Hungarian entrepreneurs want to make their mark in Jesmond
Two Hungarian brothers, who have just launched their own estate agency business in Newcastle, are hopeful that Jesmond will turn back into a traditional family area.
Laszlo Toth, 33, and his brother Krisztian, 31, became franchisees of online estate agency HomeXperts in February after arriving in the UK a decade ago.
Born in the city of Debrecen, the pair swapped the north east of Hungary for the north east of England in search of work and opportunity.
When they arrived they could barely speak more than a few words of English between them. But the duo worked their way through various jobs and eventually saved enough money to set up the Newcastle franchise of HomeXperts with their sister-in-law, Vera Papp.
“We knew it was going to be a lot of competition because we did the homework and there are 114 agencies in Newcastle,” said Laszlo. “But we want to be all about customer service because we have had some bad experiences ourselves with agents and agencies in the past.”
“Jesmond is one of the nicest places in the city. It’s not me that is going to change this, but I think Jesmond will go back towards being a family area because of all the student accommodation in the city centre. And I think it’s a great idea.”
Born in communist Hungary, the Toth brothers had always dreamed of moving to America, but never had the opportunity. After leaving school, Laszlo became involved in the business industry while Krisztian joined the Hungarian army.
Wanting to improve their lot, Laszlo and his fiancé moved to London in search of work but were forced to return to Hungary as their cost of living was too high. Determined to give it another shot, the couple moved to Newcastle where they were able to rent a three-bedroom house for half the price of their double-room in London.
Determined to give it another shot, the couple moved to Newcastle where they were able to rent a three-bedroom house for half the price of their double-room in London. They were joined by Krisztian and Vera, and the family began to settle into their new home.
“My two daughters were born here in 2013 and 2015,” said Laszlo. “My oldest is four and she has one more year of nursery, and my second one starts in September.
“The second one has already picked up the Geordie accent, and sometimes I don’t even understand what she’s saying.”
But after becoming disenchanted with working odd hours, and with a growing desire to build something for their children, Laszlo, Krisztian and Vera decided to set up their own business.
By combining their unique skill sets, the trio have been able to establish themselves in the highly competitive Newcastle market.
“We are a family business,” said Vera. “We have had bad experiences before with landlords and agencies, so we are all about customer service.
“We work with property investors to source suitable investment properties and we also find tenants and manage the property on behalf of the owners too.”