Childhood friends team up as independent estate agency marks its 56th anniversary

PUBLISHED: 10:08 16 October 2020 | UPDATED: 10:08 16 October 2020

Owen Darby, left, managing director of Darby & Liffen, with newest recruit Steve Huxley. Picture: Darby & Liffen

Owen Darby, left, managing director of Darby & Liffen, with newest recruit Steve Huxley. Picture: Darby & Liffen


A family-run independent estate agency in Gorleston-on-Sea is celebrating its 56th anniversary with the appointment of a new and experienced sales director.

Steve Huxley joins Darby & Liffen, based at 42 Bells Road, with almost 20 years of industry experience. He has also been a friend to director, Owen Darby, since childhood.

“Steve and I have known each other for around 35 years, stemming back to our childhood as local Gorleston boys, born and bred,” says Owen. “Having worked with a fellow reputable local estate agency for nearly 20 years, Steve has gained invaluable experience and knowledge during his time there. This is undoubtedly a big move for Steve but I know he’s really excited about this challenge and opportunity that has come his way.”

Over the years, Owen says that he and Steve have been “friendly competitors”, carrying a mutual respect for each other within the business. “Like myself, he’s worked through incredibly testing times, particularly the 2008 credit crunch where the property market virtually came to a halt along with the subsequent recession and, more recently, with the difficulties of working around the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s during these years that Steve has earned himself the respect of many clients in the local area, helping people through their journey of buying and selling property.”

Owen says that Steve really cares about his clients and describes his love of estate agency as a vital component in his work.

“Steve firmly believes in delivering the very best in customer care and service, going beyond the call of duty to help his clients achieve their objectives. 
I am totally thrilled and excited by the prospect of Steve joining us at Darby & Liffen because of the strength he brings and the values he and I share in delivering all that is important in our business and the industry as a whole.”

Combined, Owen and Steve have around 45 years of experience within the local property market. Despite having worked in competition for a number of years, both directors have a lot of respect for each other’s standing in the industry.

“We are completely respectful of the competition we face,” explains Owen, “and understand we have no divine right to sell anyone’s property. Over the years, you come to realise that you have to earn the right and earn the respect to gain instructions, and to help clients with their sale and/or purchase. Our biggest reward is recommendations and repeat business. It wouldn’t be possible for us to be the agents we are if it wasn’t for being recommended, respected and highly regarded within the industry.”

Steve also shares Owen’s excitement for the move, and says he is keen to begin a new chapter in the local property market.

“Having enjoyed friendly competition with Owen for many years, I am well aware of the drive, enthusiasm and overall experience he brings to our industry,” says Steve.

“Owen and his team have established a client base that gives them repeated business and recommendations which is testament to the personal touch that is essential in putting a seller’s mind at rest when entrusting the sales of their property into our hands. I very much look forward to adding to the excellent reputation that both he and the team have forged.”

Steve admits that he and Owen have different strengths when it comes to helping people buy or sell property, but recognises that they share identical values – the desire to put the client experience first.

“Not only is Owen tenacious and totally committed to giving an excellent personal service to those sellers who place the sale of their properties in the hands of Darby & Liffen, he has, in parallel, steadily built a portfolio of rental properties which has developed thanks to his skills and expertise.

“In my view, independent local estate agents like Darby & Liffen are able to provide a depth of service that offers clients a freedom of choice and ensures their interests always come first.

“In addition, to enjoy a familiarity with the locality of a property is so important when sales are agreed, particularly to those buyers who come from out of the area. We are both local boys, born and bred, and are therefore able to sell the area to any buyer, as well as the property.

“I am delighted to take on the position of sales director and am also very excited about the future. I look forward very much to the challenges that lay ahead.”

For more information about Darby & Liffen, please visit

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Great Yarmouth Mercury. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Great Yarmouth Mercury