When I first entered the world of estate agency in the late 90’s, the property market had yet to experience the disruption the internet was to bring and even emails were only used by a few of the more advanced and forward thinking businesses. The rest of us including most buyers had to rely on good old fashioned royal mail. As a buyer there was no internet to check for new properties and unless you registered with every single agent in the area you were looking in and rung them all every week, there was no guarantee that you were seeing the best properties for you. You could not even ring your agent on  a mobile phone if you were running late for a viewing, only hope they stick around long enough to wait for you!

None of this technology existed then and one can only imagine the lengths buyers had to go through if they were unsure of which area to live in and how time consuming it would have been to walk around different areas having to register with multiple agents in different locations! As a result it is easy to see why buying agents began to gain traction, paying someone else to do all this for you began to appeal to many. Buying agents traditionally would view property on your behalf greatly reducing time wasted researching values, locations and viewing properties that were not right.

In the late 90’s higher rate of stamp duty was 3.5% over a value of £500,000, with the average house price in London a little over £125,000. Making a mistake and buying the wrong house was costly then especially if you had to then move soon after.  In the subsequent 20 years since this higher rate stamp duty band has increased in the region of 450% and average London house prices have risen around 350%. Making the same mistake today is simply not an option anyone can afford!

Luckily for buyers whilst the cost of moving house has increased exponentially new technology has been introduced to “soften the blow” of a highly stressful house move, the internet perhaps being the most disruptive with the birth of Rightmove, Primelocation and Zoopla all heralding a new age in real estate. But yet even using these new platforms buyers still have to look at property that is unsuitable and trawl through the same listings every day in the hope seeing a new property.

One huge drawback is the inability to feedback to a portal on individual properties which is critical as part of any learning process. A buying agent welcomes all feedback both positive and negative simply because with it, they adapt, improve and as a result can pivot their search accordingly, to provide better results. We built Pipa with exactly this in mind, in the hope we could not only telescope the home buying process but also make sure buyers weren’t missing out on something better, a bigger house or better location, and if PiPA can enable a buyer to skip a rung on the ladder then cost savings in terms of stamp duty, agents fees and removal costs are life changing.

When Katie and I bought our house in Balham in 2012 we did not realise the next step up the ladder was only a few hundred yards further out.  Since then we have been blessed with having two wonderful girls. We moved last year to our new family home a move we could have avoided had we had greater foresight, it would have saved us £80,000. If only someone could have told us at the time!

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