Surviving boom and slump in the property market

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Estate agents have opened and closed and others have shifted the emphasis from sales to lettings in Spalding over the past ten years with the boom and slump of the property market.

Founder director of AP Sales Angela Newton, who’s just retired and with fellow director Jill Kirby sold the firm to Boston company Hill Clark, is proud that it’s one of the survivors.

She left before Christmas but is nevertheless still ‘completing work in progress,’ and jokes that she can’t help continuing to refer to AP Sales, which has kept its original name and identity, in the first person plural.

Jill Kirby, who’s been at AP Sales for 24 years, has stayed on as a local director.

Angela said: “Alan Porter and I launched AP Sales and Cattle Market Auctions in 1985 from an office in Winsover Road, and built the business up from there.When Alan retired in 2005, Jill became a director with me.

“Today we consistently come out top in the town on the Rightmove website, and even in the toughest times we’ve not struggled.

“Where some agents reacted by going into and over almost entirely to property rental, AP Sales did lettings from day one, and now the proportion is two-thirds sales to a third lettings.

“Jill and I are both fully qualified members of the National Association of Estate Agents and were keen to sell to a similar professional company intent on continuing the professionalism and offering the quality service we and our staff had given, and I believe that Hill Clark is just what we were looking for.

“Through the years we’veadvertised across two property pages in the Lincolnshire Free Press every single week because we knew customers want to see their property in the local paper - they like to see their agent is working for them.

“We were the first agency in town to open on Sundays, and though our opening hours were reasonably long anyway, from eight to six, we’d be prepared to work outside them to fit in with customers’ convenience.

“Keeping a high local profile, having high professional standards and a highly professional and well-qualified staff, and giving excellent service and going the extra mile for our customers have been the secrets of AP Sales’ success.”

Angela reckons that the property market in Spalding has held upwell in comparison with many other places because property prices remain lower here, so larger properties are still selling to people coming from much more expensive homes in the South, releasing a number of down-sizing cash buyers for middle-range houses in the area.

She’ll devote time in retirement to her duties as district councillor, school governor, anorganiser of Spalding In Bloom and chairman of both the Johnson Hospital League of Friends and Voluntary Car Scheme. She also plans to stand as a county councillor.