Commercial property: The Living Room acts as shop window

The rise of internet house hunting has seen a decline in bricks and mortar premises by traditional estate agents.

But the new-build developer Cala Homes has just launched a high-street buying hub in the heart of Aberdeen.

The Living Room, located on Rosemount Place, is intended to help potential customers learn more about the housebuilder’s portfolio of developments across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

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Nevertheless it is not a sales centre, which Cala usually sets up at each of its individual developments. Rather, the Rosemount premises will act as a central point for visitors to receive guidance on the homebuying process from first-time buying to part-exchange, but it will not have sales boards or house types on display.

Fraser Carr, sales and marketing director at Cala Homes North, says: “Cala was founded in the city, so it feels very natural to have a base in the hub of Aberdeen.

“Providing a central location where house hunters can get an overview of our ethos, developments, and options – or even pop in to sign documents or pick up keys – is something we’re proud to do.”

Carr explains: “The location, in the West End of Aberdeen, is where lots of our buyers for developments in Cults and Milltimber come from. They tend to be family buyers living in apartments or houses [in the city centre] looking to move out for extra space.

“We hope to engage them early in the house buying process, so The Living Room is for information rather than [acting as] a sales office.

“The seven days a week office in the city centre also gives flexibility to deal with existing customers to drop off documents or view options.

“It is a good spot for us, and a high-street presence provides both a shop window and a space for future events.”

Since the launch, early visitors to the hub have tended to be at the beginning of the house buying process, with visitors looking to gather information about what properties are available and affordable before viewing.

Carr says: “We can chat through the local property market – not just new-build but traditional too – and that is something online agents can’t do.”

The Living Room also allows a collaborative approach with other brands. Carr expands: “We have had enquiries about joint promotions from a department store, a car garage and a charity.

“We have a launch event at the end of the month being catered by [a nearby] deli with the local butchers doing a prize draw, and a furniture store next door is involved. We are hoping to work with other businesses and make the most of our location in a local high street.

Carr also observes that, although Cala’s bricks and mortar presence is only presently in Aberdeen, it could suit other cities.

He says: “The geography for us works well and, at the moment, it will work in addition to sales centres at developments.

“The location is great, on a busy crossroads. It suits our marketing strategy in Aberdeen, because it is a small city, but you could see the model working in the centre of Edinburgh or Glasgow.”