The NI agent offers short-term accommodation to reduce…

A County Down-based estate agent has acquired a local rival and launched a new ‘stop-gap’ accommodation service for buyers and sellers to preserve chains.

Quinn Estate Agents, which operates branches in Downpatrick, Banbridge and Ballynahinch, has acquired long-standing Banbridge-based estate agency Sawyers & Co., expanding its portfolio of rental properties and sales listings.

Alongside the business, the agency acquired the former retail premises of Sawyers & Co. which provides prime office space at street level, from which Quinn now operates, as well as two residential apartments above of the unit.

The company, set up in 2010 by Jonathan Quinn, has also acquired similar premises in Ballynahinch which includes ground floor commercial space with potential for apartment accommodation and a derelict bungalow.

This is the backdrop for a new innovative service to support buyers and sellers of homes caught in the real estate chain.

Benefiting from on-site storage containers for major appliances and belongings, the bungalow has been refurbished to accommodate short stays for buyers and sellers wishing to complete the sale or purchase of their property to prevent the transaction from failing.

The agent said the cost of hosting, which also includes providing on-site storage, is about the same cost as storage alone.

Quinn said: It’s a pretty unique service.

“Moving can be a stressful exercise, so we want to ensure a frictionless transition for our sellers and buyers. Unless you are a first-time buyer or cash buyer, you are likely to find yourself in a real estate chain that relies on completing successive real estate transactions.

“Often there can be a break in that chain for a number of reasons that cause a property sale to ‘fail’.

“We rent the property to our clients on a weekly basis to help ease the burden of finding temporary accommodation. This is a service that has been extremely well received.

Following the success of the trial in Ballynahinch, Quinn is now investing in the development of a similar short-term rental for buyers and sellers in Banbridge.

The agent’s expansion was financially supported by Ulster Bank.

The lender’s business development manager, Derick Wilson, said: “Jonathan and the team at Quinn Estate Agents have identified a viable solution to a common problem faced by many in the residential real estate market. It’s a simple answer, but extremely effective.

“Furthermore, as the last 18 months have shown, the real estate market operates in ups and downs reacting to external factors. By acquiring these premises, the company has secured new sources of income from commercial rents. and residential that will support the business.”

About John McTaggart

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