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Barrain Property Advisors

Barrain Property Advisors

Ehab Barrain owns Barrain Property Advisors, an estate agency that covers Canary Wharf and the surrounding area. He shares his experiences and the significance of providing excellent service, preparing for all scenarios, and utilising technology to streamline processes and make transactions more straightforward and quicker.

Ehab Barrain owns Barrain Property Advisors, an estate agency that covers Canary Wharf and the surrounding area.  He shares his experiences and the significance of providing excellent service, preparing for all scenarios, and utilising technology to streamline processes and make transactions more straightforward and quicker.

 

Barrain Property Advisors: Early Years and Passion for Real Estate

In 2016, at the age of 24, I began my career in the real estate industry by joining Foxtons. From the very beginning, I was impressed with the company’s excellent training programme and had the opportunity to listen to conversations from highly experienced professionals in the field. Immediately, I fell in love with the lifestyle of being an estate agent. I enjoy being out and about, not just working from the same desk daily. That was a significant factor for me, as well as meeting new people every day. I’m fascinated with property, and this career is the perfect opportunity to discover people’s homes and meet a broad spectrum of clients. The varied lifestyles we would encounter and the different styles clients would decorate their homes in a personal way that’s different from the next, and for me, that’s always been quite fascinating to see. These experiences have shaped my approach to business, and I strive to bring the same passion, dedication, and curiosity to Barrain Property Advisors. 

I have some fantastic memories, such as the first warehouse conversion I’d ever seen. It was a massive duplex with three bedrooms in Canary Wharf. The property was over 3,000 square feet, and I’d never seen anything like it. I remember my manager asking me if I liked warehouse conversions, and in my head, I was asking myself, what are these? He threw the keys at me and told me to go and see the flat and let me know what I think. I was amazed at the apartment, and I will never forget that day; it was one of the fondest memories of my first days as an estate agent. This experience taught me the importance of being open to new opportunities and learning from every experience, no matter how unfamiliar or challenging it may seem.

I have always been intrigued by discovering what different properties look like from the inside and meeting new people daily. An estate agency can be profitable if done correctly, as it is commission-based. As a successful agent, you’ve got the opportunity to make quite a good living.

 

Challenges and Growth

One of the biggest challenges of working in a hectic sales environment was that viewings regularly required excellent mobility, speed, and communication with colleagues. Imagine going out on a viewing and opening numerous doors for them, but someone else has the keys you need! You would then have to track down these keys whilst remaining professional in front of your clients. That was always a huge challenge, and it took me a while to master it. Another challenge is the market’s unpredictability, making it difficult to plan and strategise effectively. 

Also, when dealing with a high volume of listings, sometimes you need extra help, so you need to rely on some of your colleagues to share the workload. There are other challenges, such as when you start assisting clients in finding a suitable home. You can then take on an advisory role by understanding clients’ requirements and making appropriate recommendations.

One of the key lessons I learned early on was the importance of integrity in the real estate industry. Indeed, estate agents sometimes have a poor reputation, but I was determined to change that perception. I made it a point to invest in my clients, to show them that I was one of the ‘good guys ‘. I emphasised the value of openness and honesty, and I found that people were more comfortable doing business with me when they knew they could trust me. 

Thinking outside the box is a core skill of an estate agent. On the listing side, a widespread problem is the dates of property availabilities. You have a move in one week or need to move on a specific date. Last month, we had a tenant whose current tenancy expires on the 17th of April, and the property they loved was available on the 1st of May. It took us a couple of days to find a short let flat that wasn’t on the lettings market, but it was on the sales market. We discussed the situation with the vendor, and fortunately, he accommodated the tenant for a couple of weeks. The tenant and the vendor were happy with the outcome, and we provided a temporary solution for a couple of weeks until her dream home property was available. 

 

Entrepreneurial Vision

They always told us, from the get-go, to look at our role the same way you would if you were managing your own business. In the field, you manage your applicants, potential buyers, and tenants, working your diary or managing access with tenants. From an early stage, the idea was ingrained in us to look at how we do business as if it were our name above the door. By the time we progressed in our role, you began to grow, and soon, I realised that I would also have my own business one day. My entrepreneurial vision is to continue growing Barrain Property Advisors, expanding our services and client base, and becoming a trusted name in the real estate industry. 

That was the seed of thought about starting Barrain Property Advisors. Eventually, when I decided to leave, I didn’t want to join another company because the idea of running my own business was already there. 

The best advice comes from basic principles; being honest in this field is highly appreciated, highly regarded, and very rewarding because you deal with people who are highly sensitive to their investments. For example, if you are looking to buy a property, the risk element is a significant factor. You want to make sure you’re investing wisely, and that’s why people will be sceptical. Being honest with people and having genuine and transparent fundamental business principles is essential. At Barrain Property Advisors, we believe that honesty is the foundation of trust, and we strive to be transparent and straightforward in all our dealings.

 

Building a Reputation of Integrity

It’s been quite a lengthy journey, and the accomplishments could differ when you try to highlight them. I’m very grateful for my time at Foxtons; after only 15 months of joining the company, I was the number one top performer in the City and East division, which was a great accomplishment. My biggest accomplishment has been setting up Barrain Property Advisors. We have been trading for nearly three years, and our business has been thriving. What sets us apart is our commitment to providing excellent service, our in-depth knowledge of the local market, and our dedication to helping our clients achieve their real estate goals.

It’s also very encouraging that the feedback we get shows that we are different and that people believe in our integrity and what we deliver. We have built this reputation by always putting our clients’ interests first, being transparent in our dealings, and delivering on our promises. It’s enjoyable and satisfying to read every review on our Trustpilot page and Google and to see that clients have mentioned responsiveness, professionalism, and genuineness. This is very important in our industry, and it’s a huge accomplishment that we have built a significant presence in the local area in such a short time, and we continue to do so.

I’ve always greatly respected one mentor; he was inspiring and guided me on who I am today. That person once said to me: if you work to make money, you won’t – but if your goal is to focus on the core of your service and what you do, you will find that you will establish colossal success, and the returns will be even more than you expect now. He was right when I compared my previous careers and jobs with different companies to where I am now. He was my mentor for about two years, and this has set out my perception of any career I have had since. I’ve had many mentors throughout my career, but I have always shared this central principle. 

Many people in our industry are more focused on the financial aspect, and that’s a significant reason for their inability to deliver excellent and genuine service. If you ask people what they think of estate agents, they often say they are pushy or sales-driven. People are usually motivated and focused on how many transaction deals will happen. Our principles are about the service we provide. Sometimes, we advise our clients to refuse an offer because we believe that’s not the best option for them. When it’s your business, it’s more important that you give your clients the correct advice than just closing a deal to get the commission.

 

Adapting to Industry Shifts

We’ve gone through a lot in the last few years, starting with Brexit and COVID. More recently, geopolitical events like the war in Russia, Ukraine, and Gaza have all had an impact on the property market. The perception has changed several times, and it started with Brexit for overseas investors and international clients living in the capital. The perception of the UK in the eyes of overseas investors has changed from a financial lens since Brexit. 

Before COVID, we tried virtual viewings, but tenants would only opt for these if they were based abroad and couldn’t come to view the property. However, during COVID, we did most of our business via virtual viewings for nearly a year. People’s requirements have also changed due to COVID; more tenants now want extra space as they frequently work from home. Some residents relocated to areas outside London and vice versa, so a lot has changed. Fortunately, London is a fantastic city in terms of the real estate market; the principles will be the same, but people’s perceptions sometimes change. 

Technology is a big part of our industry. Most of our business is done through online platforms, and technology has significantly impacted us. How we market and advertise properties has changed in the past decade and will continue to do so. Some of our business operations are much more accessible, and we can finalise contacts quickly.

We offer our clients a portal, whether you are a seller or a landlord. Here, you can access your property listing and see progress on the marketing. The portal allows clients to see how many viewings have been booked and the feedback on what people think about their property—some clients like being more hands-on and enjoy monitoring and tracking what’s happening with the marketing. When finalising the paperwork, clients and tenants can sign all the necessary documents online. 

Technology also allows us to monitor the marketing and advertising of every listing; we can see how many people have viewed the listing online. Our CRM is another example, optimised to the latest technology. You can access the land registry directly from it, so it’s a brilliant tool. It gives you estimates of prices if you’re going for a valuation to provide clients with accurate information. But as much as technology has developed, having a human element is essential as an estate agency is a people’s business, and people like to talk to people. We want to work alongside the latest technology and look forward to seeing more excellent technology implemented shortly.

 

Legacy of Trust and Service

When handing over a set of keys, the smile on a new tenant or buyer’s face is the satisfaction we strive for. It’s priceless and a constant reminder that you do the right thing. It goes back to the principle of your service, and I love seeing what our clients say about us. Reading our reviews makes me proud, and they are very inspiring. We are very grateful to clients who are kind enough to share their detailed experiences. 

I want to leave a positive impact and be remembered as a trustworthy agent. We believe in people; everyone has the right to receive excellent service and be treated genuinely, transparently, and honestly. So this is my passion: keeping our legacy positive and our company going in the right direction because we believe in three central courses: integrity, transparency, and honesty.

 

Ehab Barrain

Tel: 020 3780 7911

Email: [email protected]

Web: www.barrain.co.uk

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