We caught up with Lou Fletcher from Piccolo Property Services based in the Salisbury area, in Wiltshire, to talk all things lettings and property management related, and we even get introduced to office dog, Ebble. Piccolo Property Services is definitely one to watch, with a new Sales department in the pipeline, as well as an impending charity selection for the office to support.
I fell into property ‘by accident’ in 2000 when I moved to Salisbury on an Army posting with my husband and got a part-time job with Jolly Property Services. I soon discovered that this was my vocation in life, and I loved every aspect of the job. Over 20 years later, I still love pretty much every part of the job. My two daughters have long since left home, and last month, my husband and I moved out of Salisbury and into Bowerchalke, a small village in the beautiful Chalke Valley.
We probably have the best view of any estate or letting agent in the area! Our office is located in The Old School; a Grade II Listed building, which is right opposite the beautiful Italianate Church. Wilton is a quintessential Wiltshire market town with a history spanning more than 2,000 years. We are just a stone’s throw from the town centre and fortunate that there is plenty of parking close by. Currently, we are the only estate and letting agents based in the town and the majority of our clients come to us by word of mouth.
My day always starts with 30 minutes of restorative yoga; I find this sets me up for the day and means I’m ready for whatever challenges the day may bring! There is no such thing as a typical day, but it always starts with a great big mug of Earl Grey tea and quite often involves a little visit to Reeves the Baker to pick up treats — cheese straws are definitely the team favourite!
Most of our clients come to us from personal recommendation, and we definitely seem to attract a certain type of customer. There seems to be a real change in the sort of customer service that people want, and the Piccolo team is friendly, courteous, well-informed and efficient. We also get customers who like our branding, which is a bit quirky and fun.
There is a fabulous selection of independent retailers and cafés, a traditional market on a Thursday, nice pubs, Wilton House and The Guild — a vibrant community of makers and doers in a place where people can enjoy shopping, eating and spending time together. There are a great selection of properties, both new-build and historic, all easily accessible and located in a stunning area of Wiltshire countryside. What’s not to love?!
As with most rural areas, we have seen a huge number of people wanting to relocate to the countryside, and there is no sign of this demand slowing down. The market remains buoyant, demand is high at all levels and consumer confidence is strong.
We are currently looking for a new local charity to support, so watch this space.
Where do I start?! I passionately believe that the Housing Minister should have personal and real experience of the property industry. For a department whose decisions affect every single person in the country, it is shameful that Housing Ministers come and go with such alarming regularity. There seems to have been a ‘housing crisis’ for as long as I can remember but if I could change just one thing, it would be to overhaul the social housing system.
1. Get a qualification!
2. Learn about buildings; whether you are interested in sales or lettings, knowing about the type of properties in your area is a huge asset.
3. Hone your IT skills, and make sure you are really familiar with all the different APS and platforms, which agents use to streamline their businesses.
4. Know your area! Study the map, drive around, get to know the streets, the schools, the shops and most importantly the pubs!
5. Study the law! Property law is incredibly complicated, but sound knowledge is an essential part of the job.
6. Master property photography and video. Good photographs and video are an essential marketing tool, so learn the tips of the trade and be creative.
For me the most important things are the location, the outlook and the character — these are the things you can’t change. My perfect home also has a big kitchen with room for comfy chairs, a nice space for doing yoga and easy access to lovely, long, dog-friendly walks!
Learn more about the importance of location and how to choose the right location for you here.
Up until recently, we have been a lettings-only agency, but we are now branching out into sales. Our first sale went through in just 28 days from acceptance of offer to completion!