A former sales agent with a historic property name and heritage has launched his own buying agency after becoming 'frustrated' with not being able to provide best advice to buyers.
George Jackson-Stops, 29, great grandson of Herbert Jackson-Stops, founder of the historic agency, has launched GJS Property, a buying agency operating across the London market.
Unlike many buying agents, Jackson-Stops says he won't be solely focusing on the high end of the property market.
"[We] don’t have a minimum purchase price as we think there is a lot of opportunity at the lower end of the market, as well as the higher end," he tells Estate Agent Today.
"I believe what differentiates us from other buying agents is that I am younger and hungrier than most of the other people who are in the industry."
Prior to setting up his own firm, Jackson-Stops worked for a number of high-profile agencies, including Strutt & Parker and Winkworth.
He says one of the reasons for swapping sides is due to sales agents having to prioritise the vendor and not being able to provide the best advice for buyers.
"The amount of buyers that I built very good relationships with and ultimately didn’t have the perfect house for became deeply frustrating," he says.
"As an estate agent you are trusted by the buyer and ultimately you cannot always give objective advice."
When asked whether sales agents can view buying agents as valuable partners, Jackson-Stops says sales agents know that buyers who employ buying agents are 'some of the best around'.
"Once a relationship is made between buying agents and estate agents, they can be very fruitful; it is not uncommon for buying agents to have bought several properties through the same agency, and often the estate agent will tell the buying agent about off-market opportunities before normal buyers."
Coming from a family steeped in estate agency history, Jackson-Stops says he has learnt a number of useful lessons.
"The main lessons I learnt were ‘you are only as good as your last sale’ and never take anything for granted until a property has completed as anything can happen," he says.
"I was always told growing up by my father not to go in to estate agency, because he worked through some very difficult markets and knew how tough the job can be."
Jackson-Stops notes the estate industry has changed dramatically in recent years. He says agents have had to manage fast market growth between 2012 and 2014, followed by the volume of sales dropping off a cliff due to the prospect of Brexit.
He adds that while online agents may not have affected the central London market, he believes that a move to a more streamlined hybrid option will be the norm over the next few years.
The buying agent says that in order for his previous employers, large agencies Winkworth and Strutt & Parker, to stay relevant they must embrace technology and new ways of thinking.
"Winkworth is a franchise so it will not be able to adapt quite as quickly as some of the larger firms," he says.
He adds that there were plans to expand Strutt & Parker after its purchase by BNP Paribas, but being owned by a bank has caused regulation and compliance issues for the agency.
Considering the London market, Jackson-Stops is positive about the outlook for buyers and sellers, although Brexit uncertainty remains a problem.
"Uncertainty is what causes the lack of property transactions especially in London."
"The overall lack of transactions has meant a shortage of quality stock coming to the market, this has meant that in some areas and at certain price levels there is quite a lot of competition for the available stock, although there are still opportunities when vendors need to sell quickly," he says.