David Clayton - Managing Director
When David and Valerie started the business 23 years ago they had the simple yet very clear goal of giving people expert and honest property advice.
That commitment to the client was recognised in 2014 when Claytons were named the Top Selling Agent in Watford.*
Born and bred in Garston David has been in the estate agency for more than three decades and there’s hardly anything he hasn’t experienced during this time.
David said: “I love the competitive nature of the business and getting to meet people from all walks of life. I’m passionate about giving people straight forward advice. We’re not your stereotypical estate agents and that’s something we’re all proud of.”
The father of three dreamed of being a footballer when he was a lad but is delighted to enjoy a career helping people find their dream home.
The best compliment David has ever received was when a delighted client told him ‘you don’t look or act like an estate agent.’
David’s Top Tip: “Getting the price right on your property is all important and listen to your agent’s advice.”
*According to property portals Zoopla and Right Move.
Coral Simpson - Lettings Manager
Coral is one of the team’s newest members having been with Claytons for eight years!
As a mum of two and the manager of a department which has more than 300 clients on its books clock watching is never an option for Coral.
She said: “Time flies in our office as there is always something to do. I love it. In the lettings department our role is to liaise with landlords and tenants and ensuring both sides are happy and that communication is clear.
“Our role is getting the right tenant together with the right landlord. We’re kind of like property matchmakers in that respect.”
Coral prides herself on being professional, punctual and efficient.
Coral’s Top Tip: “As a landlord it’s important to remember you have legal responsibilities. We can help advise you on these.
Valerie Fraser - Managing Director
Valerie and David Clayton opened the doors to their office in 1993.
Valerie’s been in the industry for 30 years and during that time she has developed the patience of a saint and the diplomacy of Henry Kissinger.
Valerie who has lived locally for many years said: “Buying or selling a home is stressful and we’re here to help people make the transaction as smooth as possible.
“It’s a great feeling when you know you’ve helped a family find their dream home. One of my best ever experiences here was when a Dad bought a house as a surprise for his family. They’d been living in tiny, rented accommodation and the new home was spacious allowing the children to all have their own bedroom.
“Keeping it a secret was difficult but seeing the family’s joy and happiness when they collected the keys to their new home was so emotional and made it all so worthwhile.”
If a career in estate agency hadn’t gone so well Valerie would have like to work with deaf children as a teacher.
Valerie’s Top Tip: “Play safe and don’t start buying furniture or dreaming of your new home until you’ve exchanged contracts.”
Helen Cole - Sales Negotiator
Helen is the office’s mother figure and has worked at Claytons for 18 years.
With two grown up children of her own she prides herself on being caring and personable.
Helen said: “My role is to make appointments and accompany people on viewings. I love my job as I’m chatty by nature and my role gives me a chance to do this on a daily basis.
“We get a lot of repeat business because we look after people well and the advice we give is always genuine.”
If she hadn’t created a successful career in estate agency she would have like to have been a nurse.
Helen’s Top Tip: “If you are putting your house on the market try to neutralise strong smells such as last night’s curry or the cat’s litter.”
Bev Hiney - Office Manager
Bev is the office’s Mrs Organised.
Her attention to detail and conscientious approach has kept Claytons running smoothly for more than 21 years since she joined David and Valerie’s team.
The mother of two has lived in the local area since she was 15 years old.
Bev said: “The biggest challenge I face on a regular basis is getting people to agree to a moving date especially when there are a lot of people in the chain. I always find that if the people involved in the transaction have met or at least spoken this can make an agreement easier to reach.
“The best part of my job is making the call to tell people they’ve exchanged. I’ll often try to call before their solicitor as I love to hear people who’ve been stressed and anxious so relieved and happy.”
If she hadn’t become Claytons go to girl she would’ve enjoyed a career working with dogs.
Bev’s Top Tip: “First impressions count when selling or letting. Make sure your home smells nice and get rid of any clutter.”
Debbie Bingham - Sales Negotiator
Debbie has worked at Claytons for nine years.
Having lived in the area for the past 30 years Debbie’s local knowledge is second to none.
Debbie said: “Working in our office is great. With so many ladies here it can often feel like the set of the TV talk show Loose Women. Everyone chips in and we work well together to benefit our clients through providing genuine care, excellent service and expert advice.
“With up to ten viewings a day, I often feel like the cartoon character Roadrunner. It’s always a great feeling getting contracts exchanged but the flipside is how disappointing everyone feels if a property chain breaks.”
Debbie’s Top Tip: “When putting your property up for sale take the time every day to keep it clean, tidy and smelling nice. It’s worth doing as this can sometimes be the difference between someone buying your home or not.”
Maggie Lloyd - Sales Negotiator
With a tight knit team Claytons often feels like a family run business. That’s certainly the case for Maggie who works alongside her sister Mary in the office.
Maggie has been with Claytons for nine years and believes it’s a special place to work. She said: “
We are different from other estate agents. We do not hard sell and because we’re all women here (with the exception of David and Jason) I think we’re better listeners.
“The best part of my job is having clients refer us or use our services again. It shows we’re getting it right.”
The mother of three has lived in the area for 24 years and added: “The team’s local knowledge is based from living here and bringing up children in the area. I think it’s another reason why Claytons have such a great reputation locally.”
Maggie’s Top Tip: “Do keep your property clean and tidy. Don’t allow clutter to put off viewers.”
Mary Fox – Lettings Negotiator
Mary joined the predominantly female team at Claytons nine years ago.
And Mary believes it’s girl power which make the company such a successful one.
The mother of two said: “Estate agency is all about listening to and caring for your clients. I think women are naturally pretty good at doing this.
“We genuinely care about our clients. I want good tenants for our landlords and vice versa.”
The biggest challenges Mary faces is getting all the required paperwork together in time for the tenants to move in.
She added: “In my role it pays to be organised and persistent.”
Mary’s Top Tip: “Neutral colours such as magnolia or cream work best for attracting tenants because they’re easier on the eye.”
Vicky is a woman for all seasons and most jobs that need doing in the office. Her all purpose part- time role sees her do a little bit of everything – really well.
She first started at Claytons as a Saturday girl 17 years ago. She rejoined the team six months ago, is a mother of four and David’s sister.
Vicky said: “I came back to work here because the office is great fun, always busy and it’s fantastic to know you’re doing something that makes people happy.
“My favourite moment was when showing a woman around a property she began crying. After having a chat it became clear that she had inherited money when her mother died and that this property was her dream family home. The lady was so emotional because she said her mum would’ve been delighted she put the inheritance to such brilliant use.”
Vicky’s Top Tip: “Choose claytons – we will look after your interests.”
Laura Knight – Lettings Negotiator
Laura’s been with Claytons since May 2014 and is described as the baby of the office.
She’s new to the estate agent industry but brings with her fresh as a daisy enthusiasm and great local knowledge as she’s Watford born and bred.
The mother of two said: “I really love the job because it is rewarding and challenging at the same time.
“It’s the most varied role I’ve ever had. One minute you’re solving maintenance issues the next you are checking identifications and paperwork.”
Laura’s Top Tip: “For tenants I’d say treat the property like it’s your own. For landlords I’d say look after the tenants needs and they’ll look after your property.”
Andrea Carr - Secretary
Andrea is a real team player who has been with Claytons for 11 years.
By being organised, adaptable and super efficient Andrea keeps on top of all the daily deadlines she faces.
She said: “Our office is really busy but we all get on well and there is a real team atmosphere. It’s a great place to work.
We all chip in and I’ve even been known to accompany viewings as well as the usual parts of my role.”
Andrea has lived in the local area all of her life.
She added: “We get a lot of return business and that is testimony to how we look after people.”
Andrea’s Top Tip: “Kerb appeal is important. Think how your property would look to a prospective buyer from the outside.”
Caroline is the office’s Mrs Multi-Task as her role sees her covering in both the sales and lettings departments.
She’s worked at the office for the past 18 months and is already a popular member of the Claytons team with her fun and enthusiastic attitude.
Caroline said: “It’s such a great, fun place to work and I love talking with new people and learning more about the processes involved in all areas of our work.”
As a child Caroline wanted to work for the Queen and describes her hero as her Dad who served in the Navy.
She added: “This best thing about my role is when people remember what we’ve done for them and recommend us to others.”
Caroline’s Top Tip: “A vase of fresh flowers in a property always gives a good impression because they look nice and smell good.”