About Property Assistant

“When YouGov conducted a survey in 2016, we were disheartened but not surprised to read that only 15% of people trusted their estate agents. With politicians closely following up at 13%, it reminded us that this was exactly the reason why we established our own company. Between us, we have spent decades in the property business, buying, selling and letting homes, but had become disillusioned with the way the industry operated and how little was being done to bridge this gap and build confidence with clients.

We established Property Assistant in 2014 with our sole aim being to provide a different kind of service when it comes to buying, selling and letting your home.  As well as allowing us the freedom to deliver the kind of individual solutions we think everyone deserves, we wanted to challenge the perception of who estate agents are.

We believe that an estate agent is more than just a middle-man and our company ethos is built around providing professional advice with a comprehensive and competent service that delivers what you need and not what we want to sell you.

An independent business working within a multi-national network of similarly self-motivated and professional estate agents with Keller Williams, we like to think we do things differently and here’s why:

  • Impartial advice. The founding principle of Property Assistant was to deliver what clients wanted as well as what they needed. We knew that to build trust, we had to be trustworthy and we could only do that by being wholly impartial. Being independent and offering advice based on your needs (even if it doesn’t suit ours) is the cornerstone of our business.
  • Experienced professionals. Having worked in the local property markets for the last twenty years there are very few scenarios and situations that we haven’t dealt with, and dealt with well. We are practical and focused people and see solutions when other people see problems.
  • One of the reasons estate agents aren’t trusted is they claim to know more than they do. If we can’t answer a question, we won’t try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes but we will find you an answer.
  • Strong work ethic. We work hard to deliver the results our clients want to achieve and go above and beyond to make sure it happens fast and efficiently.
  • Reasonable and competitive rates. The work we put in to every service we provide is reflected in the prices we charge and we know that we provide exceptional value for money.
  • Real people offering real solutions. We take the time to get to know every client so we understand exactly what they want and what is right for them…and what isn’t. We know that time is precious so we don’t waste anyone’s time offering unsuitable services.

Above all, we want to provide a personal and professional service that will make people think twice the next time YouGov asks them whether they trust their Estate Agent. We certainly hope that our attention to detail and high quality service puts us firmly in the 15% of people that do.”

Property Assistant

A true family estate agent, Property Assistant comprises husband and wife team,Daniel and Julie Lawry, along with their son, Daryl Bishop. Both Daryl and Daniel are professional estate agents with Julie bringing extensive logistical experience to the business. Established in 2014, Property Assistant offers a wide range of property related services including Sales, Lettings, Property Sourcing, Relocation and Downsizing. The family has lived and worked in the area all of their lives and, together, wanted to reclaim a good reputation for estate agents as providers of professional property solutions.

Utilising over 40 years of property sales, lettings and project management experience, the business has grown to offer a wide range of property related services tailored to assist everyone, whatever their budget.

Providing clients with honest impartial advice on all aspects of property transactions the company is also part of the Keller Williams network, the fastest growing estate agency with more than 120,000 agents across 30 countries worldwide.

Offering comprehensive advice and bespoke property related services with a professional but personal touch, Property Assistant are estate agents that see things differently and hope you will too.

Dan Profile Image

Daniel Lawry
Phone: 07930 301 015
Email: [email protected]

keller williams agent

Julie Lawry
Phone: 07758 223 554
Email: [email protected]

Daryl Bishop
Phone: 07528 960 225
Email: [email protected]

Our Partners: Keller Williams

We are delighted to be a part of the global family of Keller Williams; an international organisation of independent agents just like us who, together, provide a network of professionals designed to deliver exceptional back up.

When we first established Property Assistant we knew we wanted to work with a company that could help us to access the services of a larger network without losing our independence. In Keller Williams we have found a partner that gives us:

  • flexibility to offer our clients a comprehensive range of services.
  • access to a global network of partners providing an expert pool of knowledge.
  • strategic support in delivering a cutting edge service.

Founded in 1983, Keller Williams is a network of over 156,000 property agents in over 700 locations worldwide. Together we are proud to bring integrity, honesty and creativity to the property services industry.

Meet the Team

Who We Are: The People Behind Property Assistant.... Simon Longhurst

If you’ve been following our series about the power behind…

Who We Are: The People Behind Property Assistant.... Julie Lawry

There’s a beautiful quote by a famous Japanese writer that…

Property Search

Whether you are a first time buyer or not, the team are here to ensure property acquisition is not only cost effective but is a much simpler task for all parties concerned.

Investment

If you are looking for an investment property, whether that is a straight forward Buy-to-let or adding to a portfolio, the team are experienced at finding profitable property deals, including HMO’s (Houses of Multiple Occupancy). They can manage the transaction for you and if required organise the resale or letting of the investment.

Relocation

Whether you are a corporate client, a private individual or a family relocating to the Thames Valley, they offer a bespoke home finding service which is designed to enable the relocating employee to maintain work focus and productive, whilst reducing levels of anxiety and stress associated with such a move.

Downsizing

Established to help the retired generation and their families, the team are on hand to offer practical and professional support to enable retired people to move to the right place at the right time. They are here to take away the stress of finding new accommodation as well as project managing the whole moving process.

Executor Assistant

When a loved one dies there can be a great deal of time consuming work to be done, especially where there is a property involved. Offering professional assistance to executors and trustees the team is here to ensure an estate is settled promptly and efficiently. Their aim is to save clients time whilst raising as much revenue for the estate as possible.

Sales

If you are thinking of selling your property then Property Assistant should be your first port of call. They listen to your requirements and with many years of Estate Agency experience are able to advise you on how best they can secure you a sale. Please contact them if you would like any advice on selling or for a free valuation of your property.

Lettings

Property Assistant offer a range of lettings and property management services, for a portfolio of private and professional landlords who require a quality driven service from an agent that treats each property as if it were one of their own.

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Who We Are: The People Behind Property Assistant…. Miriam Sheridan

In the last of our series focusing on those individuals that help provide the professional service we offer here at Property Assistant, we wanted to introduce you to someone who makes a huge difference to our listings.

In a busy world, images are an important way to communicate with potential buyers and photographs can offer that all important first impression. That’s why we always use a professional photographer and our very proud of the partnership we have with someone who we think you’ll agree is one of the best.

Oh, and all of the images used in this piece are examples of Miriam’s work. Told you she was good!

Miriam Sheridan, Photographer

A specialist property photography providing exceptional images for estate agents, architects, interior designers and other businesses, Miriam provides all of the photos for our listed properties. She is one of those people that have a gift for design and she is able to help stage a room to make it look its best and the capture some stunning, and creative, images.

Miriam started her photography business in 2011 in Western Australia where she was living with her husband. She gained a lot of experience particular in the property market and brought this to bear when she moved back to the UK a few years later. As well as photographing houses, Miriam also teaches photography. You can find out more about her courses by visiting her website.

When it comes to the service she provides Property Assistant, we (and our clients) are always thrilled with the results of her shoots. In fact, we know that it is her images that can sometimes make the difference between a house that isn’t sell and one that does. Part of this is down to her professional work on a shoot but some of the magic happens during an edit when she turns her hand to some wizardry with Photoshop.

We were able to catch up with a very busy Miriam to get some answers to our regular set of questions.

Tell us a little about what your job entails.

I shoot for premium estate agents as well as interior designers and architects. Day to day, I charge all my gear’s batteries, clean it, load it into the car, and drive to a shoot. I always do a tour of the house first so that I can gauge how many shots will be needed and ensure that I don’t miss any rooms! A shoot takes on average 2 – 2.5 hours, I use off-camera lighting and don’t hesitate to move items as necessary to ensure that the property is presented well and that the images are balanced. If I can, I return home for lunch, but sometimes eat a packed lunch in my car between shoots. First shoot is 10am, second shoot is 2pm. If I don’t have a shoot on, I’m generally editing photos – it takes about 2.5 hours to edit the photos from a shoot, or more if I’m swapping in blue skies, putting fires in fireplaces, adding artwork, greening up the grass etc in Photoshop.

What did you do yesterday?

I started out with an early morning yoga practice in the garden, then I walked my dog, then once at my desk I spent all morning responding to emails, reviewing virtual staging images from my virtual staging guru, providing quotes, scheduling in photoshoots, responding to social media comments etc. Then in the afternoon I did a photoshoot in Newbury.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Finding time to do the videography course that I’ve enrolled on!

What kind of problems do you face on a day-to-day basis?

Finding houses that only have house names, no house number! I’ve got used to crawling along roads reading the house names and annoying anybody being me. Parking can also be a pain, particularly if I’m shooting in a city centre, as I can’t park on the driveway for the exterior shots.

What’s it like to work for Property Assistant?

Property Assistant were one of my first regular clients so we’ve got a long-standing relationship. They always help me during the shoot, moving items out of the way (sometimes a bigger job than you might think!) and making sure that I have everything I need. They’re friendly and respectful and I really enjoy working with them. Also, they always pay my invoices promptly!

If you weren’t working in your current job, what would be your dream career?

This is my dream career…! I also quite fancy doing up properties and selling them on, I do love a do-er upper project (what can I say, I love houses!).

What would be your ideal home and where would this be?

My husband and I have drawn up rough plans of our dream house – it has a dual height living area with tall windows and a mezzanine, open plan layout and a double sink in the ensuite! We would love to build our own house one day (potentially more than once!). I loved living by the ocean in Australia and would love to live by the sea again (or a lake would do!). If I had my choice of country… living along the French or Spanish Mediterranean coastline would be pretty cool.

If you won the lottery jackpot, after a house, what would be your first big purchase?

Another house! Like I mentioned I fancy buying properties, doing them up and selling them on, but to do that you need some capital to get you started.

What’s your guilty pleasure in life?

Homes Under the Hammer!!

What do you do to unwind after a stressful day?

Walk my dog or go for a drink with my husband

What five words would your best friend use to describe you?

I don’t know, and I can’t ask her because she’s gone travelling around Europe in a van indefinitely. I think she thinks I’m quite practical and organised… but everything’s relative!

What is the most important thing in life?

Balance

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?

I gave up on predicting the future many years ago! 10 years ago I was living in Nottingham organising language courses abroad. I thought that in 10 years’ time my husband and I would still be living there, with a couple of kids, and I’d still be organising language courses abroad. I could never have guessed that we would move to Australia (‘for two years’ – we stayed five years), that I would launch a photography business and ride in enormous machinery on mine sites taking photographs or go up in 2-seater planes over the outback to take photographs, or that I would have a studio and a gallery, or that I would try photographing houses and discover that I love it, or that we’d move to Berkshire and I’d be a property photographer! Life is a joyride, laugh and go with the flow!

Local History: Wokingham’s Blue Plaque Trail

Wokingham has fifteen Blue Plaques around the town, each having been nominated and selected as a building or structure of historical interest. These signs are managed by English Heritage and visibly link our older properties and monuments with people of the past to the present day.

Do you know where all fifteen plaques are? Have you visited them all?

1. Wokingham Railway Station

The trail starts at the very modern and new Wokingham Railway station. Not somewhere you’d expect to find a link to the past but it is the iron, brick and timber footbridge where you can find the first plaque.

The bridge links Oxford Road and Wellington Road where Barkham Road meets Station Road. Though the railway has been in use since 1849, it wasn’t until 1886 that a footbridge was built for pedestrians to safely cross the tracks. It was constructed using recycled materials from the railway including sleepers and rails designed ‘on the hoof’ my creative and industrious navvies. It is a Grade II listed structure (a bowstring supported on two piers) and is one of the only examples of this kind of innovate archaeology that has survived in the area.

2. The Queen’s Head Public House

If you walk up Station Road to The Terrace, you can find the next two Blue Plaques.

Believed to originally date from as early as the 15th century, The Queen’s Head has been a pub since at least 1740. It is a Grade II listed property and is one of the many examples of historic buildings you can find in the town; particularly on The Terrace. However, it is the construction of the building which makes it unique having been designed using a locally uncommon Cruck frame. The architecture is formed using timbers that are naturally curved. In demand for shipbuilding, construction for homes built with these ‘crooks’ are very rare, particularly in this area.

wokingham blue plaque trail queens head ph

Image via Wikimedia.

3. No. 15, The Terrace

This private residence is believed to be the oldest surviving building in Wokingham and is thought to have been constructed in the 14th century. There are some tell-tale signs from the exterior of the property that suggest it was, at one time, two individual cottages.

4. Tudor House

Continuing along from The Terrace and up Shute End towards the town, you will happen across a large Tudor style property at the end of Broad Street. Formerly the site of one of Wokingham’s medical centres, Tudor House is of 16th century construction and was once several properties, now united as one. Before it was a medical centre, the building was a school and a garage as well as an antique dealer’s shop. It was sold for conversion to be returned to residential use in 2013.

It is a classic example of the design of the day with timber framing, lathe and plaster and leaded casement windows.

wokingham blue plaque trail tudor house

Image via Wikimedia.

5. The Old British School

Walking past Tudor House, down Milton Road, you will find the Baptist Church, opposite which is the town’s Auction Rooms. A popular place to pick up arts and antiques and some unusual bargains, the building was originally opened in 1841 as a school for 200 children. Funded by subscription as a means to offer education to the families in poverty, the school was run under a mentoring system; this meant that older pupils would instruct their juniors whilst one Master would preside.

With an open truss roof and window lights, the building was converted in the 1880s to a Sunday School for the Baptist Church when the state stepped in to provide a national programme of education provision. It was subsequently sold in the 1990s and is now a private auction room that has featured on plenty of daytime television shows including Antiques Road Trip and Bargain Hunt.

6. Montague House

Heading back up Milton Road and on to Broad Street, you will find the next Blue Plaque location directly beside the Broad Street Tavern.

Montague House was originally built in the 16th century with later additions from the 17th and rebuilt in the early 18th century. The building is named after two Henry Montagues. A father and son, Montague the younger inherited the property from his father and put the building to use as a school. It was used as such until 1802 when it became a residential building once more. However, it reverted to an educational institute in the 19520s when the school located at Tudor House took up temporary accommodation here. The building was then a library and a part of Bracknell and Wokingham College until the 1990s when a new library was built in Denmark Street.

The building was sold in 2004 and became a restaurant with a fabulous courtyard setting; the  garden walls can be seen from the Waitrose car park. It has since been redeveloped as one and two-bedroom holiday apartments.

7. The Electric Theatre

A few doors down from Montague House and along Broad Street towards the town centre, you will find the Nationwide Bank. The building was originally opened in 1913 and was Wokingham’s first public cinema. Known as ‘the flea pit’ but officially called The Electric Theatre, and subsequently The Savoy. It was closed in 1951 and was witness to a rapid change in cinemas during the age of silent films to sound and, latterly, black and white to colour.

Although the town had a newer cinema, The Ritz on Easthampstead Road, this also closed in the 1991 and was never replaced….until now. With the final phase of Wokingham’s Regeneration Project almost at an end, we are looking forward to the return of the ‘big screen’ to the town.

8. Wokingham Town Hall

Continuing along to the centre of town, the marketplace is the hub of Wokingham and centres around this 19th century civil building. The Town Hall is located on the site of the former 16th century timber framed guildhall that it replaced in 1860.

Initially, it served as both council offices and as a police station with cells and an exercise yard and even housed the town’s fire department at one point.

Now, it serves as retail accommodation for several independent shops as well as the Courtyard bistro bar.

It is a Grade II listed property and a fine example of Victorian architecture which can be viewed by the general public. The upstairs hall with an elegant cross beamed open roof can be hired privately and is a popular venue for civil weddings. There are also meeting rooms to hire and the town’s Information Centre is situated inside.

9. The Maiden School

If you head back down Broad Street and turn east down Rose Street then you will be able to admire the many historic properties that this road has. It is thought to have been the first planned development in the town and was originally called Le Rothe Street; denoting a ‘clear area’. It is one of Wokingham’s most important streets from an architectural point of view and though there are plenty of new developments, many of the homes and properties here date back from the 14th to 18th centuries.

However, it is number 31 Rose Street that has itself a Blue Plaque. Known as The Maiden School, this property was purchased by money gifted by a wealthy spinster to form a school. Twelve local girls of ‘honest parents’ would be raised and educated here in the faith of the Church of England. Taught to read, sew and spin, the ‘sisters’ would remain here until their 12th birthdays.

By 1842, the school was replaced with a new and larger building at No 21 Rose Street but the property remained a schoolhouse, as accommodation for the mistress and her assistants.

By 1875 and the reformation of National Schools, number 31 Rose Street was leased out to tenants as a private residence. The first tenant was a man called James Seaward, a chimney sweep, who lived in the property for 44 years. Seaward might be a name you recognise as he was the first working class man to be elected to the town’s council. He is also thought to have been the inspiration for Charles Kingsley’s ‘Tom’ from the classic book, ‘The Water Babies’.

10. St Crispin’s School

A short walk to the end of Rose Street and down London Road heading away from Town and you can find, what might be, a surprising holder of a Blue Plaque; the modern secondary comprehensive school, St Crispin’s.

Opened in 1953, the building is far from ‘historic’ by many people’s standards. However, the school was built as a prototype for post-war designs planned for economics and speed of erection. The concept for the school was to provide a space that offered the best possible learning and teaching environment. The designs were incredibly successful and St Crispin’s holds the honour of (according to a key publication) having had ‘more influence than any other school built since the war’.

Due to its historic and cultural importance, the school is Grade II listed. Since the 1950s, you’ll be pleased to know that the buildings have been extended with a new multi-million pound block added in 2012.

wokingham blue plaque trail st crispins

Image via Geograph.     

11. The Peach Street ‘Overhangs’

Heading back towards town and along the one-way system that is Peach Street, you can’t help but notice the next Blue Plaque building(s). Known as the ‘Overhangs’, this run of timber-framed properties date back to the 16th century.

The overhanging section of the buildings, known as a jetty, were common designs of this period whereby the first storey of a property could be extended beyond the ground floor perimeter.

12. Church House

Turing left off Peach Street down Easthampstead Road and straight down to the turning for Wescott Road you will find our next historic building.; Church House.

Designed by Morris and Son of Reading for the All Saints Parish this property is now a residential building but has served the community in many ways since it was built in 1901. Principally acting as a parish meeting place, it was an important auxiliary hospital for the Red Cross during the years 1915 to 1919.

13. Wescott Infant School

Carry on down Wescott Road and you will find Wescott Infant School; another Victorian building that formed part of the All Saints Parish.

Named for the first mayor of Wokingham, Thomas Manley Wescott, it opened in 1906 and is the oldest school in the district that is still in its original premises.

14. The Old Workhouse

Heading back into the town and walking down Peach Street to the Town Hall, bear right down Denmark Street and you can find the last of the plaques in the town centre. Now housing one of Wokingham’s independent shops, a jewellers called Kaanaanmaa, No 22 Denmark Street was originally a workhouse.

Dating back to the late 16th or early 17th century and known as Old Oakingham Whurkhouse, the building is timber framed and housed up to 22 inmates. There is a small window looking out to the passageway from which it is believed that the bodies of dead workers were lowered out of sight of the living.

The building ceased being a workhouse when a larger replacement was built on Barkham Road, now the Wokingham Hospital.

wokingham blue plaque trail workhouse denmark street kaanaanmaa

Image via Google Maps.

15. The Lucas Hospital/Alms House

To reach the final Blue Plaque, you’ll need to take a lengthy stroll down the Finchampstead Road out of town and down Luckley Road. At the end of this rural lane which turns into a private road leading to the famous Ludgrove School, you will find the private residence of the Lucas Hospital.

Completed in 1666, the hospital is named after an MP, Henry Lucas Esq. who bequeathed a sum of money in his will to establish an alms house for the poor men who lived in Windsor Forest.

It is Wokingham’s only Grade I listed property which was sold in 2001 by the Henry Lucas Charity for use as a private home.

The Wokingham Society

The information to put together this piece was compiled from the research put together by the Wokingham Society. A non-political, civic organisation whose focus is to protect the town’s heritage, the Wokingham Society is open for new members. You can find forms online via their website or you can collect a hard copy from either the Wokingham Library or the Town Hall Information Centre.

You can find full details of Wokingham’s Blue Plaque Trial via the Wokingham Society’s website which includes a trail map and a downloadable pdf leaflet with further information.

Property Assistant: Love Local

A local family business, Property Assistant provides residents and newcomers to the area with information about the towns and areas in which they live. We are proud of Wokingham and the diverse cultural heritage that is preserved here. If you’d like to know more about the Thames Valley area then you can find our full selection of guides here.

Got a question about Wokingham or another town or village in the area? Give us a call on 0118 912 2370 and we’d be happy to try and answer it.

Who We Are: The People Behind Property Assistant…. Simon Longhurst

If you’ve been following our series about the power behind Property Assistant then you wil already know that we firmly believe that the strength of any company lies in the people. Again, we turn our attention to the cogs and wheels of our machine and focus on one man whose job it is to keep these well-oiled. May we take our collective hats off this week to….

Simon Longhurst, Maintenance Engineer

A huge part of our lettings business is keeping the tenants of our managed properties happy in their homes. As all of us will know, the business of maintaining a property is many and varied and requires someone who is a master of many trades. Simon is certainly that and brings attention to detail and professional expertise to the table with all of the jobs that is required of him.

From repairs to decoration, routine and planned maintenance to emergency call outs, Simon has proven himself to be reliable and dependable. He is honest, friendly yet professional and enjoys communicating; all essential traits when you have someone working in your home.

That’s why we use his services and have no problem in recommending him to others.

A busy man, we managed to catch up with him to get some answers to a few personal questions to shine a light on the man behind the maintenance.

Tell us a little about what your job entails.

My job is essentially to fix things and resolve problems that may have been raised by an Agent, a Landlord or a Tenant. My role involves being reliable, communicative and professional, as well as multi skilled.

What did you do yesterday?

Around 10 jobs ranging from a dripping tap, a leaking shower, changing a light fitting, painting, fixing a door lock and sealing a sink.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Managing time to ensure that expectations are met and that the more urgent jobs are prioritised.

What kind of problems do you face on a day-to-day basis?

I regard them as challenges rather than problems. There is normally a resolution, but it might take more thought, more time or more materials than originally estimated.

What’s it like to work for Property Assistant?

Great. Dan and Julie and the team are communicative, friendly, fair and professional.

If you weren’t working in your current job, what would be your dream career?

I gave up a career as a senior manager in international sales and marketing…so this IS my dream job!

What do you do to unwind after a stressful day?

I like to sing, whether it be with a band or a theatre production, and I also like to cook (and eat!)

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?

Doing the same thing as I love what I do.