Property insider view: George Lorimer who is heading up Rettie & Co.’s new St Andrews office

Job title: Director of Rettie & Co.’s new St Andrews branch, which covers Fife, Dundee, Broughty Ferry and Angus.

George Lorimer who is heading up Rettie & Co.’s new St Andrews office
George Lorimer who is heading up Rettie & Co.’s new St Andrews office

Rettie & Co. is one of Scotland and the North East of England’s most trusted residential sales companies. From our network of local offices, we help clients from all over the world sell quality property – from city-centre flats to premium family homes in the countryside.

How did you get started?

As the son of a house builder I have clear recollections of a very early involvement in the property world. It wouldn’t be allowed now, but as a boy I was always up scaffolding, visiting sites, in lorries, playing with cement mixers, meeting joiners and bricklayers, and so on.

And selling has always come naturally and is something I really enjoy – if it wasn’t houses, it would have been cars.

Although I studied law at university and then practised as a corporate solicitor, I suspect that I was always an estate agent at heart.

At 30, I changed direction and returned to uni to do a masters in land economy, then trained as an estate agent with a large RICS surveying firm – and the rest is history.

What is your typical day like?

Every day is different and that’s one of the great things about estate agency.

It is a fast-moving world and buyers and sellers need quicker responses than ever. So catching up with emails, messages, social media is always the first job of the day, and something we then focus on throughout the rest of the day.

We’ll generally have a quick team catch up before the phones calls and emails start coming in.

My main job is generating business for the new office, sourcing and carrying out market appraisals and winning new listings.

Typically, I will be out meeting prospective clients, appraising properties, liaising with surveyors, lawyers and photographers and preparing sales particulars.

Currently, challenges mainly revolve around the general shortage of stock, and – of course – the problems that the pandemic has caused. But this just makes it all the more rewarding to win good new business.

The best parts of the job are helping people get on with their lives, alleviating as much of the moving and selling stress as possible, while achieving the

best possible results.

What was the first property you bought or sold for a client?

The job is so varied and the properties so diverse. We get to meet some amazing sellers and purchasers, and see some wonderful homes.

I can’t specifically recall my first sale or purchase, but there has been an abundance of memorable clients and sales – some of which I have dealt with two or three times over the course of my estate agency career to date.

It’s an unusual job, as you do tend to get to know clients and their families really well, but normally only for quite a short space of time.

There have been tears, laughter, stress and joy, as well as births, deaths and everything else in between.

Possibly my personal favourite has been seeing a semi-derelict country mansion that we sold outside St Andrews fully restored to its former glory.

What is your favourite type of property?

Architect-designed one-off contemporary properties,eco-houses and coastal properties – all of which there are quite a lot of in Fife.

Where do you live?

Like a lot of people, we moved out to the country in 2020 and now live in an old, cold, rather run-down, but lovely, East Neuk farmhouse near Anstruther. For neighbours, we now just have cows, sheep and currently lots of swallows nesting in the courtyard.

With views over the Forth to North Berwick Law, amazing beaches on the doorstep and dark starry nights, we love it and can’t really see us moving any time soon.

Unless, that is, we are completely overrun by the field mice next winter – they seem to rather like the house too.

Does your job affect your social life?

A busy estate agency career does rather tend to be all-consuming so that you are rarely completely off-duty, whether it be dealing promptly with emails or answering calls, or a former client suddenly appearing in the queue next to you in Tesco.

It has often been the case that buyers and sellers have become pals of mine and the same goes for the lawyers, surveyors and photographers and other people we work with on a regular basis. It’s all part of the buzz – and, yes, I do get lots of golf invites.

How is the market in 2021?

This year, so far, has been pretty spectacular. To open a new branch in a unique town like St Andrews at a time like this has been amazing.

Demand is far outstripping supply as buyers continue to crave a new post-Covid lifestyle. And, with the 150th British Open returning to St Andrews in 2022, Rettie & Co. is offering a short lets service which is already proving very popular.

The town is really starting to buzz in anticipation and it will be great to be fully engaged with both locals and visitors, who will descend on the town from all over the planet.

The fact that I was born and bred in this wonderful part of Scotland is the icing on the cake.

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