It was only a matter of weeks ago that MPL was debating the future of High Street estate agency branches. We wrote about Meyers in Dorset, who had chosen a business park over a shopping thoroughfare for the location of its new branch.
True to the unpredictable nature of property, the team here has since been discussing Agent & Homes – a hybrid estate agency model that has worked in a reverse fashion. After claiming at its inception that High Street branches were not necessary for success, it has recently added its first high-profile branch to its business portfolio, complete with distinctive shop front.
Previously, its self-employed agents worked in a decentralized fashion or could access an ‘off the beaten track hub’. Now a new public-facing branch of Agent & Homes in London’s Ladbroke Grove is enticing passing trade and serving as a place to meet with clients.
The agency owners were keen to avoid a ‘fish bowl’ look, working against the subliminal messaging that seeing into an office and watching agents at work somehow validates their authenticity, respectability and trustworthiness.
Although the above has been achieved, as the glass façade is partly obscured by a big marketing poster, the move to the High Street is one centred around brand visibility and endorsement. Therefore, it does need careful aesthetic management as, after all, there’s still a wall logo, outdoor signage and a livery-matched interior upholding the agent’s identity.
There is, however, an absence of property-driven window displays and the traditional desk set-up is missing. In its place is a mock living room, complete with groaning bookshelves, objet d’art and 1940s-inspired furniture. The brief was to create a friendly atmosphere where people can ‘pop in for property conversations in a relaxed environment’.
Here at MPL we have been fusing professional workplaces and more homely interior designs for estate agents for a number of years. Whether you have always been a bastion of the High Street, are opening your first ever branch or are transitioning from a central hub, contact us to start the design and planning process.