Bernards Estate Agents was created in the mid 1980s, occupying an off-pitch office in Elm Grove, Southsea. I was given the fantastic opportunity to run the office from 1988, a boom time in the property industry that allowed the company to gain a foothold in this competitive business. My co-director and fellow shareholder Tarnia Simmons joined the firm in 1990. Between us we have enjoyed over half a century in serving our clients in Southsea, Portsmouth and the surrounding areas.
An office move to Palmerston Road in 1999 further strengthened our market presence and in 2003 we relocated again to our current flagship office in Clarendon Road, Southsea. With 2 floors housing 10+ staff, this high street office allowed us to grow our business that then focussed on letting blocks of flats, block management and the land and new homes sector.
Daniel Byrne joined the firm in 2009 bringing with him over 10 years' experience working at the highest levels of an independent agency. Daniel thrives on building sales and lettings portfolios and brought a more determined focus to enhance our presence in the residential sales market. Daniel's remit was to reinvigorate our Southsea office by investing in high quality staff, systems and marketing. This was a bold move in the grip of our most recent and uncomfortably drawn out housing slump, created by a worldwide economic crisis.
To further enhance our market presence, in 2012 we proudly opened our Waterlooville office. This branch occupies a prominent location at the southern entrance to Waterlooville town centre on London Road in modern, purpose built offices. Daniel joined the board of directors and took his rightful position as a shareholder in the company. The Waterlooville office has grown steadily, despite opening in a difficult market and now regularly outperforms many of our longer established competitors.
In 2013 we opened our Portsmouth branch on London Road, North End. Once again we secured premises that stand out from the crowd. The location offers dual aspect windows flooding the offices with natural light and offering great scope for our distinctive, high end illuminated LED window displays. James Derry was headhunted from a corporate competitor. James has helped the office thrive during a more positive uplift in the housing industry that has, at long last, seen an increase not only in everyday sales and lettings but also a resurgence in local, regional and national house building.
Since our humble beginnings in the 1980s, we are proud to state that Bernards has become one of the leading independent estate agents serving Portsmouth and the surrounding area. We now compete at the highest levels offering extensive experience in residential sales and lettings, commercial sales and lettings, land and new homes, property development, block management and financial services (through our in-house yet wholly independent financial services provider). Our three high street offices are further supported by a dedicated administration centre.
The primary reason that we believe that our business has flourished is down to our client orientated approach to all aspects of our business. Whether you are a home owner looking to sell your most valuable asset, a first time buyer needing guidance and advice, a new buy-to-let landlord or a tenant requiring a secure and comfortable home for your family, we really do care about making the process work for all parties involved.
It is not enough in this day and age for an estate agency just to proclaim that they are "the best choice". There are so many elements to making this business work. Our staff need to be willing, eager and keen to learn,as you never know enough in this industry. We look for candidates who have the right attitude and aptitude rather than slavishly employing those with "past experience". Estate Agency is a people business and always will be. We face modern day challenges from internet based offerings but these will never be able to do what a good high street agent can: to focus on the people involved in a transaction and resolve any problems that arise through effective negotiation (and often mediation)!
The Internet does of course have a role to play and that comes in the guise of being, without any doubt, the most effective form of marketing tool ever created. Estate Agents who embrace this technology, as we do, now have the greatest and widest marketing platform at their disposal.
Our aim is to continue to grow our business further and hopefully additional offices will feature in the not too distant future. In the meantime, we hope to continue supporting our local community through providing a quality service, bringing continued employment and supporting charitable events.
A fair indicator of a successful business must surely be demonstrated by its longevity in a highly competitive marketplace. We enjoy repeated referrals from our satisfied clients and we value and appreciate their recommendations. We have made many friends over the last 30 years or so when serving our community and hope to make many more in the future.