Northwood (estate agent)

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Northwood
Private
Industry Letting agent, Estate agent, Real Estate
Founded 1995
Headquarters Fareham, United Kingdom
Website www.northwooduk.com

Northwood is a network of letting and estate agents with over 85 offices across the UK dealing with residential property sales and letting.

The first Northwood office was opened in Portsmouth in 1995 and, after the opening of a number of other branches, was turned into a national franchise operation in 1999. Offices are now located in cities across England, Scotland and Wales. Northwood was the pioneer of the guaranteed rent scheme and continue to be the leading provider of the service.

The guaranteed rental scheme provides the landlord a guaranteed income irrespective of whether the tenant pays the rent or not and during any void periods. This service includes legal costs where possession is required. Northwood do not charge landlords any fee or commission.

History[edit]

The business began in August 1995, with a small office located on the south coast of the UK in Portsmouth, Hampshire by Andrew Goodson. The introduction of the Guaranteed rent offering proved hugely popular with Landlords who were risk adverse.

The business was initially called 'Residential Lettings' and offered purely the guaranteed rent product. The complimentary traditional letting services were introduced in 1997 to sit alongside the guaranteed rent offering.

The Franchise Company was formed in 1999 and the first office (then called Residential Lettings) was opened in Milton Keynes by Steve Frost.

The company changed its name in 2002 from Residential lettings to Northwood but kept the ‘keys’ Logo, until its rebrand in 2005 to the current Northwood brand and Logo with coincided with the introduction of Estate Agency throughout England and Wales.

The business has grown in terms of Guaranteed Rent, but also traditional lettings and sales services. In 2013, Managing Director, Nick Cooper lost his battle with pancreatic cancer and was succeeded by well known industry figure, Eric Walker, who was recruited by Nick himself. Walker was previously Group Managing Director of Bushells, a well respected London Estate and Lettings Agency. Northwood is currently expanding with a significant number of new offices planned.

In 2016, Northwood was acquired by Belvoir plc which is now the largest property franchise group in the UK managing in excess of 56,000 properties.

National Operations Director is the highly experienced Philip Gee who has over 30 years experience in sales, lettings and franchising.

Northwood first filed for a community trade mark (CTM) on the name Northwood in 2002 which continues to be renewed.

Corporate overview[edit]

The Board of Directors comprises; Gemma Goodson, Eric Walker (MD) Phil Gee (National Operations Director) Vikki Alexander (FD)

Northwood offices are located in most major towns and spans most of the UK with offices from Aberdeen in Scotland to Truro in Cornwall. There are over 85 Northwood offices across the UK employing over 400 people. Northwood offices hold client money protection and are regulated by either NALS, RICS or ARLA. Northwood was a founding member of SAFEagent. The company is hugely influential within the industry and the operational directors are key influences on policy and best practice.

Northwood currently has over 21,000 customers that it looks after on a day-to-day basis.

Types of Services[edit]

Most Northwood offices offer both Lettings and Estate Agency services. The majority of the company's revenue is derived from its Lettings services.

Northwood's key difference in the lettings market is its Guaranteed Rent service. With the service, Northwood essentially becomes the tenant, paying the landlord a fixed monthly rental income whilst taking away all the risk and hassle normally associated with letting out a property. Northwood then sub-let the property through an assured shorthold tenancy and manage all aspects of the same. Northwood takes on the risks and pays the landlord rent even if the tenant doesn't pay. They further cover any legal costs if action is necessary and even cover void periods. This is not done through an insurance policy and such there is no excess nor limitations of cover.

Business model[edit]

All Northwood offices are operated under a Franchise agreement, allowing the franchisees to operate within a specific territory, usually allocated on a postcode basis. This territory is normally generous enough for the franchisee to open between 1-3 offices. Additional territories can be purchased should the franchisee wish to do so.

Northwood franchisees are high calibre individuals who have prior experience in large companies, although not necessarily property related. All franchisees undergo a 10-year FSA approved screen prior to being granted a franchise. Northwood offers operational support from industry leading operations managers under the control of the National Operations Director, Phil Gee.

Northwood is accredited by The Guild of Letting Management to offer its franchisees a level 4 BTECH in residential property management, this is a year-long course with a final exam marked by Edexcel.