Estate agency Chanin Estates has gone from strength to strength since its launch in December 2014.
From its humble beginnings in a serviced office in Citibank , run solely by its determined founder Catherine Chan, the business has grown a committed and close team
It’s also moved south to Amsterdam Road on the Isle of Dogs.
After the firm scooped three awards at The Wharf’s Property Awards 2017 - in the Small Agency, Sales Support and Sales Negotiator categories - it hopes to expand its reach across London.
We went down to meet the team.
Managing Director: Catherine Chan
Catherine already had a decade’s experience in the property sector under her belt when she decided to set up her business just under three-years-ago.
A single mum of two daughters aged eight and 12, Catherine refuses to be phased by her competitors.
She said: “There’s a lot of competition with estate agencies but when you provide a good service, when you know the area and you talk about your experience, clients see that and they have confidence in you.
“If you’re a landlord and you’re renting your property, or if you’re putting your property up for sale, you want to feel like you have someone who knows the industry and knows the area as well.
“I really believe you need that personal experience. I’m not too worried about online agencies either because it’s that personal touch that people want.
“Brexit is causing a bit of uncertainty and fear with someone people, but the property market is strong enough. We really aren’t too worried.”
She added: “I opened up my business and I’ve never looked back since. I’m a single mum and I had some sudden changes in my life and it made me want to better myself, for me and for my children. They are my motivation.
“I’ve always wanted something of my own. This is what I’ve always wanted to do with my life, and life is about taking risks. You only get one life and it’s not a rehearsal. You just have to tell yourself that everything is achievable.
“The team here are like a family, maybe because I mother everyone! We help each other and we work together, and we have a passion for our jobs.
“Everything we do is to get the best we can for our clients.”
Assistant Manager: Ricardo Khan
Ricardo only started at Chanin Estates two months ago, but said he already feels a firm part of the family.
He said: “I’ve been working in property for about 10 years. I used to be a personal trainer and then I gave this a try and I just loved the fact that every day is different. You never know what each day will bring you.
“It’s an interesting market at the moment. There are so many properties out there, and it’s very competitive, and you also have Crossrail coming which I think is going to be a really good thing for the area. It’s going to bring some regeneration that’s really needed.
“Brexit has also been an interesting one. There was an initial slow down when everyone panicked, but once people stopped panicking it picked back up. It hasn’t affected the market too much. People still need to rent or buy and they still need a roof over their heads. I don’t think it will be as bad as people expected it to be.”
Ricardo added: “This is a really family-oriented office. Everyone gets on really well. Your typical estate agency is less close, and a bit more competitive and cut throat with each other, and this isn’t like that at all.
“We do everything we can to make sure the client is happy, even after they have moved in. We pride ourselves on customer service.”
Sales Consultant: Kiera McCarthy
Kiera fell into working in the property sector when, aged 17, she saw an estate agency office being refurbished and asked the owners if they needed an office administrator so she could earn money while studying at college.
11-years later and Kiera scooped the prize for the best sales negotiator at The Property Awards 2017. She said the key to her success is building good relationships with her clients.
She said: “I had never planned to get into property but I just fell in love with it.
“Obviously to work in this sector you have to be a good negotiator and you want to make the sale, but for me it’s not about money making. It’s about good service and building relationships, and that’s why I enjoy my job.
“So much of sales depends on the individual personal circumstances of the client, which is why it’s so important to get to know them and understand what they want.
“When you know you’ve got the best for a client and when you get feedback from happy customers, that’s what makes me proud.
Lettings Negotiator: Rudy Obeng-Asare
Rudy graduated from Kings College London in July this year, after finishing his degree in biochemistry, and started working at Chanin Estates after a chance encounter with Catherine.
He said: “She moved me into a property when I was going into second year. We got on really well and I had a bit of marketing experience, so I offered to help her with marketing and social media and things like that. Then in the summers I started to do lettings.
“For me, one of the things I really like about lettings are the people you meet. There’s a property for everyone. You have to be almost like a detective and work to understand people and what it is they want. If someone is a complete stranger then it’s important to build up a rapport with them.
“There are quite a lot of properties in the lettings market right now, which is great but it means people have a lot of options so they take longer to make a decision.
“We deal with both sides - the students looking for a cheap rent and also international clients who have money and want to make sure they rent the nicest flats on offer.”
Rudy added: “It’s just all about communicating with your client. It saves everyone a lot of time and money.
“The most important thing is to know what they are really looking for, and then you can go from there.”
Administrative Secretary: Niharika Samuel
At just 21-years-old, Niharika already has an enviable CV: administrative secretary at Chanin Estates and due to finish her architecture degree at the University of Greenwich this summer, she also won the best sales support prize at the Property Awards 2017.
But, as Niharika says, it’s all part and parcel of what she has to do if she’s going to reach her aim of being a millionaire by the time she turns 30.
She said: “I have always wanted to be in property. I would love to get into a sales role and get to be out and about and meeting people, although I’ve loved my in-house role too.
“Really, I want to build my own empire one day. I really look up to Catherine and the way she built her business from the ground up. I want to be an entrepreneur like her.
“I don’t know exactly how I’m going to make sure I’m a millionaire by 30, but I always said I would be and it’s good to have a dream!”
She added: “I would definitely say I have a supportive boss. She’s been really fantastic with my degree, and wants me to work hard and finish it. She knows it’s important and wants me to do well.
“We’re like a family. Everyone is chilled with each other. We work hard and make money but it’s not a backstabbing environment. I know sales jobs can be ruthless but it’s not like that here. It’s been a great experience for me.”
For Sale: Webster Road, SE16. Guide price: £625,000
This two-bedroom, two-bathroom mid-terrace modern house has a large living room leading off a semi-open plan kitchen, a separate reception room and a private garden to the rear.
To Let: Port East Apartments, E14. Guide price: £775pw
This two-bedroom apartment extends to 998sq ft of living space, boasts original features such as exposed brickwork and wooden beams and has a balcony with stunning view of Canary Wharf.
For more information, visit the Chanin Estates website .
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