On forging a successful business in uncertain times: Jess Simpson Property Search

In the final part of our mini-series on the clutch of new property firms making waves in a challenging climate, we speak to the former head of Strutt & Parker’s buying arm, Jess Simpson, who set up her own consultancy at the beginning of 2018 and went on to acquire over £80m of property in her first 12 months…

In the final part of our mini-series on the clutch of new property firms making waves in a challenging climate, we speak to the former head of Strutt & Parker’s buying arm, Jess Simpson, who set up her own consultancy at the beginning of 2018 and went on to acquire over £80m of property in her first 12 months… 

You launched your business at a time of great economic and political uncertainty, in a rather muted prime property market. What prompted you to launch when you did, and did the economic/market landscape affect your decision?

The decision to leave the corporate world and set up my own truly independent service was led by the need to offer completely impartial and bespoke advice, without the one size fits all solution offered by buying agencies associated with larger corporations. The RICS also issued new guidance regarding agency and conflict of interest at the start of 2018, underlining the need to act completely independently.

The RICS issued new guidance regarding agency and conflict of interest at the start of 2018, underlining the need to act completely independently

Regarding the economic and political climate – there will always be people looking to move, and the country market is having a renaissance. In an uncertain market, values are difficult to assess and fewer properties come to the market, so adding value through good professional advice and a strong network of contacts to source good quality property privately is more sought after.

Which other business or entrepreneurs do you most admire?

I act for a number of clients who are entrepreneurs and who have been very successful in business. I get to see first-hand what they have achieved and I learn something different from each of them.

What has been the biggest challenge of starting the business so far?

Never being able to switch off. I live and breathe the business and my clients so there is never much time to completely switch off. If I do – I feel guilty!

And what has been the biggest triumph?

Purchasing £80m of property in my first year including a large off market transaction which took nearly the whole of my first year to close!

Is there anything you would do differently?

Possibly grow more quickly by employing more agents so the business wouldn’t be so reliant on me personally, however when your name’s above the door, you have to make sure that whoever you employ is going to have the same approach and values as you.

What’s the most valuable piece of business advice that you have been given?

Don’t grow too quickly!!

Has launching a business been what you expected it to be?

It’s exceeded my expectations. I never thought I would get so much satisfaction from doing this myself or have so much extra time for my clients. Company politics suck up a lot of time and energy.

What’s next?

Keep going and strive to continue to give my clients the same level of service and buy the best quality the market has to offer – 2019 could be the year for some exceptional deals for clients.