Our Story

Where It All Began

Way back in 2003, Michael and Alison Brain were left disappointed and frustrated after being on the receiving end of a poor estate agency service.

After speaking with family and friends, they were surprised to discover that their negative selling experience seemed to be not just commonplace, but accepted as the “norm”.

It was at that moment they realised they had the opportunity to change the way property is bought and sold in Derby, for good…

In March of that year Hannells was launched in a tiny two-storey office on the High Street in Hilton. With no prior estate agency experience, their vision of an honest, results-focused service that treated customers as people, and not just another number, delighted buyers and sellers across the village and word quickly spread.

Being in an industry which was largely dominated by the large corporate chains of estate agents, Michael and Alison quickly carved out an impressive share of the local market and it was clear that our brand of personal service and great marketing was something that homeowners across Derby really valued.

Fast-forward to today and our Derby born and bred, family run estate agency has grown to become a well-recognised brand within the community. Thanks to a relentless focus on the original core values of Michael and Alison, who still play a very active role in the business to this day, we’re committed to continuously improving the service we provide to buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants across Derby.

Alison Brain Joint Founder
Michael Brain Joint Founder
Oliver Brain Valuations Director

The results of our focus on excellent service are clear with Hannells now having been the top selling agent in Derby for over fifteen consecutive years and having been proud recipients of many impressive accolades and awards over the years, both locally and nationally. In fact, in 2020 this small, family run estate agency was named as the very best in the UK at the 2020 EA Masters awards which was sponsored by Rightmove and independently reviewed 15,000 estate agents on their service, marketing and results.

Michael and Alison are still passionate about Derby and are conscious of making a positive contribution to the community that has served them so well. With staff taking part in numerous charity events, the sponsoring of the “Hannells Stand” at Derby County in 2016/17 and playing a huge role in helping to bring back the massively successful “Hannells Darley Park Concert”, it’s safe to say that Derby might not be the same without us!

We’re committed to providing our customers with the same moving experience that could be found in that small, Hilton shop all those years ago and as the world seems to be focusing all its attention on technology and automation, we know that estate agency is and always will be a “people” business, and we have the best people in the business!

That’s why we’ll continue to deliver our unique customer focused approach and that’s why we’re able to help you get the best possible result in what is usually one of the most expensive buying and selling decisions you will ever make.

If you have a property to buy or sell, rent or let in Derby and you would like to receive a moving experience, complete the short booking form below or contact your local branch directly by clicking HERE.

Here’s A Selection Of Our Highlights So Far…



We’ve come a long way since 2003! This is one half of our Founding Directors, Alison Brain, and this picture was taken on the very first day we opened our doors to the public. Who knew what a journey it would be and what we would have achieved over the next couple of decades!


We grew quickly and just two years later in 2005, we’d become the top selling estate agency in Derby. An accolade which we’re still proud to hold today. This shot was taken in 2007 when we’d grown from one small office in Hilton to six locations based in the Derby suburbs. Many of the team that you see here 13 years ago are still with Hannells today!


In 2014 we were winners of the Derby Telegraph Business Awards for “Sales & Marketing”. By this time, we were already used to being recognised for our achievements having already secured a number of regional and national awards at the national “Estate Agent Of The Year” annual event. You can see all of our awards from over the years HERE


In 2016, we became major sponsors of Derby County Football Club, with the East Stand being dubbed The “Hannells” stand. This sparked a number of marketing initiatives including our “Rams On The Move #ROTM” campaign which saw us handing out gameday tickets to the Hannells team and local fans on a regular basis. 


2017 was the first time we took part in the YMCA’s “Sleep Easy” campaign where some of the team camped out in cardboard boxes overnight to raise much needed funds for the homeless in Derby. 


In 2018, Hannells played a huge part in bringing back the “Darley Park Concert”. This event had been a staple part of the calendar that many families look forward to but had been cancelled in previous years due to a lack of funding. Together with a number of other local businesses, we felt it was a great night of entertainment and coming together of Derby people that the local community deserved.


We were named the very best estate agency in the UK at the prestigious 2020 EA Masters awards. Sponsored by Rightmove, we’d been put through one of the most rigorous mystery shopping exercises and our small, independent, family run business from Derby that started from humble beginnings was crowned the very best out of 15,000 other estate agents.


Complete The Form Below To Book Your Free Valuation With Hannells!

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  • "From the initial conversation and valuation through to the final sale, everyone I dealt with was professional, helpful and friendly."

    Mrs P

  • "It was a massive decision for us to take, but the professional, understanding way you dealt with the whole thing was amazing and helped us to cope with it all!

    You are an incredible team and from the bottom of our hearts, we Thank you”

    Mr & Mrs H

  • "I have been involved with selling some six properties over the past thirty years, and would like you to know that the service received during this sale has stood out. It is always a wise move by estate agencies to use progression teams … but there are team members – and team members!"

    Mrs S



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