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Building Communities And Homes With Award-Winning Housebuilder

Posted 24 May 2023 by Lizzie Leigh

WhatHouse? speaks with Marc Woolfe, head of sales at Barratt David Wilson North Thames…

Marc Woolfe from Barratt David Wilson North Thames, tells us about his route from graduate trainee to head of sales, and how building communities as well as homes is what motivates him…

Marc, what’s been your career route to your current role of head of sales with Barratt Homes North Thames?

I moved from Manchester to Northampton in 2012 to join the Barratt Aspire Graduate scheme as a sales and marketing graduate. This is a two-year programme offering an introduction to a range of departments such as Land, Technical, Commercial, Construction, Finance and Sales. During my second year, I specialised in sales and spent time in the marketing, contracts progression and Part Exchange departments, and under the role of the sales adviser. From there, I was promoted to trainee sales manager for David Wilson Homes, and then sales manager in 2016. I then moved to the North Thames division in 2019 as a senior sales manager before entering my role now in summer 2022.

And what’s your favourite part of your job?

For me, there are two things that spring to mind: the people and the communities we build in. I love leading such a wonderful team and seeing my colleagues flourish and develop. It is incredibly rewarding to see people who joined me on a graduate scheme or began as a trainee receiving promotion after promotion. Secondly, it is amazing to see the growth of our developments from first acquiring the piece of land to becoming fully-fledged communities, such as our Kingsbrook development. In my role you really get to see the fruits of your labour from working with local councils to the array of fabulous community groups who make an area what it is.

Barratt Developments is the nation’s leading housebuilder, what do you think is the secret to its success?

We take pride in excellent customer service which is why Barratt Developments Plc has received the Home Builders Federation five-star accreditation for the 14th year in a row. To achieve this, we employ great people with incredible knowledge and experience, and invest in training and development. We take pride in every element of the business, ensuring the customer is at the heart of everything we do.

You cover the North Thames area, which schemes are you marketing at the moment?

We have many developments throughout Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, including our flagship Kingsbrook development in, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire:

  • Kingsbrook is a large, multi-phase development near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, comprising 2,450 new homes, three new schools and community infrastructure. We are proud to be partnered with the RSPB as sustainability is at the heart of this development. At Kingsbrook, we have a 250-acre area of wildlife rich space, we have installed a number of bat and bird boxes and created more than 100 allotments. The partnership has seen a number of conservation concerned species increase in numbers such as house sparrows, starlings, and whitethroats.
  • Clipstone Park is a highly sought after thriving community in Leighton Buzzard, with a current release of three- and four-bedroom homes available by Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes. Living here, residents can enjoy beautiful countryside on their doorstep with over 20 acres of green open space, as well as an array of schools within walking distance and plenty of new amenities to come.
  • Sawbridge Park comprises 200 two- and four-bedroom homes from £400,000, surrounded by green open space, with the majority of homes overlooking allotments, ponds and open parkland.

Are there areas still undiscovered in the patch you cover that have been earmarked as great potential spaces for new developments?

We cover Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire and there are many towns and cities within these regions which offer a fantastic way of life and have excellent potential with links to London. A number of places in the home counties have become increasingly popular post pandemic with the mixture of countryside yet still within arm’s reach to the city, and we would love to explore these areas more.

As a national housebuilder, do you see design trends that are more popular in certain parts of the country than others?

Yes, there are definitely trends across different divisions which are more popular. At North Thames we find that our 2.5 storey house type (with the main bedroom on a separate floor) is extremely popular as people like to have the main bedroom as a separate space to the rest of the house. People generally choose to live in the home counties for open green space but within reach of amenities, so we find that homes with gardens are also extremely popular, and balconies with our apartments are a priority.

And finally, is there one piece of advice you’d give to a nervous first-time buyer?

Research, research, research! There are so many amazing resources out there for first-time buyers and you can never have too much information. It is also really helpful to speak to a mortgage advisor, as you might be surprised by what you can actually afford, and they will help you to set financial goals. I would also look into affordable housing initiatives such as Deposit Unlock, which allows buyers to put down a 5% deposit on a new home, as we understand saving for a deposit is one of the biggest barriers for first-time buyers.

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