Acquisitions key to growth of Chan’s branch
After seven years of solid organic growth, the accelerator pedal at Whitegates’ Huddersfield branch was put firmly to the floor by franchisee Chan Khangura.
So much so, that after starting with just over 200 managed properties when he took over the office in 2012, Chan’s managed portfolio is now closing in on 1,100 – firmly establishing the branch as the largest residential agent in the West Yorkshire town.
“It’s been a busy few years,” laughs Chan, whose first acquisition came when he purchased the portfolio of Linden Lettings in Huddersfield.
Easy Lettings followed in 2019, before Chan absorbed the portfolio of Whitegates’ office in nearby Brighouse.
And following his most recent acquisition of more than 200 managed properties from independent agency Whitworths, Chan insists he won’t stop there.
“The idea is to keep trying to get market share and further acquisitions will definitely be on the agenda,” insists Chan, who previously worked for other local agents before becoming a Whitegates franchisee 11 years ago.
“People trust me and the business in the town and any businesses we’ve spoken to in the past have always been keen to sell to us because we have that reputation, even if we’re not the highest bidder.
“These businesses trust me, and they know I’ll look after their clients and that’s their main concern alongside getting the right price for their business.
And on that front, because we’re part of something so much bigger across the Property Franchise Group, they know the money is good and there’s security there.
With so much growth in such a short space of time, Chan’s team has grown alongside the business to 15 across sales, lettings, property management and auctions.
“All clients have different requirements and obviously you need great staff to manage that,” reflects Chan, who is assisted by his father Kashmir Khangura, who has a wealth of experience in property.
“We’ve now got it into a position where all our staff are on one floor across sales, lettings, property management and auctions, and it means the level of communication is defined and clear.
“Communication is often the issue with large agents and by doing it this way, we’ve managed to solve that problem.
“It’s a people game and when you can give landlords a personal service where the branch owner is involved as well and visible, that’s what leads to natural growth away from acquisitions.”
For Chan personally, each acquisition has been a learning experience – for his business but also for himself.
“I’ve learned from each one and that’s the key thing,” he says.
“The Property Franchise Group do a great workbook and we’re well supported.
The Property Franchise Group do a great workbook and we’re well supported.
“I also like to personalise it and add things in each time depending on what you’re acquiring and your position at the time.
“I’m a real fan of lists and being organised and each time I have added to the workbook, and I’ve found by doing that that I’ve been able to improve the process each time.
“With each acquisition we’ve done, we’ve lost very few of the landlords coming over to us and that’s down to being very organised, with very good software and very good internal processes, alongside great staff and a personal service.”
So, what would Chan say to anyone thinking of estate agency franchising?
“The biggest thing is you have to be focused, driven and dedicated,” he insists.
“If you go into any business venture thinking it’s going to be liquid lunches or finishing at 4pm to play squash, you’ll only get what you put into it.
“It’s a very competitive industry – in Huddersfield, we have over 40 agents for example.
“So, I would say anyone who wants to be a successful estate agent needs to look seriously at acquisitions and swallowing up their competitors.
“Acquisitions have been a great strategy for us and has helped us strengthen our position as the largest agent in Huddersfield and that position has enabled us to grow organically, too.”