Agent Insight: John Morley of JOHNS&CO
Posted 15 September 2015 by Stephen Maunder
We speak to John Morley of JOHNS&CO about Embassy Gardens, property technology and the London market
Could you please give us an introduction your agency and your recent expansion?
I founded the agency two years ago after heading up the international sales team at Ballymore. I was disappointed in the follow up services offered to investors, especially those looking to let their investment, and so I set up JOHNS&CO to fill that gap in the market, providing on-site lettings and management for luxury London apartment schemes.
Alongside the core lettings business, we also look after re-sales. We have recently opened our fourth office, on-site at Embassy Gardens in Nine Elms, following the launch of the development in May. Our fifth office in Canary Wharf is due to open before the end of the year.
What role is your company taking in the Embassy Gardens development in Wandsworth?
Embassy Gardens is the latest development in our portfolio to launch and we are the only agent to have an office at the development. We look after all of the lettings, property management and re-sales at the development, working with Ballymore to ensure that buyers, landlords and tenants have a smooth and seamless experience and receive the service you would expect from a luxury development.
What is DETAILS, and how important is technology to modern estate agency?
DETAILS is an enhanced day to day living app for occupants, tenants and owner occupiers, offering a concierge style service at the touch of a button. Tenants can arrange to have their laundry taken care of or their flat cleaned, all within 24 hours. An app such as this is unique to the estate agency market and has been well received by work rich and time poor tenants – it is certainly a big USP for us as we want to offer as much as we can to the residents of our developments.
There is no doubt that technology is becoming more prominent in the world of estate agency. We now have 3D virtual tours, increasingly interactive websites and Face Time and Skype have meant the need for overseas travel has been significantly reduced. However, in our experience, technology is only as good as the staff behind it and it still plays second fiddle to the personnel on the ground.
That being said, we are very active in trying to make life as easy as possible for buyers and tenants and will be rolling out our Landlord Login in the next few weeks. This will provide direct access to all documents, tenancy agreements, bills and paperwork regarding the property, keeping everything neatly in one place. A number of our landlords are already trialling it but the perfected product will be launching imminently.
What do you expect to see happen in the property market over the remainder of the year?
Certainly there is a lot more clarity now the election has passed, people have adjusted to the changes in taxation and once the holidays have finished we will see some liquidity come back to the top end of the market. However, from 2017 the ability to write off expenses incurred by a property against taxation is being phased out, and I think this will make UK property less appealing to some investors. That being said, the reversal of landlord exemption from capital gains tax could have had a big impact but people learn to co-operate and find a way around it.
Another trend I predict becoming more apparent is savvy investors seeking out property in zones two, three and even four where there are opportunities for greater capital appreciation and far better rental yields than in central London.
You can find out more at www.johnsand.co ; 020 7118 0200