Christopher Watkin is a renowned property journalist who guides, supports, mentors, consults, counsels, and partners with hundreds of UK Letting & Estate Agents in their quest to grow their lettings and estate agencies businesses. He invited our MD Rachel Ritson to his studio in Grantham for a series of video interviews all about the property industry. This is the first in our video series:
(Chris:) Hi it’s Chris Watkin here and I am joined by the wonderful Rachel Ritson who is an estate agent from Cumbria and has been described by Property Academy’s Peter Knight as one of the best estate agents in the UK.
Thanks for joining me today Rachel. Now you didn’t know I was going to ask you this question, but are you a member of the Property Academy?
(Rachel): I am, yes.
(Chris:) Which is basically a jolly club of estate agents and letting agents from all around the UK. So I want to ask you “Why are you a member of the Property Academy? By the way, Peter Knight MD of the Property Academy does not know this video is taking place! So, Rachel, tell me what the hell do you give them all your money for and what do you get back in return? Talk to me…
(Rachel): Gosh! The Property Academy – I think I joined about eight years ago and I definitely felt like a little fish in a very big pond back then, but that was fine because the learning environment is second to none in terms of the quality you get.
(Chris:) So you meet up with fellow agents from the North West, there are no competing agents is that right?
(Rachel): Well they’re right across the UK so for quite a number of years iI was the one doing most of the travelling, but it’s broadened over the years and there’s a few more Northern agents in there now.
(Chris:) So it’s my understanding every two months you go to one agent’s office, is that right?
(Rachel): Yes that’s right.
(Chris:) And you listen to someone chat, sometimes Peter’s there, sometimes he’s not, is that right?
(Rachel): No, Peter is in our group, he is always there.
(Chris:) And is it what you get from Peter, and the visiting speakers? Or is it what you get from the fellow agents in the room? Or is it a bit of everything?
(Rachel): It’s all of that. So you know, the Peter element, the speaker element, realising – certainly for me – I would say there’s very little cross-over between agents – especially where we are in West Cumbria, so at times it can be quite lonely running a business alone and you think you’re the only one with those problems. Then you meet up at the Property Academy and you realise you’re not the only one in that boat. So we meet up the night before to chat and there’ll always be somebody who’s been there, done it and got the t-shirt on. So they can give you advice and what’s lovely is that there’s no hidden agenda. I’ve very often felt, and probably still do to a degree, I probably take away more than I give, because my business is small, but the advice and the support you get in a lovely warm friendly environment definitely feels like a family.
(Chris:) So you are running your own estate agency, you’re on your own but you’re not alone?
(Rachel): Yeah absolutely.
(Chris:) So what has Peter done for you particularly in your business as well?
(Rachel): I think I’m naturally quite a cautious person, so you know I can go to Peter whether I’m thinking about doing this or thinking about that, and he straight away will broaden my horizons and make me think ten times bigger than I initially would… Which is so thought provoking and it might be then you drill it down a little bit and obviously you need the detail behind it, but to to open up those additional thoughts is just so healthy.
(Chris:) So what would your message be to any estate agent who is feeling a little bit out on their own? What would your message be about potentially joining the Property Academy?
(Rachel): I think you might look at the monthly subscription and think ‘oh that’s a lot of money’ but what I’ve gained back from that in terms of the the actual black and white return on investment has been huge, along with the learning that you get away from the bi-monthly meetings by still being in contact with other members. So 100% it is a massive return on investment. It’s opened my horizons, my thought processes, the advice & the support that you get, it’s 100% worth it.
(Chris:) Thank you for your time today Rachel. Boys and girls, Peter or the Property Academy don’t even know this video is taking place, and they certainly haven’t paid me or given me any consideration for it. Other affiliate schemes are available, such as The Guild or Relocation Agent Network or The Federation of Independent Agents, and my recommendation is that you do check all of those out, but also seriously consider the Property Academy. I know an awful lot of agents who rave about it and I thought as I’ve got a lot of time for Peter and what he does for our industry, and I know you have as well Rachel, so it’s just our way of paying back some of that debt to what he has done for the industry. I think it’s exceptional so thank you for your time today.
Rachel and Chris discuss property industry qualifications, in light of the impending Regulations of Property Agents legislation looming on the horizon.
Rachel discusses how as a single mum of 3 children under 5, she became self-employed and started her journey building Grisdales Estate Agents.
Rachel and Chris talk pandemic troubles!