Meet the Team

Introducing our new Headquarters based in Houghton Regis!

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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.

Directors

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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.

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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: https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-martin-955b2b36/

Management

Tori Hill Operations Manager

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!!

Support Team

David Passingham Lead Developer

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Ben started in estate agency 17 years ago, and has spent the vast majority of that on the high street managing some of the biggest high street names, that was until he saw it wasn't the way forward. Since the introduction of online portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla, Ben felt the need for a high street office, had disappeared, and being interested in how a different type of estate agency might work, he joined the online revolution. Having now been on both sides of the fence, he has seen that the difference in the two models is massive with the customers loving the ease in which online estate agency works, but also giving them input in how the property is presented.

Outside of work, Ben loves ice hockey, football and swimming, and occasionally like's a good round of golf (although usually a bad round). Ben has 4 children and would not change that for anything - apart from perhaps some spare time... Problem is, Ben can't really remember what spare time is, now that he has all those children!

Michael Parsons Local Property Consultant

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Martin Kent Local Property Consultant

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Martin has worked within the Estate Agency industry since 2005 and has gathered an extensive amount of experience in helping people buy and sell their homes working from the high street.

Martin loves to work closely with customers to share his knowledge in a supportive and honest way to ultimately help deliver what each individual customer is looking for.

Martin has lived and worked in Shropshire and Staffordshire all his life, so will be able to give a personal view as well as professional advice.

Martin joined Hatched in 2016 as he felt it was the next logical step with the internet becoming part of our daily lives, which is helping to challenge the archaic model that traditional estate agents are still trapped in. He’s found working at hatched a refreshing change from the traditional methods and loves the customer-centric nature of the business.

Shaun Fitzgerald Local Property Consultant

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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

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Pete started his career in Estate Agency in 2001 based in Sheffield and was heavily involved with the directors in setting up new offices throughout the city. He was fast tracked on their Academy & Management training programme and covered 7 branches throughout Sheffield and North East Derbyshire.

In 2010 Pete joined the Connells Group as the Branch Manager of Crystal Peaks taking care of Residential Sales, Letting, Mortgages, Land & New Homes & Auctions, and was committed to providing the best in customer services throughout the whole process along with team building, personnel management and development.

Having been involved in the industry before Rightmove & Zoopla, and constantly recognising the move and change in the buying patterns and habits of the general public, the shift to online was organic. With so much of the market available at the fingertips of the general public, the service provided through Hatched is second to none, and would challenge anyone to prove  him wrong. Pete is passionate about providing the best advise and service to all his clients and will make sure that if they need anything at all then they can always get in touch.... after all we are in the modern age of access, services and products to make this process of buying, selling and renting hassle free and stress free.

Robert Mitchell Local Property Consultant

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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

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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.

See Also...

The History of Hatched Hatched Blog Featured Articles