Why would any estate agent leave a juicy company pension, guaranteed salary and an established track record to jump over the industry fence and look after buyers instead of sellers?
Deborah Moriarty has done that – leaving a senior position at Savills and a long career in estate agency including stints at Hamptons and Foxtons to join Richard Winter’s new Surrey buying agency.
“I remember working at Foxtons in the early days when you were doing 70 hours a week and both working and playing hard which was exciting, but these days I want a property work/life balance,” she says.
Both Winter, who worked at Savills for 17 years, and Moriarty have experience of selling property in some of Britain’s most upmarket commuter towns including Cobham, Esher, Oxshott, Weybridge, Walton and the Surrey Hills.
“Before this I’d completed 20 years working for big corporates and really enjoyed that but I have a youngish family and I didn’t want to feel as if I was missing everything. I took a career break and the plan was that I would return,” she says.
“But during my time off it was clear I needed both a fresh challenge and a better work/life balance.
“It was quite frightening to leave the patch I had worked in for many years for Hamptons in Richmond and move out of my comfort zone, but I didn’t miss the commute.”
Moriarty says that although as an estate agent she worked for and was paid by the vendor, she believes a good agent must also offer buyers a first-class service too.
“It’s interesting being on this side of the industry – my contacts and knowledge of the market are equally useful in my new job, but I like being able to more fully commit,” she says.
“I also like being able to concentrate on a handful of clients rather than having a list of 30 or 40 vendors and 200-250 buyers at any one time, as you do when you’re a sales agent.
Deborah says that, although at Savills and Hamptons she also concentrated on her clients, sometimes it felt like she was being spread very thin.
“Now, it’s nice to be in control of my own destiny and hand-pick clients whom I know will good to work with.”