About House & Son
House & Son has been providing professional services to the Bournemouth community since 1939. We maintain the same traditional values, with integrity and honesty coupled with passion to meet and exceed our clients and customers expectations.
We can offer a range of services to help you, from selling or renting to block management, and surveys and valuations. As established estate agents in Bournemouth, we are one of the oldest multi-property agencies in the area.
House and Son was established in 1939 by founding father Mr Donald House just before the outbreak of World War II and played an important role during that period and afterwards in the redevelopment of parts of Bournemouth. We are still in the current premises after all these years and take pride in continuing the legacy of this company.
Birth of a Dream
A 17 year old Donald House took more than a fleeting glance at two men busily engaged in a property survey, little did he realise that was the trigger to determine his destiny and launch him into a profession as a surveyor, valuer, estate agent and auctioneer, and a career that would last for over 60 years.
“I wanted to be a solicitor but when I saw those two surveyors so engrossed in their work, I thought to
myself – that’s for me!”
- Donald House
Mastering a Craft
In the 20’s there was already a well-estabished firm of surveyors and estate agents called Hankinson & Son whose premises dominated the North West side of the square in Bournemouth. Founded in 1865 where Debenhams is now, Hankinsons was the second oldest firm in the fashionable resort of Bournemouth, and it was to them that young Donald applied for a job… and got it.
Donald House’s drive, determination and hardwork were soon spotted – and rewarded – and it wasn’t long before he qualified as an associate member of the Chartered Surveyors Institution (now the RICS) and of the Society of Valuers and Auctioneers. It was Major Rebbeck of Rebbecks, the first ever estate agents in Bournemouth, who was one of those who signed his application form to study for the professional exams.
Setting the Foundations
Hankinsons ceased practicing and Donald House left with a glowing reference from the firm and was immediately approached by the owner of the recently built Lansdowne House in Christchurch Road and asked to manage it.
Supporting the Community
1939 – 1945
On moving into Lansdowne House at the start of the Second World War, Donald House had no sooner put up his “Brass Plate” when his services were requested by the District Valuer. He had what was termed a ‘Reserved Occupation” and as a result was drafted onto the panel of surveyors to deal with war damage compensation. His professional qualifications also led him to work with SAQC responsible for requisitioning buildings in the area, for the purpose of troop billeting and various other uses.
“Lansdowne House was one of the first of the modern purpose built buildings for flats, shops and chambers in the Lansdowne area of Christchurch Road, and on the other side of the road at that time there was mainly large detached Victorian and Edwardian villas. I was one of the first tenants in this vast and partially empty building, and no sooner had the first residents moved into the flats, then most were off again – inland, and to safer domains to avoid being sitting targets for Hitler’s bombers. By late October 1939 not only had I established a professional practice of surveyors and valuers, helped by Miss Watkins who up to then was secretary to the principal at Hankinsons. I had also opened up our Auction salerooms. But then the war changed the market completely. With my special ID card I was able to travel all along Wessex coast on various projects and at night I donned uniform and tin hat to do my bit as fire warden. We were always losing windows in Lansdowne area of Bournemouth, but I’ll never forget that Sunday when Hitler’s bombs wiped out the Metropole Hotel with a hundred or more Canadian troops inside. It was tragic – quite sickening.”
- Donald House
Building a future
Once the war ended business began to pick up for House & Son, though the government by then had introduced a price control on furniture which naturally, affected income in the auction salerooms.
“The auctioneer would have to disclose the reserve price and if the bidding started or ended with a number of people in the running then they would have to draw cards to see who had ‘won’ the piece in question.”
– Donald House
Terry House became a partner
Donald House and his son Terry House, who joined the firm in 1951, made House & Son into one of the most respected establishments in the area – and buyers from all over the country visit the fortnightly auctions held in the Lansdowne House sale rooms.
“The first ever lot realised on Janurary 2nd 1940 on behalf of someone called Rivas, though the records don’t say what it was. It’s probably benn in and out of sale rooms quite a lot over the last seventy years, which means good business for auctioneers!”
– Donald House
“Apart from the prices of collectables, the property market has changed out of all recognition. Since I was young the whole area around Bournemouth. Poole and Christchurch has witnessed enormous growth and development. Bourenmouth’s East Cliff was always very refined and there used to be a very much extended winter season with families, including the nobility taking long lets on furnished property. Castle Lane in Bournemouth was a gravel track before that area was built on: and what ever happened to the Indian Hut at Five Ways in Charminster.”
– Donald House
Handing over the reins
Donald House handed over the reins to his son Terry House. Donald House can look back with satisfaction and know that his mark is on several major projects in the area. He did the surveying for the construction of new roads for part of the Branksome or Durrant estate, and with Terry was involved in negotiating the sale of four acres of prime sea-facing East Cliff land on which has since been built a block of 133 luxury flats – Elizabeth Court.
Rediscovering a passion
1996 – 1997
Terry House sold his Estate Agency arm of Sales and Lettings, along with his Property Valuation and Management departments to Colin Wetherall, a qualified valuer. Colin Wetherall joined House & Son in 1988 as a Negotiator and quickly rose to become Sales Manager in 1990. Colin had noticed that many of the Leases of the flats on the East Cliff have problems with rising ground rents. When Colin took his RICS exams in 1993, one of the options he specialised in was the Leasehold Reform legislation, which was to stand him in good stead in later years.
The recent years
1998 – 2016
Having carried out a management buy-out of the property side of House & Son in 1997, Colin set out rebuilding the fortunes of the firm which had languished in the recession in the 1990’s.
“We immediately opened a Lettings Department” and since 1997 the growth in the department has been incredible. From a cold start in 1997 we now have over 700 properties under management.
We also went back into Residential Block Management, and having had 3 blocks in 1997, we now have over 90. All of this has been achieved on quality of service, reputation and word-of-mouth.
In 2001 Brenda Baker retired and Neil Wren joined the partnership with Colin. Neil came from Allan & Bath and set to work increasing the Lettings Department. His work has been a fantastic achievement, bringing us to where we are now.
Expanding horizons and a new office!
Conscious of the ever-expanding student market, and also wanting to be able to offer a diversity of property, House & Son opened a second office in 2007. Here House & Son specialise in student letting and residential sales of houses, whereas the East Cliff office specialises in the residential sale of apartments.
Year on year, turnover has increased since 1997 almost 15-fold and we now have a staff of 25 enthusiastic individuals, all professionals in their own sphere.
Along the way House & Son has incorporated and being an RICS member firm, is regulated by them.
In 2018 Colin celebrated 30 years at House & Son and shows no sign of slowing down.