After seeing friends and family suffer from the costs and complexities of moving house, Gemma Young set about creating an alternative to the traditional way homeowners navigate the property market.
Through Young’s Settled platform, users are able to simplify the house-selling process and save money on potentially high administrative fees.
Business Advice sat down with Young to find out how the evolving habits of young home-owners inspired Settled and why problem solving sits at the heart of the property platform.
- Who are you and what’s your business?
I’m Gemma Young, the co-founder and CEO of Settled. We started Settled because we saw a gap for a next-generation real estate market model focusing on the consumer.
- How long have you been around for?
Settled officially launched in January 2016 and has experienced great growth since then.
Our amazing customers are to thank for this – they’re constantly spreading the word. We’ve even had three generations of one family sell through our house-selling property platform.
- How do you make money?
Homeowners pay to list their home on the Settled property platform with a one-off fixed fee of £499. There are no further costs, we simply make referral revenue directly from the service providers.
For homeowners, this means they get everything they need to sell their home, start to finish, saving an average of £5,000 in fees.
Settled also recommends digital services such as mortgages and conveyancing – customers can get a mortgage or do their legals whilst sitting on their sofa.
- What makes you different and why should people take notice?
We’re incredibly passionate about solving a genuine problem.
We’ve seen friends’ and families’ hearts broken through property issues – almost everyone has their own property nightmare, or certainly knows someone who has had one. There are too many issues and there’s too much stress currently.
It’s time for a credible alternative in the real estate market. Settled’s model solves problems by building digital solutions and focusing completely on our consumers.
- What was key in terms of getting started?
As founders, you need to stay focused on your vision and build your team around shared goals. Staying true to your mission will mean you can really make a positive impact together.
- What’s your biggest achievement to date?
We’ve already saved our customers over £5m in fees and we have an incredible team who we love working with every day.
- What setbacks have you had along the way?
A few years ago, when we were in early fundraising-focused discussions, our idea seemed farfetched to some. Some traditional thinkers believed that, because our homes are our most valuable asset, consumers would “surely” need to rely on the existing, intermediated model. They saw “digital” and believed technology would scare consumers.
As a millennial (I do still qualify as one, based on some loose definitions!) I have experienced the switch in consumer behaviours. How I, and the people around me, increasingly want more control of our property sale or purchase.
Today we book a cab in minutes, we stream (rather than rent) movies – technology is evolving our needs and desires.
I knew that it was inevitable that real estate – a sector in need of much progression – was the right one to focus on. And, it’s specifically because our homes are our most valuable asset that we want more, rather than less, control.
- In five years’ time, I will be…
I will be happy that Settled is a household name helping people to feel more “settled”.
- What tips would you give to others starting out?
Do something that connects with your passion and solves a real problem.
- Who are your business heroes and why?
My grandparents started a small, family run business selling fish and chips. They had two children and worked full time. My grandma was serving chips up until the day she gave birth to her third child, my aunt. Then she was pretty much straight back to work after.
My family are grafters. This has been instilled in the younger generations and has always been a source of inspiration for me and my co-founder, who also happens to be my brother, Paul.
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