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Rachel Halliwell

Rachel Halliwell



McCarthy & Stone knows that communication is key when it comes to making a decision as big as moving into a retirement development, which is why it has staff ready to talk through the process, says Rachel Halliwell

Communication is key when it comes to any smooth transaction, and is especially important if you are embarking on such a major life event as moving home.

McCarthy & Stone appreciates that, from the moment at which you start considering your retirement lifestyle options, you want as much information as possible to help you make an informed decision. And of course, if you do decide to go ahead and buy an apartment, you will want someone to talk you through events and developments during every stage.

“Which is exactly what we do,” insists customer relationship manager Debbie Wynn, who is based in one of the company’s regional offices.

“As soon as we exchange contracts on the land where our next development will be built, I take responsibility for the people who have expressed an interest in buying.

“I get in touch with potential customers, telling them where the development will be based and to ask if they want to be kept informed as things progress at our end – I then support those that do right up to the point when we’re ready to start selling.”

Debbie says new names will appear on her list as soon as hoardings go up to say a piece of land has been purchased. “People get very excited when they realise that we’re looking to build in their area.

“I keep them up to date with everything as it happens – from getting planning permission, to telling them how things are going with the build, and then later to let them know when we’re ready to begin marketing the apartments off-plan.”

Discovery or Information Day

Debbie says that some customers are happy simply to receive brochures and an invitation to the discovery day – a fact-sharing event to which everyone who has expressed an interest is invited.

“Others want more than that – they like a monthly or even weekly phone call to update them, which is absolutely fine.

“This is a big decision and customers need to know that we’re prepared to hold their hand through every step. I enjoy being the person who gets to share the very start of their journey with them as they move towards living in their lovely new retirement apartment.”

McCarthy & Stone discovery days are exciting events that take place around five to six months before the first homeowners move in. “Normally, at this point the roof is on and the builders are working on the interiors,” explains Debbie. “This is when potential customers get to meet the sales team, and also find out more about how things will play out if they do decide to purchase.

“Our partner companies are there to talk about how they can help make the sale of their property and the move into their new apartment as stress free and easy as possible. They get to see the development plans, the apartment layouts and the prices.

“However, this isn’t a selling day – it’s simply an opportunity to share as much information as possible about how the process works, and so that we can all start putting names to faces.”

It is at this point that many customers first meet the sales executive for their area, who will have been talked through the wants and needs of people interested in that development.

Debbie covers the South East region and the sales executive is Karen Lewer. Together, Debbie and Karen will do a site visit, so that both are aware of any unique points or facts about the development that will be of interest to potential customers. Karen says that the transfer over from Debbie to herself is seamless. “From there on, I become their point of contact – the named person the customers can call directly with any queries.

“I visit people at home, taking the floor plans and prices with me. This is when we start looking at off-plan sales – where
homeowners reserve an apartment before the build has finished, so that they can have their pick of location and aspect within the building.

“This is also where we start pinning down timescales, so that they can properly prepare themselves for the next stage. I hand-hold right up to the point where they put their property on the market and they reserve their apartment – after that they’re placed in the very capable hands of a customer support executive, who will work with them right up to moving day.

“But I’ll still be around the development to say hello even after they’ve moved in. Once the development is completed, and people are living in it, I base myself there, welcoming potential customers who are considering buying a finished apartment.

“Throughout the whole journey, from start to finish, there’s always a named contact who knows you and what your needs are, delighted to keep you abreast of exactly what’s happening with your new home.”

To find out more about current retirement properties for sale across the country, click here.

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