THEY may not be the biggest but Croydon estate agents Streets Ahead are having an increasingly large impact on the property world.
The growing status of the company has been hammered home by its success in the recent national Estate Agency of the Year Awards.
For the second year running, Streets Ahead, which was founded by Bob Hay and Gary O'Hare, in 1990 has been named as the south east's best estate agent.
But this time it has added to that title by winning the bronze award in the category for estate agents dealing in selling new homes and has also been commended for its customer service and work in the community.
Joint managing director Mr O'Hare said judges had been impressed by the overall approach of the company which while small - it has offices in Addiscombe, Purley, Coulsdon, South Croydon and Crystal Palace - had shown it could challenge the "big boys" in terms of service.
He said its reputation in the field of new homes had been enhanced by the fact that it was the main agent for Berkeley Homes' Saffron Square development in Wellesley Road
and for Barratt's New South Quarter development in Waddon.
Mr O'Hare said Streets Ahead was proud of its commitment to Croydon as a supporter of the local homeless charity, Nightwatch, and main backer of the Croydon marathon.
He said to receive the national recognition, Streets Ahead had undergone some stringent tests from the judges.
The company had to present a detailed submission on its business operation and then face a lengthy interview process.
Mr O'Hare said: "The judges were looking to test our knowledge of the business, our operational procedures, staff training and customer service.
"They were very, very big on community work."
He added: "It was difficult. The judges wanted to know exactly how we do things and find out whether we were really rolling up our sleeves to do the job."
Mr O'Hare was backed by joint managing director Mr Hay, in stressing their support for Croydon as a town, which both think has an exciting future ahead.
Mr Hay said: "I am particularly excited as our staff and I attended the Develop Croydon conference in November and Croydon is certainly going to be an exciting place to live and work.
"I am looking forward to our team being at the forefront of an estate agency for people moving into the borough and the business community and also continuing our charity and community work throughout 2013."