Q&A: Estate agent Ken Whittaker
PUBLISHED: 08:38 16 August 2010 | UPDATED: 17:42 20 February 2013
With a history of more than 35 years in Harpenden, John Curtis is the longest established independent estate agents in the town. Director Ken Whittaker tells the secret to the company's success, and describes his perfect Hertfordshire day
Tell the reader a bit about yourself.
Born in 1972 on the west coast of Scotland, I moved with my family to Harpenden in 1985. After graduating I went to work for a firm of estate agents in Welwyn Garden City in 1995. Mr Curtis approached me in 1999 to join his firm and in 2001 my business partner and I struck a buy out with Mr Curtis. I am married to Ali and have two sons, Freddie and Will.
What is the secret to the companys success?
The secret to our success is simple long hard hours, a brilliant team of people, and raw genuine enthusiasm to succeed and grow our business.
Give a broad view of the current housing market.
The current housing market, certainly in Harpenden and Hertfordshires villages, can be summarised very simply huge demand and a lack of supply.
The research bodies all tell us that the UK housing market will finish 2010 three per cent lower than it started. We believe property hotspots like Harpenden and Hertfordshires villages will see no such decline at worst they will finish flat, year on year.
If you could give a house buyer and seller one piece of advice, what would it be?
Advice to a buyer put the effort in with searching for the right home. Get to know the agents who deal specifically with the type and/or location of house you want to buy and make a pest of yourself.
Advice to a seller always have at least three valuations and have each firm explain in detail how they have arrived at that figure for your house.
Get them to show you hard evidence of what has recently sold with them in order to substantiate that figure.
Where do you live?
I live close to the town centre in Harpenden and love the Edwardian houses all around us and the fact I can walk to work or the pub in ten minutes, and home again!
What are your hobbies?
Family, golf and squash.
If you won the lottery jackpot tomorrow, what three things would you want to buy first?
Id buy a 1972 Ferrari Dino 246GT, Id hire a personal assistant to keep me to deadlines and get me to appointments on time, and Id buy a house in Antigua because we go there every winter and would like to spend more time there as a family.
What is your favourite view in Hertfordshire and why?
My favourite view is from the top of the hill on the third hole of the Melbourne course at Brocket Hall Golf Club because I can see the river and most of the beautiful Capability Brown-designed parkland, as well as the waterfall and Brocket Hall itself.
What is your idea of a perfect day in Hertfordshire?
A perfect day is golf at Brocket Hall Golf Club in early morning, lunch with my family at the Three Horseshoes on East Common in Harpenden, followed by football in Harpendens Rothamsted Park with my wife and two boys, ending with a beer or two on the common watching the early evening cricket as the sun drops.