Becky and Mike remain masters of their own destinies thanks to franchising
Becky Troisi and Mike Ellis are what you might call a property match made in heaven.
“He’s very good at the organisational side of the business and I’m a real people person and a bit of a talker,” laughs Becky who, alongside business partner Mike, has just marked her 14th year as Martin & Co New Milton’s franchise owner with a first independent agency portfolio acquisition.
In fact, their New Forest office is now a whole 66% bigger than it was prior to the acquisition of BrightWater Properties’ portfolio.
“It was a no-brainer to look to progress with BrightWater,” adds Becky, “as we’re always looking to expand and we also knew them, too, so it was a straightforward process.
“We’d love to expand further if the market allows it, but we’d always prefer portfolio expansion over potential sub-offices because a lot of our territory is fields, ponies and forests – which is lovely but unfortunately ponies don’t like paying rent!”
Becky and Mike were both working for a Bournemouth law firm back in 2007, Mike in the IT department and Becky as a legal executive.
Friends and work colleagues with a shared interest in property, the stars aligned when both Becky and Mike were left facing redundancy at the same time.
“We were good friends and decided to become the masters of our own destiny,” smiles Becky.
“We both had a big interest in property, Mike because he was buying them as a landlord and me because I’ve always been intrinsically nosey!
“We’re entirely sure what we were going to do after we were made redundant, and we went to a franchise exhibition to see what was on offer.
“But then Mike spotted an advert for the sale of Martin & Co Lymington in a trade paper.
“It was ideal as the business was local to us both, but the franchisor is also based nearby in Bournemouth, too.
“We also knew we’d get the support we needed from such a well-established franchisor as The Property Franchise Group.
“Although Mike had experience in property and I had a big interest, it’s a huge step up to running
your own business in the sector and we both wanted the safety net that comes with a proven
franchise business model.
“We booked at appointment to see them, and the rest is history.”
The pair quickly set about relocating Martin & Co Lymington to a new premises in nearby New Milton.
“The office had been trading for five years before we purchased it and was originally based in a serviced office in Lymington,” explains Becky.
“We couldn’t find a high street premises in Lymington at the time because of council restrictions on change of use, so we re-located to New Milton and that was 14 years ago now.
“We become a part of the community very quickly and we’ve always supported other local businesses and ventures, sponsoring local youth football teams and other organisations.
“It’s a very traditional area and a lot of what we do is face-to-face.
“Most of our landlords want to come into the office and see us rather than deal with everything online.
“They want to come in, sit down with a cup of tea and have a chat about their properties and that’s the service we like to offer – friendly and professional.”
The New Milton office covers a wide part of the New Forest, including the town of New Milton itself and nearby villages like Brockenhurst, Barton-on-Sea and Hordle.
The area has always remained a popular spot for local buyers and renters, but also now with London workers seeking a more aligned work/life balance in the post-pandemic UK.
“New Milton is a really varied market when it comes to tenants and since Covid we’ve had a lot of people relocating down here from London,” says Becky.
“A lot of them are now working from home and commute up to London once a week or a couple of times a month and they can do that easily from New Milton because of the direct rail links to Waterloo.
“They are attracted by green fields of the New Forest on one side and the Hampshire coastline on the other, so it’s a great place to be.”
With a small but perfectly formed team around them in New Milton, Becky and Mike have further plans to grow their business while always retaining their traditional approach.
“It works well as we both have different life experiences and can plug the gaps between us,” says Becky.
“We’re a good match and between us we’ve pretty much got everything covered alongside our team of two.
“We both love what we do and are passionate about it and I think that shows.”