Confessions of an estate agent

The life of an estate agent is never dull, and no two days are the same. Watch our team unfold below, as we add new Q&As each week.

Meet Antonia Thomas

Local Market Negotiator

Intrigued by the prospect of meeting new people on a daily basis, and with a transferrable skillset from a background in PR, Antonia Thomas joined the world of estate agency at Swoffers in 2014. Joining the local market sales team means there is truly no average day, Antonia deals with viewing requests, emails from live sales, people looking and vendors, as well as meetings and viewings on a daily basis. Describing her job as a ‘privilege’ and her colleagues as a ‘phenomenal bunch of people’, Antonia is a much-valued member of the Swoffers family who goes to any length to satisfy her clients – even if that means marrying the son of one of her buyers! Outside of work, Antonia is a big lover of anything colourful, whether it be interior design, craft, drawing, tapestry or anything bold. Her children come next!

 What’s your funniest memory from your time at Swoffers?

I was new to the job and the island, and very enthusiastic. I bounded up to a couple waiting outside the building I was scheduled to attend and whisked them upstairs to the apartment. Without drawing breath, I showed them round, not perturbed by their apparent lack of enthusiasm. I felt my phone buzz and took a phone-call from the office; they were phoning to see where I was and inform me that my viewers were waiting outside. At that point I realised I had kidnapped two Latter-day Saints missionaries. I could not work out who was more mortified, them or me.

What is the most unusual request you’ve ever had from potential buyers/ sellers?

I spent part of my first summer on Guernsey helping a couple find a house for their son. Once I had successfully brokered the deal, the lady turned to me and jokingly said, “will you now help me find my son a wife?” Naturally I thought she was not being serious but it’s worth concluding that that couple is now my mother and father-in-law! We will go to any lengths at Swoffers to satisfy our clients.

 What one piece of advice would you give to anyone at school who was considering estate agency as a career? 

Be prepared to work hard. Someone said to me recently that being an estate agent means forgoing your own life and to a certain extent that is true. Moving to a new house can be the most stressful time of a person’s life, so being available to them, and understanding all elements of the transaction – legal, personal, logistical – can really make a difference.

 Out of our current properties – which is a personal favourite?

Maison Ville and Cottage is my current favourite, it is two houses for the price of one! It is a centrally located period property with ample space with the benefit of a superb cottage that just oozes with light. I would not be able to decide which half of the property I would choose to live in!

Meet Spencer Noyon

Director

Having bought the Press in 1997 to read his late grandfather’s obituary, a twist of fate lead Spencer Noyon to apply for the advertised position of a Swoffers negotiator where he worked his way up to his current role of Director. Having walked into Swoffers’ Towers before some of the team were even born, Spencer holds many years’ experience in the industry, specifically local market, and often offers guidance to those in the office. When he’s not out of the office on viewings, fielding calls & enquiries or valuing properties, he is an easy target for those who need an extra hand having admitted he is a general lover of all things admin & spreadsheets. Describing the best thing about his job as meeting new people & the variety of each day, he’s never looked back since leaving his regular desk job all those years ago. When he has the time out of the office, you can likely find Spencer with a G&T and getting involved in all things sport, whether it’s watching, playing or supporting his two children from the side lines.

What’s your funniest memory from your time at Swoffers?

There are so many things that happen, we could write a collective book of tales, although having to hide people’s soiled underwear that they’ve left on the bathroom floor just as I’m about to show someone around isn’t my idea of fun.

I wouldn’t call it my funniest, but showing a viewer around an apartment in Victoria Road, I managed to show him the shared communal entrance area, which measured about 6 ft x 4 ft, whilst simultaneously shutting the apartment door behind us. Unfortunately it had a Yale lock, which meant we were stuck there, with no way back in. It was the days before mobile phones, so I spent what felt like 30 minutes shouting through the letter box at any random passer by to try and persuade them to go around the back of the apartment, in through the unlocked back door and let us back in again. Not my finest hour! 

What is the most unusual request you’ve ever had from potential buyers/ sellers?

We were once asked to sell a £1mn + property where a family of 6 lived. They didn’t want to be clearing up after the children for every viewing, so they gave us three days to sell it whilst they moved into a hotel to stay. We did manage to sell it in those three days, but there was a lot of pressure riding on those viewings!

What one piece of advice would you give to anyone at school who was considering estate agency as a career? 

It is highly rewarding but incredibly hard work.You have to be prepared for lots of stress, lots of shouting and often being blamed for something that was nothing to do with you and not your fault. But the good times far outweigh the bad. Reading this back, the same rules apply to parenting!

Out of our current properties – which is a personal favourite?

Anything modern and with a  sea view. 2 Fort Grey Apartments has a lot of appeal. It’s spacious, has superb views over Rocquaine, no garden to worry about, and within staggering distance of the Imp. What more do you need.

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Meet Nikki Trebert 

Property Manager 

With a keen interest in property, interior design and building, property manager Nikki Trebert joined the Swoffers team more than 16 years ago. Nikki has an impressive list of expertise and although there is a lot of work to do from the office, she enjoys being out and about using her detective skills to problem solve. Being responsible for a portfolio of properties comes with a lengthy day-to-day checklist. Nikki tends to all property matters from maintenance work, liaising with tenants / landlords to ensuring her bespoke management properties are looked after for off-island clients. Outside of the office, Nikki dedicates her time to pistol shooting which has taken her all over the world, competing at Island Games, European Championships, British Championships and Commonwealth Games – in other words, don’t mess with Nikki! When she’s not shooting either her air pistol or .22 pistol, you can find Nikki at the Astronomy Section Observatory or drawing portraits.

What’s your funniest memory from your time at Swoffers?

There are many funny moments; I have thought about writing a book ‘The life and grime of a Property Manager’ many times. My role certainly is very diverse, I think I could write a chapter on mould but truly there are lots of funny things that happen.  One that stands out is attending to a property for a routine inspection where the tenant explained they had problems flushing their toilet; so on the morning of the inspection they had not flushed the toilet to show me their special unusual shaped knife and demonstrated how they had to cut up their waste to flush it away.  That has stuck with me for a while.

What one piece of advice would you give to anyone at school who was considering estate agency as a career? 

Swoffers is the largest agent in Guernsey and we have a variety of roles not only sales but also lettings, management, photography, production and administration. If you are trying to purchase a property, agreeing works to be done before you move into a property or who is going to bring in cakes, these all need to be negotiated carefully, so communication skills are really important.

Out of our current properties – which is a personal favourite?

There are a few I would be very happy to live in, I cannot decide between either Choisi or The Elms. No harm in dreaming!

 

 

Meet Simon Martin

Sales Negotiator

With 14 years of estate agency experience under his belt and experience in managing a successful company in Winchester, Simon Martin joined us just under 4 years ago as our Sales Negotiator when he moved to the island. With a hunger for selling property in a competitive environment and the high that follows helping people achieve their dream purchase, Simon’s role at Swoffers involves valuing properties, arranging viewing requests and negotiating sales. Outside of his busy and fast paced position, he also plays a busy and fast paced football position playing 11 a side on the island after qualifying as a VET in September for CF Indies.

What’s your funniest memory from your time at Swoffers?

It’s got to be in the Winter 2018 when I first joined. I’d never experienced snow on the island before and the team told me that when it gets bad it can be bedlam with cars stranded at the side of the road and people having to walk to and from work. The news struck that snow was hitting the island, I left the office at around 6pm & the streets were already deserted.

By the time I got to my car, I skidded all the way down Candie Road out onto the Grange due to the ice! By now snow was falling and as I got to the Ville Au Roi on my way back to the Forest a guy started flagging me down. Having heard the stories that the team had told me, I obviously assumed this poor chap was stranded and I thought I would do a good deed and give him a lift home. I pulled over to let him in and as he opened the door I was filled with instant regret; this guy was extremely drunk and stunk of alcohol, he got in my car and asked me to drive him to a well known pub in St Andrews. I didn’t seem to have any choice so I started to drive at which point he took off his backpack the cracked open a tin of beer in the car, he said that I was being too cautious in driving and that I should go faster! Bear in mind I didn’t know the island that well at this point, so I was also reliant on his directions. When we finally arrived at the pub, he offered to buy me a pint next time I was in the area! (I didn’t catch his name nor did I ever get that pint). On the way home, despite it being freezing outside I had to drive with all the windows open to get rid of the beer smell!

What is the most unusual request you’ve ever had from potential buyers/ sellers?

I once had a buyer in England that only wanted 150 goldfish of the circa 300 that were currently living in the pond. The rest had to be taken to a sanctuary.

What one piece of advice would you give to anyone at school who was considering estate agency as a career? 

If you can get any prior experience in a customer service environment dealing with people, as being confident and able to interact is key to this job.

Out of our current properties – which is a personal favourite?

I really like 2 Lilydale Cottages. It is modern inside but still has character. The extension looking over the fields at the back is a great addition and means that it now provides an excellent balance of living and bedroom accommodation.

Meet Annie Le Prevost

Local Market Lettings Negotiator

After leaving the College of FE in 2016 to undertake a new adventure, Annie Le Prevost joined the Swoffers team as our local market lettings negotiator. Knowing she didn’t want to be tied to her desk but still desired the camaraderie of an office, a long-term interest in property (thanks to many years of playing Sims!) secured her a space on the rentals team. Annie quickly learnt that estate agency requires an individual service and soon fell in love with tailoring her process to each client.

What’s your funniest memory from your time at Swoffers?

I’m not sure if this would be classed funny or just plain awkward, but I once met a couple for a second viewing, and they broke up right in front of me – one of my most lasting memories! It’s a good job they hadn’t signed the lease yet!

What is the best thing about your job?

No two days are the same, one day I will have an appointment at a million-pound house and the next I am working with a young person to find their first home. Another great thing is the team I work with, not only in rentals but every single person employed at Swoffers. One of my colleagues once described Swoffers as a quirky family, from the mad aunties, cool sisters and protective mothers, to the dads who think they are funny; I cannot think of a better way to describe our office. 

What is the most unusual request you’ve ever had from potential buyers/ sellers?

Well we often have people requesting to test the water pressure at viewings, but I think one of the most unusual questions I have had is from a viewer who asked if they could physically test the shower out themselves. To this day I am still not sure if they were joking!

What one piece of advice would you give to anyone at school who was considering estate agency as a career? 

It is not just a case of being a glorified door opener. Particularly from a rentals perspective, you will quickly become someone’s councillor, accountant, best friend and sometimes even their punch bag! But at the end of it all, when moving day approaches, it is an incredibly rewarding job and there is no better feeling than knowing someone has found their dream home. 

Out of our current properties – which is a personal favourite?

Lyndhurst… I am a sucker for a Victoria Villa / Town House!

Meet Matt Le Page 

Photographer 

After managing to persuade the entire board of Swoffers’ directors to hire him for a job that didn’t exist, and realising that houses can hold a pose far better than people, animals or children, Matt Le Page joined us in 2019 as our full-time photographer.

Beginning at GCSE and progressing through The University of Portsmouth achieving a BA in photography, the desire for variety in each day and refusing to be desk-ridden has kept the ball rolling in his photography ventures. Typically, Matt checks forecasts, tides and sun positioning to help plan his day’s photos better, followed mainly by editing, producing sets of details and taking photos or virtual tours with Gary the Giraffe (a pretty nifty piece of kit that looks like a curious giraffe, it creates virtual walkthroughs, floor plans and images). This means that although no one can come to the island, negotiators can take people on a tour of the house remotely.

Inside work, Matt is our professional nerd, outside of work he is a family guy but also still a bit of a nerd. He loves to get stuck into a video game, but mostly spends free time planning campaigns for his Dungeons and Dragons friends.

What’s your funniest memory from your time at Swoffers?

Well I’ve had many pets, both friendly and some less so, decide to be my photography assistant for the day. And some very old lazy ones that decided it was easier to just become models instead. I have also been stuck in a bathroom before, when the door handle fell off. That took some MacGyvering with a coat hanger and some cotton buds I found, but not before a panicked phone call to the office.

What is the best thing about your job?

The summer, when the sun is shining and everything is green it makes my job that much better, for both the photos and being able to be outside enjoying the weather whilst still working.

Any funny equipment incidents or times where you’ve had to improvise?  

This is going to sound like a humble brag, but one time when I was on my way to a shoot a man in a wheelchair chair was flagging down cars. I pulled over and he said his taxi to the hospital never arrived, so I offered him a lift. Needless to say, Fiat 500s are not design with wheelchairs in mind. After making some space in the back, and a lot of pushing, we managed it.

I unfortunately arrived at my shoot late, and quickly rushing from the car I realised my bag was missing.  Cue a movie style flash back in my head of putting it on the side of the road to make space for said man in wheelchair. So, after arriving late, I now had to rush off and cross my fingers and toes that someone hadn’t helped themselves to a lot of expensive camera equipment just lying on the pavement. Luckily, it was right where I left it and the vendors of the house were my parents’ friends, so they were understanding. But I’m sure they won’t let me live it down.

What one piece of advice would you give to anyone at school who was considering estate agency as a career? 

Swoffers wasn’t advertising a position for a photographer, nor had they had one before. I pitched to all the directors (having now worked there I’m surprised I was able to catch them all together with a free moment) on why it would be a benefit to have a full time photographer and showed them examples of my work. So my advice would be if you love doing something, don’t wait for the right opportunity to come up, make that opportunity for yourself! Approach that company you would love to work for, don’t wait for them to ask because that’s what everyone else is doing.

Out of our current properties – which is a personal favourite? 

At the moment I would have to say Burwood. Centrally located, it’s really light and spacious and finished beautifully. Plus the garden is just the right size and has has a hot tub. Build a garden bar and what more could you want?

Meet Laura Gorvel 

Local market lettings negotiator 

With over 14 years experience between Guernsey and the UK in the industry, Laura is your go to girl for all things rental, mostly local with some open market lettings. After moving back to Guernsey, Laura knew she wanted to pursue estate agency on island but spent some time finding the right company to work for – we must be doing something right as she’s been here for 11 years! With a passion for people, some of her days consist of appointments, others with clients and there’s always admin that needs catching up on; however outside of work Laura’s passion lies with her 2 sidekick pups, Millie and Echo and doing anything artsy with her friends.

What’s your funniest memory from your time at Swoffers?

The Christmas parties are always pretty funny but in the office, one thing which sticks out is one of the directors, Craig, doing a Mission Impossible style roly-poly entrance into the sales floor… for no reason other than to say hello!

What is the best thing about your job?

Knowing that someone has found their dream home. 

What is the most unusual request you’ve ever had from potential tenants/landlords?

Nothing shocks me anymore!

What one piece of advice would you give to anyone at school who was considering estate agency as a career? 

Be prepared for long hours, juggling several things at the same time and hours of non-stop talking every day!  A lot of people glamourise the job and think it’s only about having a look inside houses but in reality, it is so, so much more! If you can dedicate yourself to it and are prepared for the emotive journey it takes you on, then go for it – it’s very rewarding.

Out of our current properties – which is a personal favourite?

I love the idea of renovating a farmhouse – keeping the original features but fitting it out with a super sleek, modern interior, so it has to be Heaton Moor for me!

 

Meet Alex Stuart

Open market negotiator 

Having had family connections in the building industry and stuck in limbo after completing his A-Levels, our open market negotiator, Alex Stuart, joined us 6 years ago in the production team. With an interest for meeting new people and his natural social skills, Alex progressed up the ladder and now visits and sells some of the best properties to people from all walks of life. Having a responsive job as such means that no 2 days ever look the same, it only takes a phone call to go from a clear diary to to being out and about all day. Having not been allowed to publish his funniest memory from a Swoffer’s event, it makes sense why Alex is the Swoffer’s rockstar (he plays in a local band) playing mostly electric guitar, but as well as this he’s often been classed as a ‘petrolhead’ with a deep passion for cars, motorsport and obviously property!

What is the most unusual request you’ve ever had from potential buyers/ sellers?

I’ve been used as a measuring stick before! Having to lay on the floor so purchasers can work out if certain items of furniture will fit in the rooms.

What one piece of advice would you give to anyone at school who was considering estate agency as a career? 

Go for it, it is a great job for someone who likes variety in their day. But be prepared to work hard as there is a lot more to it than just opening doors!

Out of our current properties – which is a personal favourite?

Currently I would say Les Deux Puits in St Martin’s. This is a beautiful family home which has been fully renovated and combines character with modern finishes. Garaging for 5 cars is another bonus!

 

Meet Sarah Gaudion 

Local market negotiator 

Sarah is a Swoffers newbie, but joining the team just 18 months ago her local market sales credentials speak otherwise. Having wanted to pursue this career since school and ditch the ‘average’ 9-5, Sarah took the plunge once a position at Swoffers presented itself. With the hard working lifestyle an appealing part of the job description, Sarah’s average day consists of viewings, valuations and offering support to her buyers and sellers. Describing her colleagues as a ‘family’, her favourite part of the job is helping people find their home, she says ‘It’s an emotional and important part of life which is a real privilege to be a part of’ (whose cutting onions?). Spending most of the day on the road and in between viewings, Sarah spends most of her spare time on her horse in the company of her rescue dog Dylan.

What’s your funniest memory from your time at Swoffers?

There’s quite a few! A highlight for me was when I was conducting a viewing with a young family – the parents went outside to look at the garden and as they step out the door the two daughters, about 5 and 7, ran up behind and locked the door trapping them outside. The parents were outside for some time and were completely unaware that I was trying to negotiate with their kids to let them back in. Finally, I decided to be the bad guy and unlock the door myself, which did NOT go down well with the two girls and then had to try and explain why they returned inside to two crying daughters and one apparently evil estate agent…

What is the most unusual request you’ve ever had from potential buyers/ sellers?

I’ve had someone who asked to run a full bath at a property we were viewing a property, I still can’t decide if they were joking or not…

What one piece of advice would you give to anyone at school who was considering estate agency as a career? 

It’s an amazing job but you’ve got to be driven, focussed and self-motivated. If you can crack that it’s so rewarding, it’s great fun that we have an awesome camaraderie within the team.

Out of our current properties – which is a personal favourite?

My current personal favourite is Granada. It’s such a charming bungalow with so much character. The fireplace in the master bedroom is a winner for me – it would make a fantastic downsize or just a great purchase for those looking for a homely property in a quiet but central location.

 

Meet Scott Ingrouille

Local market negotiator 

Following a change in career and a lifelong keen interest in property, Scott Ingrouille joined the exciting world of estate agency in 2010. Starting out as a property manager for 3 years, Scott expanded his expertise and is now in his 8th year of local market sales (with a period helping in Open Market sales). The matchmaker of local market sales describes the job as ‘kind of like property dating’, but it’s not all swanky house viewings and meeting people. Scott’s role means there is no such thing as an average day, when he’s not conducting viewings, valuing properties and noting new to market details; he deals with new buyer or seller enquiries, a heap of admin as well as liaises with advocates, surveyors and everyone involved from start to finish. Outside of work, you can find Scott spending time with his family, playing golf and dressing up in lycra… for cycling!

What’s your funniest memory from your time at Swoffers?

I turned up for a viewing and the key was not left hidden where it was supposed to be. I called the owners and they suggested seeing if any windows were open at the vacant property.  I managed to find one of the lounge windows unlocked so with my viewers waiting behind me, I slid the sash window up, threw open the shutter blinds and poked my head through only to find the owners friend had visited Guernsey for the weekend and was lying on the sofa… awkward!

What is the most unusual request you’ve ever had from potential buyers/ sellers?

To go on a viewing at midnight to see what the noise would be like after pub kickout time!

What one piece of advice would you give to anyone at school who was considering estate agency as a career? 

It would be useful to get some experience in customer services as there is more to the job than going around and looking at beautiful houses all day, but it is great fun and can be rewarding in many ways!

Out of our current properties – which is a personal favourite?

5 Val Fleury £540,000

A modern, high spec, 3-bedroom Town house just a short stroll from the High Street.

I particularly like this one as it is close to the hustle and bustle of Town but is situated in a very quiet, exclusive location.  With parking and garden, it would either work for families, professional couples or anyone wanting to invest in a property to rent out.

Got a question? We’re here to help.

With over 40 years of experience, Swoffers are Guernsey’s largest and most established estate agent and your team of property professionals.

T: +44 (0) 1481 711766
E: sales@swoffers.co.uk