Why Chris is so keen to make an early start

PROPERTY businessman Christopher Hall, 62, jumps out of his Skeyton bed every morning because there is always so much to do.His CV, detailing a high-flying, 46-year career, includes his status as a past president of the National Association of Estate Agents, and president elect of FIABCI UK, the international real estate federation which represents 60 countries.

PROPERTY businessman Christopher Hall, 62, jumps out of his Skeyton bed every morning because there is always so much to do.

His CV, detailing a high-flying, 46-year career, includes his status as a past president of the National Association of Estate Agents, and president elect of FIABCI UK, the international real estate federation which represents 60 countries.

But wheeling and dealing on a global stage has not budged Christopher's core beliefs in traditional values.

Sometimes teased for being a 'networking nutter,' he's a fervent believer in being a part of his local community, honesty, talking directly to people in all walks of life, and he makes the effort to thank, congratulate and smile rather than moan.


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Christopher is a partner in the Homeworks estate agencies and an international property consultant but still found time to serve on North Walsham Town Council and take on the chairmanship of North Walsham in Bloom for two years; roles he has recently relinquished.

Born and bred in Norfolk and educated at the Norwich School, Christopher began his working life as an articled pupil in a chartered quantity surveyors' office. He later became a project manager and director on building and civil engineering projects in the UK and abroad.

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A 'burning desire to be self employed' in the mid-1980s eventually led him into the estate agency business.

Christopher says he sensed the property crash coming and had planned ahead, selling his multi-office operation in Norfolk in 2001 and concentrating on consultancy work before launching Homeworks in 2008, when other estate agencies were folding. The firm expanded with a second office at Taverham earlier this year.

'The majority of the businesses that are surviving the recession have got tradition in their make-up, as well as being a bit radical. While there was all that money floating about there was too much glossy stuff going on and not enough attention to the four 'Ps': preparation, presentation, price and promotion,' he said.

He recognises that there are 'rogues' in every profession but stands up for the integrity of the majority of hard-working, multi-skilled estate agents.

Christopher doesn't take holidays but hugely values home life with his wife Wendy and their son Ben, 10. He also has two grown-up step children. He is the third generation in his family of Norwich City FC fans and is an associate director of the club.

What's the best thing about your job?

'It's varied and meaningful - helping buyers to buy their dream home and sellers to sell theirs. I also have to say that I do enjoy getting to meet high-profile people. I've been out with Henry Cooper, met Carol Vorderman and been to one of the Queen's garden parties.'

… and the worst thing?

'There are not enough hours in the day. I have to drag myself to bed.'

What different career path might have interested you?

'Being focused as a pianist, architect or a surgeon.'

Favourite book, film and TV programme

'The most recent book I've read was Provided You Don't Kiss Me, about Brian Clough. I also remember Animal Farm (George Orwell) and Manwatching (Desmond Morris). I don't really have time for films or TV - even to watch a whole football match. I caught bits of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here which was good.'

What one piece of music would you take to a Desert Island?

Well it could have been Rod Stewart, Long John Baldry or Will You Still love Me Tomorrow? by the Shirelles, but it's Gabriel's Oboe (Ennio Morricone's theme from the 1986 film The Mission) which I chose for my dad's funeral.

Tesco's in north Norfolk towns: yes or no?

Christopher says he's neutral on the subject: 'The market sorts itself out,' but he urged everyone to support their local traders because of their community value as meeting places. 'In Tesco now you can just push all your shopping under a machine yourself. You don't have to talk to anybody. There are too many people not talking to each other and that includes hiding behind social networking sites,' he said.

Pet hates

HIPS (Home Information Packs), the compulsory documents which sellers must now provide for would-be buyers detailing such things as their home's energy efficiency and legal information. Christopher was a representative on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's central steering group, researching and implementing HIPS.

'It's absolutely disgraceful that any government should be able to impose upon the civil rights of people wanting to sell their most prized asset,' he said. It was illegal to try and sell a home without a HIPS pack, whereas anyone could sell a second-hand car without any conditions. Christopher is also deeply distrustful of what he calls 'eco-ists', environmental campaigners who have a vested financial interest in their stance, and he hates bad language and the low tone of TV programmes like Big Brother.

What have your parents given you?

'Love. I was brought up in a caring, loving family. I was very fortunate. There were no arguments or confrontation.' Christopher was also taught the work ethic from an early age. He said: 'I have never had anything given to me without earning it. My parents didn't give me my bike. I worked on Saturdays in my Uncle Jack's men's outfitter's shop, in Pottergate, and first I bought the frame, then the front wheel and so it went on!'

Why do you still live in Norfolk?

'As far as I'm concerned there is nowhere else to live. Norwich is the best city in the world - it's circular and near the countryside. It's got a hill - Elm Hill - and an airport. I can get the train from North Walsham to London. It's a charmed way of life.'

What's your favourite food?

'Lowestoft dabs, roast pheasant with lemon and thyme stuffing, Christmas pudding and homemade lemon meringue pie.'

What is the trait you most dislike in yourself?

Christopher can't answer this question and asks his wife, Wendy, who instantly says: 'Being a workaholic.'

When will you retire?

'That's not a word in my vocabulary. I have to drag myself to bed at night because there's so much to do. What do people do when they retire? Walk along the seafront? It would be good if you could live your life backwards and work hard when you were 90 so that you had lots of money to enjoy yourself when you were young!'

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