our previous, current and future clients for their trust in us to take care of them in one of the most important milestones in their lives. We are looking forward to what the next 25 years brings.

Brendan and Gary