Name: David Bentley
Company Name: Bidwells
Twitter Handle: @bidwells
Which area do you cover? East Anglia is our core area, covering Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk but with our other regional offices in London, Chelmsford, St Albans, Milton Keynes our geographical coverage is ever expanding.
How did you start out as an estate agent? I was lured away from my job at John Lewis by the bright lights of a Ford Capri. A chap I knew from college was an agent and had just taken delivery of a Ford Capri, and at the time I was struggling to maintain my Mini 1000 – sad, but true. As a young man at the time nothing was more important than my independence and the glamour of a nice set of wheels. I soon left my career in retail.
What would you do if you weren’t an estate agent? No idea…I seem to have been in the housing industry for years. I would probably have continued in retail as I tend to stick with something once I’ve started, although I have absolutely no regrets.
What was the first property you sold in your area, when did you sell it and for how much? What’s it worth now? I joined Bidwells in Cambridge in 2001 heading up the new homes department, and my first sale was with Laing Homes. It was a two bedroom flat sold for £180,000 in 2003. It is now worth around £350,000. My very first house sale was when I joined an agency in 1988. It was a traditional two-up two-down sold for £40,000 and is probably worth around £250,000 now.
If money was no object, which house or street would you most like to live in on your patch? Bentley Road would be the obvious choice as it’s a prime residential location, a stone’s throw from the office and biking distance from everything you might want in Cambridge. However, as a new build guru, the recent release of the Mansions at Aura by Countryside Properties will take some beating. These are contemporary detached villas that will undoubtedly raise a few Cambridge eyebrows as they look, on paper, absolutely stunning.
Any streets or zones on your patch that are particularly hot at the moment? Any hidden gems? In Cambridge the hotspots are spread all over the city with the usual suspects of Newnham, Grantchester, Romsey, Kite and the core central areas boiling over with activity. This is mainly fuelled by the lack of available stock, and competitive bidding is common in those prime locations.
What are your top tips for buying, selling or letting property in the area?
Buying: Be bold and don’t delay.
Selling: Consider your options, don’t rush and be thorough with your marketing.
Letting: Be selective and realistic.
How would you spend the perfect day off in your area? Sitting on the river bank fishing, in an area with poor mobile reception.
What’s your favourite place for dinner in your area? There are so many fantastic choices around Cambridge, but if I had the choice I’d stick local at the renowned Phoenix Restaurant in Histon. This is biking distance from my home, and has first class food.
If you could change one thing to make your working life better what would it be? Resolve the traffic issues and strains that Cambridge suffers.
What will dominate the news in your market in 2014? The continuation of the Cambridge phenomena! There are no signs of the market slowing even if stock levels are replenished. The city’s global appeal will continue to fuel local headlines, and I expect growth to be strong in the year ahead.