New estate agency set to launch in Harpenden next month

Ken Whittaker of Whittaker & Co. Picture: Gilly Westwell

Ken Whittaker of Whittaker & Co. Picture: Gilly Westwell - Credit: Archant

A new independent estate agency is set to launch in Harpenden in September.

Gilly Westwell of Whittaker & Co Picture: Peter Schiazza

Gilly Westwell of Whittaker & Co Picture: Peter Schiazza - Credit: Archant

Whittaker & Co is headed up by former John Curtis owner Ken Whittaker, who brings two decades of industry experience to his new firm.

Instead of a traditional shop front, Ken has chosen a modest office just off High Street as his company HQ - and he's convinced that this sort of set up is the future of estate agency.

"You don't need a window display anymore because Rightmove does all that for us," he said.

"We've still got a high street address, it's not like we're in an industrial estate two miles out of town. But going forward I'm just not sure that estate agents will need or want the burden of a genuine high street premises with the rent and rates that goes with it."

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Ken, who lives in Harpenden with his wife and three children, has called the town home since he was 11.

He's joined in the business by office manager Gilly Westwell, who previously headed up recruitment for London agent Douglas & Gordon, and has lived in Harpenden since she was a baby.

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The pair will soon be joined by another experienced local agent.

Whittaker & Co is set to launch in early September with a dozen instructions - a mix of regular and brand new housing, commercial properties and development sites.

"The role of an estate agent has changed in the last decade," Ken said. "The value of an agent now isn't in that historical information that we used to know that you couldn't find out.

"An independent agent should be adding value - and mostly it's the local market knowledge that makes the difference."

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