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Last Word with Jill Bennetts, Regional Manager, Freeman Forman Tunbridge Wells

J Bennetts Head Shot

Describe your property career to date.

I began my estate agency career in quite an unusual way. I owned a farm in East Sussex from which I ran a successful equestrian business and having decided to have a change of lifestyle I sold it through my local estate agent Freeman Forman. Having got to know the staff really well and had a good experience with them as a customer the sale was completed and they approached me asking whether I would be interested in working for them. I immediately accepted.

What do you enjoy most about your job and what are the highlights?

The thing I enjoy the most about my job is people. I am a people
person and having the pleasure of being involved with people every
step of the way through what can be an exciting, challenging and
often stressful experience where you can be on hand to take them
through that process is so rewarding. I have been fortunate enough
to start from being a sales negotiator up to my position now as
Regional Manager looking after all of the Freeman Forman offices
so I have experienced all of the highs and lows, worked my way up
the career ladder and now have the amazing job of helping others
do the same alongside being able to advise with hands on
experience which I believe is invaluable.

Describe the biggest challenges.

As an estate agent one of the biggest challenges is when you have
to explain to a customer that their move will not happen because
their buyer has decided to withdraw from the sale. It’s heart
wrenching but as a professional and in often difficult circumstances
you have to be the one who visits them to explain why and to pick
them and the pieces up and start again.

What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in
estate agency?

JUST DO IT! It is a fantastic job. You are dealing with real life, real
people not numbers and spread sheets, and you are genuinely
helping people, it makes a real impact on their lives. Houses are
not a monetary transaction they are a dream, often a stepping
stone in lives and they are the most emotionally charged purchase
a person can ever make.

What advice do you have for homebuyers in the current market?

If you are considering selling your home don’t hesitate, everything
is relative if you are buying and selling. The market is as good as
your estate agent makes it; a proactive and positive agent will get
you the best price for your property. It’s all about attitude not politics
and doom and gloom.

What sets your area apart?

Kent and Sussex is the most beautiful place to live (I can give this a
personal recommendation!) Amazing location, beautiful scenery,
excellent schooling and superb transport links to London, what
more could you want?

What do you think lies ahead for your market?

The market is strong across the board. The country market is
always there with a steady stream of buyers from London who are
making the move to a new life in the country and to set their family
up to attend the best schools (both state and private) in our area.
What’s not to like when you have country life within a short journey
of the bustling city of London?

Recent highs, recent lows

The absolute high for Freeman Forman is that despite the
pessimism thrown out daily by the press regarding the property
market we are busy with competitive interest in our properties.
Lows? None

What is your top location in Kent and Sussex?

Very difficult there are so many. For me The Pantiles in Tunbridge
Wells on Thursday Jazz night having a drink with friends,
alternatively sitting next to the moat at Bodiam Castle feeding the
ducks (and the carp that love the bread!).

If you were not an estate agent, what career would you choose
and why?

Tricky! I would still work in property in some form. I’m addicted.

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