Frost Estate Agents

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Frost Estate Agents's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Frost Estate Agents is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Director Jenny Gregory-Dade
Frost Estate Agents
At the age of 19, Jenny Gregory-Dade became director
of Frost Estate Agents,an estate agency established
for over 155 years. The business has stood the test of
time in spite of increasingly uncertain periods during the past
decade. Operating with a model informed by family values, to
which she attributes the business’s success, Jenny talks with
The Parliamentary Review
about the challenges of buy-to-let
transactions and GDPR compliance.
With our origins dating back to 1862, we have deep and historic roots. Over
this time, we have continued to provide a high standard of service across our
multidisciplinary team. We specifically deal in residential sales, lettings and property
management services, and more recently we have become a significant local force
in land and new homes. We believe that providing a professional, efficient and
honest service has resulted in steady, secure growth, despite difficult financial,
economic and political times over the past ten years. Alongside my husband and
co-owner Ben Gershon, I head up a senior and experienced team from a high street
office found in a landmark building on the borders of south London and Surrey.
Embedding our values
Our own values have been enforced within our business. I have come from a
traditional family of business owners, with my father running his own fine antiques
business and my mother having a specialist estate agency business selling only
riverside homes. When the opportunity arose for me to work alongside my partner
and future husband, who also had a very honest and hard-working ethic, I had no
hesitation and became a director 11 years ago at the age of 19. The opportunity to
»Directors: Jenny Gregory-Dade
and Ben Gershon
»Established in 1862
»Based in South London and
the north Surrey borders
»Services: Residential sales
and lettings, property
management and land and
new homes
»No. of employees: 11
Frost Estate Agents
Highlighting best practice
take over the company we both worked
for, in the depths of the credit crunch
at the end of 2008, was daunting yet
exciting. Suddenly, I had to become not
just an estate agent, but a responsible
business owner and employer. I knew
the value of the team was paramount
and in order to succeed, we had to
create a well-oiled machine.
It goes without saying, however, that
the property industry, and business
owners in general, have been put under
more pressure than ever in recent years.
One of the biggest factors that has
affected the property market in Surrey
over recent years is the increase in
stamp duty. While HMRC might
highlight that receipts nationally have
increased year on year, transaction
numbers now fall far short of levels
seen in the 1980s and 1990s. We
know that stamp duty impacts upon
people’s decisions to buy or to move in
our area, where the property values are
significantly above the nationalaverage.
Buy-to-let transactions have also
dramatically fallen as a result of
the second home surcharge of
three per cent for any additional
property purchase. The surcharge
was introduced as a way to improve
chances for first time buyers. We have
seen the advantages and subsequent
number of sales to first time buyers
have increased, though this is also
partly down to the subsequent
introduction of the help-to-buy
scheme. Whilst some parts of the UK
may have seen this affect purchases
of a ‘holiday’ or ‘weekend’ home,
our local area was thriving on buy
to let transactions, with landlords
particularly drawn in by the proximity
to London and excellent transport
links. The change to stamp duty
quickly brought this to a halt across
the UK, unintentionally affecting the
rental market in our area and causing
a shortage of available properties to
rent. This did lead to an increase in the
value of rents charged here.
Adapting to legislation
We as an agency are always careful
to do things correctly and we’ve
had to adapt to quite a number of
recent changes to legislation that
affect our industry. From being GDPR
compliant to making sure our anti-
money laundering checks are water
tight, alongside changes to pensions
I knew the
value of the
team was
and in order to
succeed, we
had to create
a well-oiled
for the staff and the ‘tenant fee ban’
introduced in June 2019.. Keeping up
with it all and putting new or improved
procedures in place takes time, effort
and money, all of which are precious
when running a small business.
However, we genuinely do welcome
all improvements to legislation and
introduction of any new regulation
within the world of Estate Agency. Too
many agents have abused the system,
defrauding tenants or slacking on their
responsibilites as a professional body
for too long and its reassuring to now
see that many organisations big and
small are being faced with extremely
large fines for doing so.
Pressures on the high street
Battered high streets across the
country are continuing to be under
pressure for several reasons. It is no
different in our town and more and
more shopfronts are becoming vacant.
With business rates having significantly
increased – we have seen a 51 per cent
uplift overnight, which has added to
the pressure on the bottom line.
A recent report suggested estate
agents’ offices are the third most
rapidly declining category in terms of
a net change in the country, although
we do believe that in recent years
there were too many for a limited
supply ofproperties.
While the internet has affected
several business sectors, it is still in its
infancy within the property market.
Despite the fact that it is gradually
infiltrating estate agency, and even
though consumers are buying their
clothes, ordering food and items of
lesser value more and more online,
we are unconvinced that property
sellers would increasingly be willing
to place all their faith online without
the help of a seasoned professional.
With tens or hundreds of thousands of
pounds at stake, there is no reason to
risk this. We constantly demonstrate
to our clients the benefits of having a
knowledgeable agent on their side and
guide them through what is a fraught
and anxious time.
Brexit and the property market
There is no doubt that Brexit has
affected the confidence of the
property market; however, while there
was a brief snap reaction just after the
referendum, the transaction numbers
have stayed reasonably constant ever
since. House price growth has slowed,
but a growth it remains. This is largely
because of the overall shortage of
homes and properties to buy and rent,
certainly in our area anyway.
It’s very difficult to say what the
future of the business holds but
some things will never change. Our
office is a melting pot of emotions,
from happiness to sadness to stress.
According to magazines, moving
house is supposed to be fun but the
reality can be different.
We are here to support our clients,
in all types of circumstances – from
death, divorce and separation to
relocation, marriage and children, all of
which come with their own pressures.
Our ability to manage the process will
not change, but our procedures will
continuously adapt to comply with
the latest legislation and policies that
House price
growth has
slowed, but a
growth it
Frost Estate Agents have just won the
2019 British Property Gold Award for
the South London Regional area, for the
second year running. Receiving these
awards is a major achievement within our
industry and further helps to illustrate to
our clients the level of customer service
The two awards lead on from our success
of also maintaining the 2017, 2018 &
2019 Gold Winner Award for the Best
Estate Agent in Purley.
Jenny balances work
life with bringing up
their two children

This article was sponsored by Frost Estate Agents. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development