In Their Own Words, Absolutely, November 2013

19th of October 2013

It all began over a very good lunch!  Ben and I had been introduced through a mutual friend back in Spring of 2009 and whilst we had no intention of discussing business, over a glass of wine or two a picture of a new Estate Agency was sketched on the table cloth.  Ben and I shook hands, paid the bill (the first of many to come) and agreed, come hell or high water, to give it a go. The catalyst was an opportunity to open a business on Bellevue Road, a patch well known to the both of us. Many thought we were mad for opening a new business in the depths of a global recession (we well may have been), but from those crazy early days we are now well into our 5th year, with a fresh brand, two offices going strong and many friends made along the way. Looking back, some of those early days were incredibly tough, the small loan we received to set-up the business did not allow us to pay ourselves anything and we were working incredibly long hours seven days a week just to keep afloat.

After a short while we began to take on a handful of properties and all began to snowball from there; selling a rather impressive £3.5m home on Nightingale Lane early on certainly helped endorse what we were about. The key to our success is that Ben and I shared the same values from day one.  There is no magic formula to what we do, but we honestly felt back at the beginning, as we still do today, that we could provide our clients with a higher level of service and ultimately achieve better returns for them.  Having recently moved to the Magdalen Estate with my family, Wandsworth is now my home as well as my place of work and I absolutely love everything about it.

What’s in line for the future? Obviously every successful business wants to grow and whilst this applies to us also, we would never embark on something if we felt it would diminish the level of service we offer today – so natural evolution rather than reckless expansion is probably the best way to describe our plans going forward.  Do I have any regrets – none, other than the loss of hair! 

Duncan Irens


I always thought, weirdly, that I’d be a Stockbroker.  I wrote to about 70 companies asking for a job – unsurprisingly, I did not receive a single reply!  Still living at home at the time, I helped my mother sell our family house and did quite a lot of the liaising with our estate agent, who had just set up his own estate agency in Godalming. I really liked (and totally appreciated) what he did for us and so I asked him for advice about getting into the industry… a couple of months later, my first job as an Estate Agent began in Guildford in 1994. 

Having now worked in London for the past 18 years, the last four and a bit years have, by far, been the most rewarding.  Setting up our business was ridiculously exciting but also rather daunting.  It certainly helped knowing the area extremely well but starting from scratch was just a bit nerve-racking!

Those early days are still so memorable.  We opened with a small loan to use for marketing, brochures, petrol, loo roll etc., but until we received our first commission cheque, we breathed in a lot, out rather less frequently.  Now, though, with a second successful office on Nightingale Lane, the business is going from strength to strength and, most importantly, we are loving what we have achieved so far. 

Looking after our clients, collectively, is extremely rewarding and as we are the day-to-day faces of the company, we are fully involved in every single aspect of the business.  We are also passionate about our business and the pride I personally have in the industry has never ceased.

My first employer told me ‘to treat every part of someone’s home with the utmost of respect as you see parts of their home which even their best friends have not seen’ – such great advice and something I remind myself of, and my colleagues, almost daily. 

Ben Rymer