Meet the Team

Introducing our new Headquarters based in Houghton Regis!

Hatched team photo
We have grown from a team of just 3 crammed into one small office, with a dream of changing estate agency, to a team of over 50 — with 16 regional and local property consultants around the UK.



Howard Star National Sales Director

Howard started as a trainee negotiator in 1988 with a large corporate estate agency chain based in a local office in Barnet, North London. From there, he joined a national franchise operator where he controlled 11 franchised estate agencies before moving on to a large, London-based Japanese property company in the mid-1990s as an associate director. His role covered all aspects of their business which were residential sales, lettings/property management and mortgages. In the early 2000s Howard moved over to the finance side of the industry and in 2005 re-joined his previous property company as an associate director. Howard has also spent some of his time in a training capacity and with the recent apprenticeship scheme. Having seen many changes within the industry, he feels that the growth of online estate agencies - and the services they can offer - will continue to change the way properties are marketed.

Outside of work hours, Howard can be found spending time with his family, playing golf and watching Luton Town Football Club, who he hopes will one day find their way back to the top flight.


David Martin Chief Operating Officer

David began his career in estate agency as a Sales Negotiator back in 2000 working in independent agency for 10 years - before joining Connells Group as Operations Manager at the beginning of 2011.

After working behind the scenes driving a sales and customer service centre, he moved across the group to work with Hatched in September 2016 and is currently focusing the business on expansion of its head office sales team to help drive market share.

In his spare time David spends time with his wife-to-be, son and two dogs, and is an avid supporter of Tottenham Hotspur FC and attends most home matches.

See David on LinkedIn here:


Tori Hill Operations Manager


Tori started at Hatched in February 2013 as a trainee negotiator and quickly became an integral part of the team. Tori evolved to do pretty much every job in the office, including viewings, negotiating offers, sales progression and even the general administration for the office, as well as being Adam's designated PA for a few months - she is extremely organised!

After performing at the highest level for a number of years, Tori was eventually given the role of operations manager and oversees the viewings & offers process for all of our customers and makes sure that the whole process runs as smoothly as possible.

Tori possesses exceptional organisational skills, as well as having a passion for perfection, the ability to motivate people and is a very hands on type of person, so she is the perfect for the job.

Away from the pressures of the office, she loves spending time with her family, especially her young nephews and enjoys long walks with her dog. And before you ask 'Tori', is not short for Victoria.

Lauren Watkins Senior Co-Ordinator


Lauren started with Hatched in April 2014, with no previous estate agency experience. She previously worked as a bar manager in a pub, so she is great with people and loves to have a chat, with the main topic of conversation being... the housing market!

Lauren deals with everything, from viewings to offers and sales progression and was promoted to Senior Co-Ordinator in the summer of 2017.

On the outside world, Lauren is the 'life and soul of the party' and loves to have a boogie (she has a wicked laugh as well).

Paris Hales Sales Manager


Paris began her estate agency career with a large corporate agent in 2012 as a trainee negotiator. She was quickly promoted to senior negotiator in her first year, and promoted again to team leader in 2014 where she oversaw and trained other members of staff to provide exceptional service levels.

In 2016 Paris was promoted again to a branch manager of an office in Bletchley which entailed everything from valuing houses, viewings, negotiating and of course, maintaining high levels of customer service.

Then Hatched came calling - we head-hunted Paris because we knew she would be excellent at delivering results for customers, so in late 2016, Paris became another traditional agent to 'see the light' and joined us to head up one of the sales teams in head office.

Outside of work, Paris has just bought a house and is in the middle of doing it up.

Sales Team

Kyla Freeman Admin Assistant


Kyla forms part of our busy head office team, providing essential administrative support for the whole company. She previously worked in a beauty salon straight from school, but decided to focus a longer term career starting in the apprenticeship scheme and ended up with us - And we're glad she did!

Outside of work she has a huge interest in beauty and fashion, which shines through at work too with her many catwalk worthy ensembles. She loves going to concerts and festivals, a la Kate Moss (although she's so young, she admits to not knowing who Kate Moss is!), as well as exploring the world; Egypt being her favourite so far. She does also enjoy cooking too.

Jade Young Viewings Coordinator


Jade started at Hatched in October 2016 having previously worked in A & E bandaging up broken bones and generally looking after people.

However, Jade didn't feel this was for her and joined Hatched to take up a new challenge of looking after people's homes, instead of their bones.

Jade has quickly become a valued member of the team. Dealing with everything from viewings to offers, and working closely with everyone in the sales department.

Outside of work, Jade loves to go out socialising with friends over a glass of wine (or bottle!) and spends as much time as she can with her little brother.

Mark Hillier Sales Progressor


Mark started as a trainee negotiator in 1988 (for any of you youngsters reading this, that was waaaaay before the internet!) with a large corporate estate agency chain based in Surrey. Over the next 5 years he worked in Richmond, Twickenham and the number one New Malden office where he was the top negotiator for the year. He was headhunted into computer recruitment where he worked for the next 16 years becoming General Manager. However, the pull back into estate agency was too great and he returned to manage an office in Esher, Surrey which he lead to being the top office in the company for two years in succession resulting in being made Partner. In early 2016, Mark relocated to Hertfordshire, joining Hatched where he has put to great use his extensive property experience working in the sales progression department, an area he particularly enjoys.

Outside of work hours, Mark runs around 5 miles (Yes, 5 whole miles!) every single morning before work (Yes, before work!), and at weekends runs half marathons as well as cycling in the Summer. He enjoys the Theatre and travelling and has been a supporter of Fulham Football Club for 34 years, and has been a regular feature writer for their Fanzine!!

James Taylor Sales Negotiator


'Jimmy', as he likes to be called, left school in 2016 and went straight into recruitment where he worked for 6 months recruiting doctors and consultants for locum positions in the medical sector. The move estate agency was an easy choice as he's a very confident and chatty individual who really enjoys the sales industry and everything that comes along with it - he also has a super smile as you can see!

In his spare time Jimmy enjoys playing rugby and follows a strict gym regime in order to keep his physique in order for when he jets off to Ibiza each Summer.

He also has the rather strange ability to remember the words to every film and song he listens too, which can become quite irritating at times. He's very much so a 'Mummys boy' who, even at 20 years of age, has his bed made for him and a packed lunch box prepared for a day at work.

Support Team

David Passingham Lead Developer


David took the academic path through life, with A-grades all the way through secondary school, and finally getting a degree in Computer Science. So, it will come as no surprise to you that he's our lead developer at Hatched, where he is referred to as 'The Repairman'. Fortunately, thanks to the many projects he's undertaken since joining us in 2013, he rarely needs to be called in to fix things. The new-look website is just one of those projects.

David has worked at large software houses and financial institutions in the past, but vastly prefers the 15-minute cycle ride to Hitchin over a commute to London.

Jamie Strachan Web Developer


Jamie joins us at Hatched as part of our web development team, having previously worked on a hospitality industry website for over 9 years. He got his know-how from completing a combined studies computing degree at the University of Hertfordshire. He's a quiet fellow but often pipes up with a quick-witted remark every now and then.

When he's not at a computer he loves watching football and Formula 1, also enjoying bike rides, which more often than not end up at the pub on the Grand Union Canal. He can also be found playing Snooker and Pool (American and English), of which his skills we will have to test, the next time we go to the pub. Jamie actually utilised the help-to-buy scheme and bought his first house in June 2015, so congratulations Jamie!

Regional Consultants

Richard Sapsed Local Property Consultant


Richard started at Hatched in July 2014 having worked at a high street estate agent for the previous 28 years. It was, in fact, the same estate agency firm that Adam had worked at, before he 'saw the light'.

Richard ran 3 offices across the South Cambridgeshire area for the previous estate agent, but he himself 'saw the light' and thought it was time to move on. Richard visits properties in the local area advising on marketing strategy and taking photos and measuring up, etc.

In his spare time, Richard is a keen sports fan having previous played hockey, football and any other sport you can think of. Richard's also partial to a pint of ale and has some great stories from working on the high street with all the changes he has seen in the last 28 years.

Damian Smeaton Senior Property Consultant


Damian is our Senior Property Consultant based in Leeds, covering East and North Yorkshire. He started with Hatched in July 2014 with a view to developing strong local links and further improving our reach in the north of the country. Having spent his early career in sales and recruitment sectors, Damian then took the bold step to change direction and with an interest and passion to work within the property sector, he trained to become a domestic energy assessor. He further developed his knowledge of the housing market by training in stock condition and asbestos surveying and spent a number of years providing a professional multi discipline surveying service across the whole of the country.

Outside of work, Damian and his wife Emma enjoy spending time developing their property in Leeds and spending time with their two Shih Tzus, Duncan and Winnie. In his spare time he enjoys following the fortunes of Leeds United Football Club.

Ben Deacon Local Property Consultant


Working across Swindon, Faringdon, Marlborough, Malmesbuy and Rodbourne, Ben’s been selling houses across Swindon for 21 years! 

Swindon born and bred, Ben still lives in the area and regularly takes his children to see his beloved Swindon Spitfires ice hockey club. 

Ben’s seen the landscape change dramatically through redevelopment over the last decade. With large blue chip companies like Nationwide, BMW and Honda nearby, Ben is confident on Swindon’s prospects: “The Regent Circus development looks fantastic and can only benefit the town in terms of attractions.” he says.

“House prices here are a lot lower than surrounding areas like Bath, Bristol, Oxford and Newbury. But it’s such a fast-growing economy. There have been thousands of homes built and still being built in places like Tadpole Garden Village. As a kid, I used to play on the farmers’ fields in Priory Vale where my house now stands.”

Ben’s favourite thing about Swindon is the view of the Cotswolds countryside: “Some of the best views of the skyline are at the top of Lady Lane. At night it’s fantastic.”

Michael Parsons Local Property Consultant


Michael re-joined estate agency in 2006, returning to a career started way back in 1986 and has not looked back since, having progressed from property valuer to branch manager within both corporate and independent local firms. Michael has also worked with land, new homes and commercial property, but with a firm belief that the way estate agency is undertaken is very much under the spotlight, and with the increasing popularity of online estate agency, now was the time to take the opportunity to join Hatched and become part of this exciting future. Born and bred in Devon, Michael has excellent local knowledge and we're proud to bring him aboard.

In his spare time Michael is a big rugby fan and tries (no pun intended) to get to as many matches as possible and may (from time to time) enjoy a post-match drink. He attempts to play squash on a regular basis too and also takes full advantage of the beautiful scenery that Devon affords.

Gareth Hammond Local Property Consultant


Gareth became an Estate Agent in 2007 when his boss asked him to manage his property portfolio, and from there he developed an interest in the market, taking on various estate agency roles since. He recognised how the industry was evolving and wanted to move into the online sector, which is when he joined Hatched.

He describes himself as a 'local boy' who rarely leaves his beloved North West, which means he knows the local property market very well. In his spare time he's quite a keen sportsman, putting a lot of us here at Hatched to shame, as he enjoys playing cricket, football and hockey... weekly, much to the annoyance of his wife. He supports a certain red football team and rather enjoys a glass of single malt whiskey whilst listening to Oasis in the rare quiet moments.

Maxime Shakespeare-Platt Local Property Consultant


Maxime has worked for large corporate estate agencies, as well as the smaller independent ones over the last 25 years. Having embraced the changes within the industry over the last few years with the rise of online estate agencies, Max felt it was time to move on and she sought us out. Based in Wednesbury, she will be our regional consultant covering the whole of the Midlands, offering her years of knowledge and experience to help people sell their homes.

At home she enjoys cooking and baking for family and friends, which is good for us as we're one big family here at Hatched. She has a horse called Heidi and can be found riding her most weekends, and she also loves a good National Trust property every now and again. The best has been saved until last: she has... wait for it... 11 cats, and they're all rescues!

Paul Helen Local Property Consultant


Paul grew up in Croydon but after moving around to all different parts of London has now gone back to his roots and is based in Croydon. Paul first entered estate agency in the early 1990’s and spent 17 years office based before joining Hatched in 2016. He made the change due to the increasing interest in the online/hybrid model and enjoys the freedom and flexibility it offers by working from home, yet being out and about meeting many different types of people and helping them move.

Pauls has travelled extensively to places such as America, South Africa, Australia and south East Asia, but always finds his way back to South London,

At weekends you will find Paul enjoying quality time with his family, socialising with friends and watching sport – mainly football and boxing.

Shaun Fitzgerald Local Property Consultant


Prior to Estate agency, Shaun worked his way up to sales manager and then a branch manager for a large sales company covering Tamworth, Stoke and Preston and then Woking & Enfield.

Shaun started in estate agency on the high street in 2000, working for a small 2 office independent in Barnet & North Finchley

Not only did Shaun excel at selling houses, but he also excelled at selling himself and found his future wife in the business!

During his time, Shaun has done everything from being a sales negotiator, lettings negotiator, sales manager, lettings manager and property manager.

As a young lad (a long time ago now!) Shaun's dream was to be a professional footballer. After having opportunities as a 12 year old at both Arsenal and Watford, his dream wasn't to turn into a reality. Yet he still managed to play at a decent level for non-league teams like Yeading, Windsor & Eton, and you'll still find him kicking a ball about in North London in weekly 5-a-side & 11-a-side games.

Shaun has two young children, aged 8 and 4, and along with his passion for football, (he supports Arsenal - I guess we all have our faults) he also likes to watch MMA.

Peter Whitehouse Local Property Consultant


Selling houses across Sheffield, Hillsborough, Chapeltown, Tinsley and Grenoside, Peter's been working in the Sheffield property industry for 16 years. 

He started out as an apprentice at a high street estate agent, where his local knowledge and ability to connect with people soon found him in charge of his own branch. These days, Peter leads the way for Hatched customers in Sheffield, offering a bespoke and personalised selling service from the moment he’s invited to value a home.

Peter lives and breathes Sheffield – he's lived here all his life. His childhood stomping ground stretched from Endcliffe Park to Mayfield Alley, and he spent lots of time on his Grandad's farm near Stannington. You'd be hard-pressed to find an agent that knows their patch as well as Peter!

Peter’s supported in Sheffield by a dedicated team of negotiators who handle enquiries, viewings, seller feedback, offers and sales progression. They’re working behind the scenes to help Peter and our customers seven days a week.

Robert Mitchell Local Property Consultant


Rob had been an estate agent on the south coast for 9 years when he saw that Hatched were looking for consultants in his area and wanted to join the online revolution that is sweeping the UK. Robs knowledge of the South Coast in and around Kent & Sussex then moving inland has been built up over those 9 years and gives him plenty of experience to draw on when out valuing properties and advising vendors on the market conditions.

Rob is recently married and enjoys living around Hastings due to how diverse the town is, you name an age, demographic they are all in Hastings! It’s a small town but full of development over the last 10 years so lots has changed.

Like most young boys Rob wanted to be a footballer and continues to support his local football team Manchester United!!!

He often gets ribbed about it, but he doesn’t mind so long as they keep lifting the silverware each year.

Max Watkinson Local Property Consultant


Max started at Hatched in February 2017 and joined from a large corporate estate agency. Having worked as a lister in his previous role visiting properties in the South East, Max is ideally placed to value houses all around the South East of England.

When Max isn't at work he loves to spend time with his daughter, either taking her to the Zoo or shops. Max's other interests include playing and watching football, and generally socialising.

Simon Johnson Local Property Consultant


Selling houses across all six Pottery towns of Burslem, Fenton, Hanley, Longton, Stoke and Tunstall – as well as Newcastle-under-Lyme and Trentham – Simon’s been working in the Stoke property industry for ten years. 

He was born in Newcastle-under-Lyme where still lives with his family, raising his children in the same neighbourhood as he grew up in. Simon believes Stoke’s got a lot to offer, which is proven through recent investment in the likes of North Staffordshire Hospital, and all the medical students it brings to Keele University. 

Simon leads the way for Hatched customers in the Potteries, offering a custom, personalised selling service from the moment he’s invited to value a home.

What does Simon love about working for Hatched? He says there's absolutely nothing Hatched can't do just as well, if not better than a high street agent: “With a dedicated team and experts focusing on each specific area of the sale – progression, booking, negotiations, we can do everything. Plus more!” he says.

See Also...

The History of Hatched Hatched Blog Featured Articles