LINLEY & Simpson has been awarded the highest accolade in the coveted annual Yorkshire Residential Property Awards.
It was crowned Best Estate Agency after judges singled out its innovation, dynamism and commitment to customer service for praise as part of a real home-grown Yorkshire success story.
They were also impressed by the residential sales and letting agencys growing role supporting good causes in the North and West Yorkshire communities where its 11 branches are based.
It was the first time the independent agency had entered the awards and beat challenges from Carter Jonas and Morgans to be judged best in class. The event raised money for Variety, the childrens charity.
Founding director Will Linley collected the award on behalf of the companys 161 staff from the TV presenter Jonnie Irwin, best known for fronting Escape to the Country and A Place In The Sun.
"There is no shortage of home-grown talent in Yorkshires thriving property sector and we are delighted that our approach has stood out and been recognised in these awards," said Mr Linley.
"The past year has witnessed the launch of an unprecedented range of initiatives as Linley & Simpson breaks new ground for both itself, and the wider estate agency sector, in a raft of ways."
"This award is a real endorsement of our determination to drive up levels of customer service to new heights as well as the skills and hard work of all our staff to achieve this."
"It marks one of the proudest moments since we first opened our doors almost 20 years ago and I would like to thank all our clients who have supported us throughout this journey."
"As a forward-looking agency, it creates a strong platform on which to build and explore new ways of taking forward the residential sales and letting sector into a new era."
Judges were impressed by a range of initiatives launched by the agency, including:
- Becoming the first agent to improve customer engagement by introducing Live Chat. It offers another and often preferred - way of reporting repairs, booking viewings etc.
- Responding to customer demand and pension freedoms by introducing a specialist Buy-to-Let Department with a unique facility on its website which enables investors to search for properties already vetted by us as ideal BTL opportunities, complete with potential rents.
- Investing a record amount to propel its digital capabilities into a new era, spearheaded by the re-launch of an ultra-responsive website and the recruitment of a social media expert. This has directly resulted in a 250% rise in website traffic from social media.
- Introducing dedicated Move Managers to help house sales go speedily and smoothly. These new roles have been pivotal in accelerating the average time from sale agreed to completion.
- Relocating its Wetherby office to bigger, better and more accessible premises.
- Expanding the business through four acquisitions of rivals in the last 12 months as part of our planned growth strategy.
- Pioneering an approach for letting flagship apartments on behalf of the Duchy of Lancaster that proved so successful, it is now replicated at other UK developments the client is letting.
- Smashing its target of raising £25,000 in aid of Martin House after choosing it as its inaugural Charity of the Year, It has again selected Yorkshires very own childrens hospice as the benefactor of our fund-raising this year which will include one day of volunteering during work time for all staff
- Piloting an initiative where clients are given a loyalty card entitling them to discounts at local businesses to support the local economy and jobs.
- Rolling out a new Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy has strengthened its links with charities, grass-roots good causes and the wider community, creating local jobs wherever possible. It has supported and sponsored everything from the Brownlee junior triathlon, to budding sports stars, to local schools, to Chapel Allerton Arts Festival as part of a "give back" scheme. This has broadened the agencys appeal to a client base which is moving towards choosing ethical companies.
Linley & Simpson is a home-grown Yorkshire success story. When Harrogates Will Linley and Ilkleys Nick Simpson pooled their expertise in 1997, their independent agency launched with two offices and just 6 staff.
Approaching its 20th anniversary after a record-breaking year, it now offers a network of 11 branches (four in Leeds, Harrogate, Ripon, Wetherby, York, Wakefield, Ilkley, Saltaire) and a team of 161.
It has helped over 100,000 people move into 40,000 homes.
Launched as a dedicated letting agency, it responded to customer demand by recently adding two specialist divisions residential sales, and land and new homes in a move which also helped it secure the 2016 Best Estate Agency title.