Hamptons International is one of the UK’s oldest estate agencies, although it is relatively new to Brighton and Hove.

To Paul Taggart, associate director at the Church Road, Hove, office, a good business needs to be part of a community and take an active interest in what is going on around it.

He said: “There is more to it than getting your company’s name recognised by people in the area, the whole community benefits when a business gets involved, even in a small way.”

The company has offices throughout the country; the first Hamptons estate agency opened in 1890, so it has a lot of experience to draw on when it comes to understanding the ups and downs of the property market.

The Brighton and Hove office opened in 2007 when Hamptons bought out Lewis & Co but kept the managers and staff who had built up the company, the lettings side of the business opened the following year.

Mr Taggart said: “2008 wasn’t the best time for the property market but we performed quite strongly through the tough times and now there are signs of a real improvement.

“People who have put off moving for a while are now feeling confident enough about their jobs and finances and are putting their properties on the market; and properties are not hanging around for long once they are advertised.

“Some people think we only deal in the high value property, but that’s not true, we handle lettings and sales for mansions, semis and one-bedroom apartments.

“Being part of a national company has its advantages; we get a lot of people looking for homes who come from other parts of the country, especially London. The areas around Hove station and down to the seafront are favourites with commuters. But some want a complete break with London and a better lifestyle that Hove can offer. Clients include single people and families of all sizes.

“Another advantage that attracts a lot of families to the area is the quality of the private schools in Brighton and Hove. Brighton College, Brighton and Hove High School and Roedean all have excellent reputations and there are quality prep schools for the younger ones.

“I was brought up in Brighton and I know the area really well, in fact all the team know the area well and so they usually have a good idea of the types of properties that would suit buyers. Sending them to look at something that doesn’t match their needs is a waste of their time and ours, and doesn’t do our reputation any good.”

Supporting local and national good causes and charities has always been important to the Hamptons’ Hove office. They are regular supporters of The Martlets Hospice and during the summer they organised a bike ride that raised over £5,000 for Cancer Research; they also hold an annual painting competition for children with cash prizes for their schools, and they make many smaller donations during the year.”

Hamptons International took home the Gold Award for Best Large Agency for the second consecutive year at the Estate Agency of the Year Awards, in association with the Sunday Times and The Times, held at The Lancaster London Hotel last month.