Caxtons Chartered Surveyors

Published by Jennifer Williamson on 8 March 2021

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Caxtons is the largest independent firm of chartered surveyors in the South East of England. The firm’s 100-strong team operates from offices in Gravesend, Gillingham, Maidstone and Canterbury and manages over 10,000 properties for a wide range of clients.

The firm, like Kreston Reeves, can trace its roots back 200 years with the businesses in its current form established in June 1990.

The business was born out of a recession, grew through the 2008 financial crash, and will emerge stronger from the COVID pandemic, says Caxtons’ Financial Director Graham Mitchell.

Property management sits at the heart of Caxtons. Its respected property management team focuses on three large parts of the property market in the South East – commercial real estate, residential and student accommodation, and apartment blocks and housing estates.

“We are recognised in the market for our specialist commercial team that manages large business parks and industrial units, shops, offices, and restaurants, clubs and bars,” explains Graham. “Our dedicated block management team looks after the common areas of apartment buildings and amenity space for property owners and housing associations, whilst our residential team in Gillingham and Canterbury focuses on residential and student lettings. This is at the core of what we do and do so well.”

But there is more to the firm than property management. Caxtons has a dedicated team providing professional services including valuations and rent reviews, a commercial agency practice selling and letting office space across the South East, an industrial and residential development team, all working alongside an insurance department providing the insurance products property owners need.

“Caxtons does almost everything apart from sell houses,” says Graham.

 

Nationally, the real estate market, like many other parts of the economy, has been hit by the COVID pandemic, with retail and leisure feeling much of the brunt. Government support has staved-off many of the problems facing business but there is likely to be more pain to follow.

The South East, however, has fared better than other parts of the country, with demand for industrial space remaining particularly high. There is, says Graham, much to be positive about.

In the Spring of 2020, Caxtons quickly adapted to new ways of working, with its continued investment in IT making the transition to home working straightforward.

“Like many businesses, we realised very quickly that we could do a lot more working from home than we initially thought,” explains Graham. “There was considerable uncertainty in the market, but the restrictions allowed for essential inspections and agency work. Commercial viewings continued, albeit with social distancing measures and the wearing of PPE.

“We have surveyed our staff for their views on how they would like to work post-Covid and we will adopt a blended approach, with staff working from home one or two days a week and the rest from our offices.

“This hybrid working model is one we saw increasingly adopted before the Covid pandemic and will only accelerate. The office will remain a key part of our working lives for quite some time yet, and we see that first hand in the demand from businesses across the region.”

Caxtons has emerged from the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 in a strong financial position, ready to take advantage of the predicted uplift to the economy.

Graham Mitchell, Financial Director, Caxtons.

“Property businesses follow the economy and are often considered a barometer for economic sentiment,” says Graham. “We are expecting a significant uplift in the economy from the autumn onwards and are ready for that.

“But that is not to say challenges still remain. Recruitment in the property market remains a challenge and we feel that a little more acutely being so close to London.”

Caxtons enjoys a strong and productive relationship with Kreston Reeves that extends beyond the traditional accountancy client experience, with regular referrals of new clients between the two firms.

Kreston Reeves was first appointed to undertake a detailed review of the firm’s director remuneration packages resulting in each director benefitting from a substantial saving in tax each year. The firm was then appointed to provide full accountancy and audit support.

“We provide Jennifer Williamson and the Kreston Reeves team with a lot of management information each month,” explains Graham, “and regularly meet with them to share our thoughts and plans for months ahead.

“Jennifer and the Kreston Reeves team are proactive, keeping us up to date with financial changes that we need to understand with newsletters and training, adding value at every step of the way.

“Kreston Reeves projects a modern, forward-thinking firm, that is professional, and that reflects our own position. I expect performance from our advisers and Kreston Reeves delivers that.”

This year Kreston Reeves is celebrating 200 years of history. We are using the significant milestone as an opportunity to celebrate our clients, our colleagues, and our communities! Find out more

"Jennifer and the Kreston Reeves team are proactive, keeping us up to date with financial changes that we need to understand with newsletters and training, adding value at every step of the way. Kreston Reeves projects a modern, forward-thinking firm, that is professional, and that reflects our own position. I expect performance from our advisers and Kreston Reeves delivers that."

Graham Mitchell, Financial Director, Caxtons

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