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James Egan

James Egan on independent estate agency integrity

By James Egan

Managing Director, Edison Green Estate Agents

James Egan – and the property sector he works within – has come a long way since he walked down Southampton’s London Road and landed his first job with one of the city’s estate agents 9 years ago.

Over the following decade, James has climbed the proverbial property career ladder, collating a résumé of property services and estate agency experience leading him to launch his own business Edison Green Estate Agents in 2019.

Specialising in Hampshire’s mid to high-end property market, and now branching into high-net-worth London and international clients, James and his team are making moves in the region’s real estate market.

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Edison Green operates in Hampshire and London; how does the property market differ between the capital and the south coast?

It's a very different type of clientele and it’s a very different way of working.

In London, we deal in places like Kensington, Knightsbridge, and Mayfair. You can spend weeks with clients and then sometimes they just decide not to do anything. It’s fun, it’s exciting, and you do get that million-dollar listing kind of feel but you do have to spend a lot more time with a client.

In Southampton, you put something on the market and so long as the marketing is done well and the price is sensible, you have several enquiries and it’s sold. In London, it's the other way round – you nurture a client until the point that they buy something.

What do you love most about being an estate agent?

Because of my background in property services, I’ve got quite a different perception from a typical estate agent. I have a 360 perspective of property because I’ve sourced on behalf of clients, refurbished, furnished, all alongside the usual estate agency tasks, it allows me to offer our clients a more rounded service.

I love the journey a property can take from being a complete mess to something that's absolutely amazing with real added value. My speciality really sits in the investment side of things and how to increase the value of property. That's what I really enjoy about what I do along with the general buzz of the sales side of things.

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"Look at capital growth in areas; if there's been a lot of capital growth in an area then you need to find out the reasons why and if that's going to continue or if it's just been a bubble."

What advice would you give to first time investors in the property market?

I’d say do your research and speak to agents. If you get hold of a good agent, they’ll give you sound advice because they should be able to see longevity.

For anybody that’s looking to invest in property, Rightmove is a great tool, along with Zoopla and lots of other websites. You can go on and see what properties are sold for to give you an idea if the one you’re interested in is realistic with its price.

Look at capital growth in areas; if there’s been a lot of capital growth in an area then you need to find out the reasons why and if that’s going to continue or if it’s just been a bubble.

There are also a lot of ways to get funding nowadays and a good way in property to make money is by using investors – as long as you have a strong plan and the investor makes the returns you promise, they will likely reinvest or refer friends and family to you.

What’s currently the biggest challenge of operating in the property sector?

There is a lack of skills and experience in the industry at the moment and that’s the biggest challenge with our growth.

Where estate agents really add value is when you come up against obstacles throughout the process. Selling, particularly in today’s market, is relatively easy, again if the marketing and pricing is correct, but when there’s an issue in the sales progression, agents that have experience are going to know what to do to overcome them.

There’s also no threshold for estate agents in England. In most other countries you must have qualifications to become a real estate agent and it’s a well-respected job.

"Where estate agents really earn their money is when things go wrong. When there's an issue in the sales progression, agents that have experience are going to know what to do to overcome it."

James Egan - Managing Director, Edison Green Estate Agents

What are you currently listening to, reading, or watching?

I listen to a lot of podcasts; I like Steven Bartlett’s The Diary of a CEO. I enjoy watching Dragon’s Den too – you can pick up a lot from it, especially now that we’re looking at investment.

What do you like to do when you’re not working on the business?

My background is music. I used to be in bands; I love music and it’s a big interest of mine. I’ve played drums since I was eight years old, and I’ve done a lot of producing.

We also enjoy travelling, my other half is from Norway, so we try to go back there as much as we can to see family.

As a musician, which bands are you a fan of?

I love the Arctic Monkeys, Oasis and The Black Keys are a good band. And Kings of Leon – it’s hard to pick just a few.