Meeting Tom Gilchrist, Nested Battersea's Area Partner

Deeanna Thorpe
Marketing Manager

After 10 years of estate agency experience across South West London, Battersea local Tom was looking for something different. Tired of being stuck behind a desk, and restricted by inflexible KPIs — it was Nested’s focus on the end-to-end customer experience that drew him in. 

Having taken the leap to join Nested as a partner in January 2022, we caught up with Tom on the realities of running his own business. 

How did you get into estate agency?

I did a degree in real estate, so the natural career path following on from that was to be a surveyor, or real estate investment. After uni, I did a few work placements on the commercial side — but I didn’t like the fact that you were stuck behind a desk all day. The logical next step was residential. I gave it a go, and never looked back! I love the fact that you’re out of the office a lot, and meeting different people. No two days are the same. 

What attracted you to Nested?

A lot of the high street agents I’d been working for could be very dull. The KPI’s were often counterintuitive, and took you away from the things you should be focusing on. That’s why Nested’s self-employment was so appealing to me. I was basically doing the same thing for somebody else, but I wasn’t able to put all the time and effort into managing the relationship with the client. For me, being able to focus more on one client at a time means you’re much more likely to get a referral after doing a great job. High street agents just have too many properties on their books to do the job properly, so this made so much more sense.

After sitting down with the Nested team and going through all of the tech and services, it was so exciting knowing that you can be stood in someone’s front room and actually offer something different to any other agent.

What were your expectations about self-employment, and how are you finding it now?

Starting your own business in estate agency is very expensive, so I was looking for more of an in-between with a really great brand — and Nested is really the best out there. After sitting down with the Nested team and going through all of the tech and services, it was so exciting knowing that you can be stood in someone’s front room and actually offer something different to any other agent. It’s been a lot of hard work getting everything up and running, but the hard work is really starting to pay off! 

 How has your work-life-balance changed since starting your own business?

When you’re at a high street agent, on a Saturday, for example, you have to be in the office at 9am and stay at your desk until 5pm — even if it’s completely dead. Being self-employed, you’re not forced to sit in the office and scroll through the internet to kill time. You could have 2 super busy days a week, and then have those hours back when it’s more quiet on other days. From that perspective, the flexibility is fantastic. 

How does Nested’s tech improve your clients’ experience?

I’d hate to be working and pitching for another agency, competing against Nested’s tech. It’s won me almost every instruction. I’ve had buyers tell me that booking a viewing with us, compared to another agent, is just so much easier — so it’s a massive benefit on both sides. For vendors, feeling involved in the process is a huge thing. Usually you just have random people in your house, telling me loads of stuff but not offering any feedback, and not really giving me an idea of how the number of viewings compare with enquiries — and they feel so out of the loop. The fact that our tech solves these problems is massive, and the fact that no one else is doing it is even better! 

The tech has probably won me every single listing. It’s pretty much the biggest part of my pitch.

What advice would you give to an estate agent looking to start their own business with Nested?

At the beginning, you’ll need to work hard to get your name out there. Make sure you’re comfortable enough financially in the early days, as you won’t see results straight away — so having your finances in order means you don’t have that pressure. 

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