I spent last Friday afternoon at the Hilton Hotel in the centre of Leeds. David Grindrod, of well known Leeds Chartered Surveyors, Wardle Grindrod, kindly invited me as his guest – along with Eddie Lumley of St James’s Place Partnership; financial consultant and Karen Conway of Wrigleys Solicitors. David’s office administrators Carol and Hilary completed our table.
We’ve all heard the jokes about estate agents. They come in for a fair bit of stick, along with damp and timber specialists, IFA’s and solicitors too, so we’ve all something in common. Surveyors also tend to get an unfair press; accused of always, “Covering their backsides” by some, particularly vendors, who don’t like the fact that a surveyor acting for a buyer, has picked fault with their pride and joy.
The truth is though, that like all professions, there is always a core of dedicated and highly professional practitioners, to counter the negative effect of a bad minority; even if they don’t get the lions share of publicity.
This is the case with the Association membership. They’ve had a tough few years; keeping staff employed and paying the bills, whilst improving standards and customer service is never easy.
Association president, Paul Lehan gave an upbeat talk and to much applause, called on the big five banks to do more to help first time buyers get on the housing ladder.
Businesses come and go, yet I found the room full of familiar faces, many of whom I’ve come to recognise over the past 30 years, surveying in and around Leeds. They’re fine examples of the dedicated core of people I mentioned earlier.
I won’t name them all, but I was delighted to see friends from Adair Paxton, Brooklands Robinson, David Moor, Manning Stainton and Waite & Co, all obviously enjoying the afternoon with their guests. A string quartet played us in and The Lord mayor and lady mayoress of Leeds were guests of honour.
Guest speaker was Gary Verity, CEO of Welcome to Yorkshire. He gave a humorous and fascinating talk on marketing the Yorkshire brand. Though Gary was preaching to the converted, it’s good to know that able people are spreading the message about the leisure and business opportunities available, here in Yorkshire.
My thanks go to David Grindrod for his kind invitation; it was good to see that the community of businesses involved in the Leeds housing market are doing fine – it’s been tough, but business is getting better and the Estate Agents of Leeds are more than up to the job.
Despite the event being held on Red Nose day, when most of us were already digging deep for a good cause, members had a quick rummage through their pockets and coughed-up another £500, this time for the Macmillan Nurses, who do such a fantastic job for those hit by cancer. Gary Verity also donated his fee for the day.
In his speech, Gary Verity said “ In any market downturn there are winners and losers”
Clearly, the Leeds membership is comprised of winners – They deserve our support.