Job creation and new development plans as entrepreneur, property specialist and lawyer Ramona Hirschi marks five-years at helm of city estate agency
Property expert and BNI Staffordshire Member, Ramona Hirschi is adding new services and has won recognition in a national awards scheme as she celebrates five years at the helm of a Hanley-based estate agency.
When Ramona took control of Belvoir Stoke-on-Trent in 2017, the Albion Street business was seen as under-performing and there were just two part time staff.
In 2022, the business has a seven-strong team, all staff have training and development programmes in place, and Belvoir is repeatedly ranked among the best performing lettings and estate agencies in the area.
Now Ramona has completed her PropertyMark Level 4 qualification in Residential Lettings & Property Management; receiving a distinction and being nominated as a national finalist in the Candidate of the Year category.
And 2022 has seen Belvoir Stoke-on-Trent, Biddulph and Leek, expand its offer with a new Block Management service, which will provide vital services to residential leasehold buildings.
Meanwhile, the business has become a force for good, offering new arrivals in North Staffordshire work experience. For example, a recently arrived Ukrainian refugee is spending time gaining experience with the team.
Ramona believes her unique background as a lawyer, business owner and property investor, has helped make her Belvoir franchise a success.
She explained: “Belvoir is a strong national brand but, five years ago, the Stoke-on-Trent Belvoir franchise was a little tired and was seen to be under-performing. I was looking for a challenge and I have a passion for property, having managed my rental portfolio and property projects successfully, so saw this as a fantastic opportunity.”
“Having worked as a solicitor, both in Stoke-on-Trent and overseas, I also saw the bigger picture – a need to professionalise the sector and improve the image of estate agency in the UK.”
“At present, anyone can take on a business and call themselves a letting or estate agent and this can lead to untrained, demotivated staff. As a property investor, with a background in law, I could see how this was leading to dissatisfaction for investors and landlords.”
“Our team all have training pathways and are encouraged to develop their skills and this results in a committed and highly able group of staff. Things are changing and the Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA), a working group who advise the government on rules and regulations, that oversee estate agency in the UK are proposing industry-wide changes which will make it mandatory for all people practising in estate agency in the UK, and in lettings in England, to hold a certain level of official qualification to continue working in this sector. I’m delighted that our team will be ahead of the game.”
New for 2022 is Block Management, a service where a company is appointed to take care of the fabric of a building, or group of buildings, with multiple apartments or houses.
The specifics of each block will differ, but typically, it may involve management of communal facilities, service charges, insurance and communal maintenance. Much of the work will involve budgetary requirements and services to ensure all legislation is followed, while ensuring that both the freeholder and leaseholders receive value for money and have their reasonable needs looked after.
Ramona is also a Board member at Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce and is committed to supporting both business and personal development in the county.
She said: “I want to support the area. For example. In my role with the Chamber, I have quarterly meetings with the Bank of England representative through which I give updates on the property market in our local area to feed into the Monetary Committee deciding on the Bank of England interest rate. .I try to ensure that the voice of Stoke-on-Trent is heard by national policy makers.”
“On a more personal level, since buying the Belvoir franchise, I’ve been able to support people through giving work experience opportunities to young adults and we are currently helping in this way with a Ukrainian university student who came to stay in the UK with a North Staffordshire family under the government Homes for Ukraine scheme.“
To find out more about Belvoir, please see