Expert property business disruptor Howard Bowes has the estate agency sector squarely in his sights with the launch of his latest business venture.
Bowes, aged 46, a native of Newport, believes the local property industry in Gwent needs a good shake up and that he and his hand-picked team are the right people for the job.
The bullish Managing Director of Newport city centre based Harvey Bowes Financial Services intends to provide what he calls an ‘alternative service’ with the launch of Harvey Bowes Real Estate,
Rougemont School, Newport, educated Howard, who is also boss of Harvey Bowes Private Finance, sees it as ‘natural progression’ to launch his eponymous real estate business.
“We have developed a strong Harvey Bowes brand and wanted that to be represented in our new business. People know Harvey Bowes, what it represents and are familiar with the current business. The real estate company will carry forward this business excellence into a new sphere and onto the next level.”
Bowes will head up the new business with Jo Owen as the real estate manager.
“We wanted to get the right structure from the start, so while expansion has created new jobs, we have been strategic and moved Jo Owen across from HBFS to full time real estate manager for Harvey Bowes Real Estate. Jo also worked as my personal real estate manager for my own portfolio.
“This in turn has created two new roles in the existing business; and two new staff started last month in preparation for the transfer. These two people have filled Jo’s roles in HBFS to allow the move. We are eager to continue growing and will now look to build the HBRE team over the next 12 months.”
Why has Bowes chosen this precise time to launch the new business?
“Timing is everything. We have monitored the market and thoroughly researched the requirements and expectations of property buyers in the region. With the uncertainty that has trickled into the market in the last few months we felt that this was an ideal time to provide an alternative service to the other agents currently serving Newport.
“Initially the estate agency will cover Newport and the surrounding area but there are plans to expand in due course. We’re aiming to recruit a further two people to the team before the end of the year and open a second branch in March 2024 and a new team within that new branch. We see a host of opportunities to grow our business in the Newport area and aim to grab these openings with both hands.”
“From our research we can see that Newport homeowners are looking for an agent that is able to fully utilise online opportunities while also having the stability of a traditional physical office. To that end, we are using our main Harvey Bowes Group office, in the centre of the city of Newport, which we have occupied since 2018 and purchased the freehold of in January 2023, as our main HBRE HQ.
“The key to our service is qualification. We don’t mean an obstructive approach of insisting interested parties provide proof of the ability to purchase before they are even allowed to view a property which has sadly become the custom in Newport. But, by asking the right questions and providing a consultative approach, we will employ a professional and welcoming balance.
“We’ll maintain a genuine, professional interest in the potential property viewers, find out what is important to them, what they need, their precise requirements and then recommend the correct properties. This is what we firmly believe home owners, selling in Newport, need.
“Then there is the matter of qualification just before an offer is put forward. Time and again we’ve seen an agent not undertake this properly and the proposed buyer not having the means to proceed to buy the property resulting the property being taken off the market wasting the sellers time. Or an offer is accepted but the agent does not chase it though.
“We’ll ensure that buyers are viewing properties that meet their specification and budget, then when they are looking to put an offer forward, we’ll make sure they are can afford it by proper and professional qualification. And then when an offer is accepted, we’ll keep the transaction progressing by good qualification and transaction progression.
“We bring our service standards as a professional FCA registered company into what we consider is a less regulated and slacker market place.
“We regard the property market in Newport and surrounding areas as being buoyant, with high demand and insufficient stock for sale. Newport is a great city with exceptionally good road links, easy access by motorway and rail to London, the Midlands, and west Wales. There has been an influx into this area of people moving from Cardiff and Bristol, the latter increasing since the bridge tolls were abolished and continuing now, years later. We don’t see this migration ending any time soon. It’s a universal economic benefit which we intend to exploit.
“Newport city centre is blessed with beautiful buildings and architecture and an exciting series of regeneration projects, from the proposed development of Drill Hall, on Lower dock Street, Newport to the new leisure centre and other riverside developments.
“The Friars Walk shopping centre has been a bonus for the city centre, understandably its seen a hit over the covid pandemic, but I firmly believe with things opening up this should pave the way for new occupiers to be attracted to and to fill, this modern and well-connected city centre.”