Proper Local in Canary Wharf wants to provide a “new model” for estate agency by positioning itself between the high street and online.
The company headed by former MyLondonHome sales and marketing director Christian Thomas deals exclusively with E14 properties to let and for sale.
And he’s hoping to appeal to consumers by offering the cheaper fees of online estate agencies while combining it with the local knowledge and service of a high street agency.
He said: “Property prices go up and down all the time but what has changed the most is the rise of online agents.
“PurpleBricks, eMoov and others like them have changed the conversation but I think they’ve only started becoming a threat to the high street within the last two or three years.
“What they offer is compelling – they market your property and take a much lower fee than a traditional estate agency because they save lots of money on staffing and shop front premises.
“They have started to change the game and we now have a spectrum – online at one end and traditional high street at the other.
“Proper Local is different to both because we have gone slap-bang in the middle of that spectrum. I believe that we offer the consumer the best of both worlds.”
The 41-year-old, who lives on the Isle Of Dogs, was rewarded for his work at MyLondonHome after winning large agency of the year at The Wharf Property Awards 2016.
But with around 10 years of experience at places like Currell and MyLondonHome, Christian thought it was time to go out on his own by creating a more “utilitarian” brand based in a small office in Bank Street.
He said: “The question is, can I offer the same level of service you get at a high street agency at the same price as an online agency? I believe the answer to that is yes.
“I can cut out a raft of costs and I also know that agencies waste a lot of time and money by not structuring their human resources properly.
“We’re not going to waste money on a fleet of cars that we would never use because you can jump on the DLR or walk.
“And if my costs are lower, I can pass those savings onto the landlord or the vendor.”
Proper Local will be offering performance-related fees – an initial fixed fee will be set and then increased or decreased depending on whether the agency over achieves or under achieves.
“Fair is a difficult word to use,” Christian said, “but personally I think our offer is fairer.
“I’m not saying this is the only way, there is a spectrum and different customers are going to find different agencies that suit them.”
He said he chose to focus only on E14 as he lives in and knows the area and he has already turned down instructions outside the postcode.
“There’s a huge amount of possibility in E14 because there’s a huge amount of commercial and office space being built,” Christian said.
“There’s a lot residential properties that have been built too and there’s another eight years of it to come.
“It’s become a better place to live – somewhere people want to call home as opposed to a place you go to work.
He is looking to expand into other areas in the future including E3, covering Bow and Mile End.
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