The neighbours must have wondered what was going on at No.69 Fortess Road in the early summer, as workmen moved in to completely transform the ground floor into smart new offices occupied by Ringley, Chartered Surveyors.
But the story really began nearly four years ago, in December 1995. No. 69, had once been a factory where they manufactured glasses. But by 1995 it been empty for at least four years and was completely derelict, home only to a few spiders and pigeons who enjoyed living there undisturbed.
Enter four young chartered surveyors, who were determined to succeed. The following months saw them not only making the ground floor into an office, but also working round-the-clock to introduce themselves to potential clients, not only locally but throughout the entire London area.
Having decided at the beginning that they would concentrate on estate management, they approached all the major development companies, emphasising the quality of the services they could provide.
Over the past four years, their hard work has paid off, and today they are able to list names such as Furlong Homes, Western Homes, Berkeley Homes, Dencora Plc and Charmac among their many satisfied clients.
The estates they manage vary in size from just a few flats, such as 239 Old Brompton Road SW5, to Palace Court in Bayswater, a complex of 96 luxury flats complete with gymnasium, where they are totally responsible for collection of service charges and ground rents, cleaning, caretaking and cyclical maintenance. Their involvement does not just start when an estate is finished however. Normally a developer will come to them in the initial stages with plans of what they propose to do. Ringley then advise them how much the estate would cost to run and what services need to be provided. It is quite usual for them to be fully involved throughout the development, bringing their expert knowledge to the project to ensure that everything will run smoothly when the contract is finished.
From their small beginnings in the front half of the ground floor, hidden away from the general public and un-noticed by most of their neighbours, Ringley have grown so that they now have ten staff instead of the original four, and occupy not only the whole of the ground floor but a further 600 sq.ft. in the lower ground floor as well, and will shortly be expanding into the floor above. They also have branches in Somerset, Kent and Middlesex.
One of the sections that they particularly want to develop is the valuations department, where they specialise in leasehold enfranchisement under the Leasehold Reform Act, acting for both landlords and tenants. This is very much a growth area, and complements the normal valuation work they do for homebuyers, banks, building societies, etc. they are currently on the panel for Nationwide Business Finance, NatWest and others.
Following on from estate management and valuations, their newest department deals with sales and lettings where, since they started just a month ago, they have already made their mark on the local area of 25 properties registered with them, they have already sold five. One of their biggest problems, however, is finding a sufficient number of high quality properties to let to the clients on their books; they also have a high demand for properties for sale.
The service that Ringleys offer does not stop there; they also have a portfolio of investment properties all over London, although with the highest concentrations in the in the north and central areas; they have varied in value from £200,000 to £15m. Recently they sold a block of studios and one bedroom flats worth £3m in Bayswater.
Among the many projects with which they have been involved are the redecoration and refurbishment of 96 flats in Pinner, the development of a prestige block of 33 flats in Goswell Road, N1 and Highlands Village in Enfield.
Perhaps the main reason for their continued success and increasing client base is the sheer professionalism of the service they offer. They are estate agents, but estate agents with a difference, since all senior staff are members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, with all that means in terms of knowledge, professionalism and accountability.
To them, clients matter, whether they are a multi-million pound developer or a shop assistant looking for a flat to rent.
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