Charlie Perdios: behind the scenes at Anthony Pepe

Estimated reading time:7 minutes, 42 seconds

Everyone has a story. Charlie Perdios, joint owner of Anthony Pepe in Highbury, explains how his passion for Arsenal led to him becoming… an estate agent. Interview by Nicola Baird

Charlie Perdios: “This used to be Juniper restaurant. When we were fixing it up people were saying ‘What’s it going to be?’ No one wanted another estate agent which is why we poked fun at ourselves in our first newsletter, Peptalk.”

Charlie Perdios: “This used to be Juniper restaurant. When we were fixing it up people were saying ‘What’s it going to be?’ No one wanted another estate agent which is why we poked fun at ourselves in our first newsletter, Peptalk.”

“My business partner – Ari Theodorou – and I knew Highbury well. It felt like coming home opening our office on Highbury Park in September 2015,” says Charlie Perdios of Anthony Pepe. “That’s because the idea was born here in Highbury! Ari and I were sitting at Highbury in the West Stand Lower when he came up with the great idea of us opening an estate agency,” explains Charlie who has been going to Arsenal since he was 17, and been a season ticket holder for 23 years.

It’s not just football Ari and Charlie have in common, they were also interested in north London property. Ari had been working for a large chain while accountant Charlie had a portfolio of property he rented out, as well as a year’s experience running an estate agency.

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Very soon after that light bulb moment a Palmer’s Green estate agent, Anthony Pepe, set up in 1987, was put up for sale. So instead of starting from scratch Ari and Charlie, who’d both been brought up locally in North London, bought the business. “That was 2004. It had six houses on its books for sale and was rated the seventh best estate agent in Palmer’s Green,” says Charlie. “Within a year me and Ari had made it number one in Palmer’s Green by sheer hard work. We felt we could improve everything – we could sell for more, sell quicker, do better communication and not make a sale so stressful.”

New ideas included innovative pricing – asking sellers to pay for the service they received. “We’d say we will give you better service. You can pay 1 per cent, like all the agencies ask for, but there’s an opportunity to give more.” Putting it like this seemed to work as the average payment to Anthony Pepe was 1.67 per cent. But Highbury was calling…

“We knew the area well. My background is Greek Cypriot. My father’s parents came in the 1960s, when my dad was 15, for economic reasons. My mother came when she was six and was very Anglicised,” says Charlie. “My dad, who used to have a dress manufacturing business in Finsbury Park and Angel Islington years ago, was an Arsenal supporter. He took me when I was six years old to see them play Aston Villa in 1981. Arsenal won 2-1! Now I’m taking my son – who is six. He saw four or five games last season.”

Clearly football is a huge part of Charlie’s life. He always goes to Arsenal games, and also coaches a youth football team near his Whetstone home. Anthony Pepe also sponsors a senior team in the KOPA Cypriot Football League run for all Cypriots in London whether Greek or Turkish.

“I speak fluent Greek – that’s how I had to speak to my grandparents. My wife Eliana and I are trying to keep the Greek going with our children by taking them to Greek school on Saturdays. But we only talk Greek together when we are speaking about them! It’s harder for this generation of kids to learn because my kids know that if they speak to their grandparents in English they understand. Our grandparents didn’t.

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Charlie Perdios: “The children at Gillespie are really passionate about Lab13. They are innovative and that fits in to the ethos of our company which is why when they needed external funding Anthony Pepe helped out.”

Anthony Pepe sponsors Lab13 at Gillespie Primary School. Charlie Perdios: “The children at Gillespie are really passionate about Lab13. They are innovative and that fits in to the ethos of our company which is why when they needed external funding Anthony Pepe helped out.”

Anthony Pepe’s community credentials

  1. FREE use of the conference room (during office hours) at 100 Highbury Park, N5, with space for 12 people, for local resident associations and groups. Book via Charlie@anthonypepe.com or 020 7704 2100.
  2. Sponsorship of Gillespie Primary School’s groundbreaking Lab13 science project, the first in London, led by science teacher Carole Kenrick and a management committee of student. A recent project saw the budding scientists and engineers design eco houses with a focus on low energy, see pic above. http://anthonypepe.com/local-children-today-designing-homes-tomorrow/
  3. Sponsorship of Islington Faces Blog so it’s now on this easy-to-use website.
  4. Industry awards for commitment to community, and property sale results. In December 2015 Anthony Pepe won best small London estate agency for the third time in four years and have just been awarded Best Small London Lettings Agency for the second year in a row. One of Anthony Pepe’s Managers has also been awarded as the UK’s best Lettings Branch Manager, see here.

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Quiet Sunday scene outside the Highbury offices of Anthony Pepe. (c) islington faces

Quiet Sunday scene outside the Highbury offices of Anthony Pepe. (c) islington faces

Highbury office
“It’s really important to know who your customer is. If you don’t you’re guessing what service to offer,” explains Charlie who says anyone can drop by the office and ask what Highbury is like. “We make sure our staff know about the area, where to play football with your son, where to go for a nice evening meal, and when the farmers’ markets are held,” says Charlie – perhaps the reason his company has sponsored Islington Faces which collects interviews with people who live or work in the area.

“We also sponsor Lab 13 at Gillespie Primary School because it is a bit different and all about innovation just like us,” adds Charlie. “The children are really passionate about science and it gives something back – it’s a bit different to sponsoring 50 boards for a school fête.”

“The people that we deal with in Highbury are time poor but willing to pay for a good service. Since we opened this office we’ve really noticed how educated about the market people are. When something happens in the property market you feel the effect here before the other two offices in Harringay and Palmer’s Green. Right now the market is quieter because of Brexit looming. Uncertainty is not good for housing markets.”

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Zen Mondo at 326 Upper Street for Japanese dishes including sushi and sashimi.

Places Charlie Perdios loves in Islington

  1. One of my favourite places has to be the Emirates.
    Tenshi, 61 Upper Street http://www.tenshilondon.com/

    Tenshi, 61 Upper Street also specialises in Japanese cuisine.

    I’ve been a fan for a long time!

  2. I love the villagey feel of the Barn which has a fishmonger, butcher and even La Fromagerie. Highbury Barn is gentrified, but if feels like everyone knows each other here.
  3. I’m a bit of a foodie so any excuse for a lunch meeting in Angel, especially sushi, but there are loads of nice restaurants and bars.
  4. We have team lunch meetings at the Highbury Barn.

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Highbury Barn: first choice for Anthony Pepe team lunches. (c) islington faces

Highbury Barn: first choice for Anthony Pepe team lunches. (c) islington faces

Charlie loves to travel with his family – although recently he and Ari took a boys’ day trip to the Monaco Grand Prix – and he admits he uses any trip as an opportunity to find out what’s selling.

“I always want to know what the house prices are and usually that’s my first conversation with a taxi driver. With the internet you can easily find out but I’m always curious. We can sell the same Victorian property for between £300,000 in Edmonton and £1.5 million in Highbury – it’s exactly the same house, with the exact same layout, but only a few miles away,” he says, before adding, “though I’m not on the shop floor anymore I’ve personally sold hundreds of houses. There’s often an occasion when a person will say ‘You sold my house’ and I find that I will remember their address and that triggers their name. It’s nice to know you’ve made a difference in their life.”

As Islington house prices rise it’s no surprise that the borough has attracted so many estate agents. But judging by the website and property mag Peptalk, as well as some of the projects they’ve sponsored, Anthony Pepe takes a particular pride investing in the community. And going to the football…

  • Anthony Pepe is at 100 Highbury Park, London, N5 2XE. Tel 020 7704 2100
  • Email: highbury@anthonypepe.com
  • Web (including Pep news and Pep TV) www.anthonypepe.com
  • @AnthonyPepeCo
  • Facebook here

Over to you
If you’d like to nominate someone to be interviewed who grew up, lives or works in Islington, or suggest yourself, please let me know, via nicolabaird.green at gmail.com. Thank you.

If you enjoyed this post you might like to look at the A-Z  index, or search by interviewee’s roles or Meet Islingtonians to find friends, neighbours and inspiration. Thanks for stopping by. Nicola