Get to know the Williams and Donovan Sales Team. We’re having a chat with Darren Eldridge today, Manager at the Benfleet Sales office and we're talking all things property, football and photography.
Darren sits within the W&D Management team and plays a big part in the growth and development of the business.
Darren, how long have you worked with Williams and Donovan?
I've worked for Williams and Donovan in the Benfleet office for three and a half years and I've been working in the property industry for 10 years.
What do you love about working in the property business?
Honestly, for me, it's all about making people's dream moves happen. We are in the privileged position to help make those dreams a reality.
I always get a buzz when we start to get lots of interest in a client's property we’ve launched, as that is a direct result of the hard work you’ve put into the photos, videos, floorplans, 3D tours, description etc. Then, once we’ve secured a great price and a keen buyer - that’s the first part of my job done.
What property advice would you give to someone considering moving up to a bigger house but they’re just not sure about their next move because of the increased price of moving to a bigger home and increasing their mortgage payments etc.
There are a few simple steps to take here to see if it's possible. Firstly, you need to get your own property valued. Find out how much your own property is worth now.
After 5-6 years it's likely got a significant amount of equity. Once you know this figure, the next step would be to speak to a mortgage advisor. These guys will take the property equity into the equation when talking to you about your borrowing potential and what you can comfortably afford moving forwards. If financially viable, then you need to take the biggest step and get your own property on the market. Once you’ve secured a good buyer then you’ll be in a fantastic position to offer your next dream home.
Funniest work moment
The funniest thing to happen to me is when I was taking photos of a house in Shipwrights Drive, Benfleet. The owners had spent a lot of time tidying the house and getting it ready. So much so, that their bi-folding doors were so clean that I didn’t notice they were actually closed when I tried to walk through them. This resulted in a loud bang, a sore head and a bruised ego. I think the sellers were more worried about how clean their doors were afterwards than me, but at least they saw the funny side.
Top tip for someone joining the estate agent industry
If you’re looking to join the industry then as long as you are a natural people person, can speak confidently and show a real passion to do well and graft, then you can learn everything else. I started out with no knowledge of the industry 10 years ago, but it's something I really wanted to get into. I started out sending out CVs to various companies with little or no response. Instead, I then chose to go in person to meet the managers of a few agencies and this went down really well as it showed how keen I was and also they got to know me better instead of being just a name on a piece of paper.
Do your friends /family ask for your advice about property and valuing their home?
It's only natural that people you know will talk to you about this. They’re always wanting to know how the market is and what we think will happen next year with house prices etc. Then over the years, they will need help to move, and I’m always happy and glad to help out. It gives me enormous pride when it's all done and they can enjoy their new homes.
What’s your dream property or where would you like to live one day in the future?
I’d love to live in St Marys Road or Vicarage Hill with those stunning views behind towards the Thames Estuary and beyond. It's just a wonderful view and I’ve been fortunate enough to see a number of houses where the residents get to enjoy those views every day.
Family life and work-life balance
At home, I get to enjoy family life with my wonderful wife Faye. She puts up with a lot of my long hours and I do find it hard to switch off from work mode, but she understands why.
We have two little ones, Jack (7) and Hollie (1).
Both are a handful at times but wouldn’t change them for the world, I love them to bits. They’re the reason I get up every day and put the time into everything I do. It’s a huge bonus that I love doing what I do, for a living.
So you play in a football team with other estate agents...tell us more!
Football really is a big part of my life. From watching it to playing football in my Monday night six-a-side league.
As a goalkeeper, I get the same elation from pulling off a great save as a striker would scoring a winning goal. So whether it's football or selling a house, you’re in safe hands ;)
What's your favourite football team and player?
I’m an avid Arsenal fan. I’ve been watching them play since I was seven. My football hero growing up was David Seaman. He is an Arsenal legend and one of the reasons I play as a goalkeeper in my spare time.
You’ve also been a wedding photographer. That's amazing. How did you start the business and has it helped you in your property career?
When I got married I got to know my own wedding photographer and I was really interested in it.
I set up a meeting with him after my wedding and he gave me some tips and I got my own camera. When I was learning I watched A LOT of Youtube videos. It's amazing how much you can learn there. It’s massively helped my career.
What do you like most about working with the Benfleet team?
We’ve got a great group of people. It's honestly a pleasure working with them every day. It's seamless. Everyone knows what they need to do and we give it our all. We only recruit people that match up with our core beliefs and who will be a big asset to our company for years to come.
Thanks, Darren. Great getting to know you!
You can contact Darren Eldridge to chat about your next move or to value your property on 01268 755252
Williams and Donovan, Independent Estate Agency. Established 1999.
Excellence in Estate Agency.