Let me say this first: I don't like writing about myself. But if I’m here giving you advice on something as important as selling or buying a house, then you need to know if I know what I'm talking about.
After all, if I’d only been working in property for 6 months then you should probably be taking any advice I give with a big pinch of salt.
So I feel obligated to lay out my experience so you can decide for yourself whether I’m worth listening to.
I’d rather not write a short autobiography and put it online for the masses. (It seems self-indulgent...).
BUT… you’re the one here reading this, so it’s on you! Here’s everything you may want to know about me and my journey in property.
I took an interest in business and finance at school, and ended up studying Maths, Business Studies and History.
I headed to university and got a degree in Financial and Business Economics (BSc) from Royal Holloway, University of London.
[Image of RH, saying “Not Hogwarts + arrow”. Caption can say it’s the Uni]
After graduation most Economics students around London head for Investment Banks in Canary Wharf, but I didn’t feel the corporate ladder was right for me. We were dealing with the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis at the time as well and… well, I really didn’t feel like becoming a banker.
Instead, I started my career at a small property business near home in Somerset.
Starting out in property
My first project was to be part of a small team responsible for valuing THREE THOUSAND PROPERTIES in a single month. It was an enormous undertaking.
I remember 16 hour shifts where we’d spend every minute we could on the phone with estate agents during office hours. We’d then analyse their feedback and write our reports late into the night.
It was hard work, but enormous fun. Ever since then, I was hooked on property.
The company offered me a permanent role as a property case handler, and I jumped at the chance.
Suddenly, with only a month or two of experience in property, I was responsible for managing the sale of 30-40 houses at a time. These were houses that mortgage lenders had unfortunately had to repossess and now needed to be sold for the best price possible.
Selling repossessed homes for a good price (rather than just selling them off quick and cheap) results in two things:
- The lender gets all their money back…
- But more importantly, it means that any surplus can be paid back to the borrower too.
I took a lot of pride in trying to get the highest sale prices we could, to maximise the amount that would be paid back to the borrower after they’d suffered a repossession.
Trying to get the sales completed quickly was crucial too. This kept the lender happy, but also meant less costs would rack up – meaning more money for the seller at the end of it.
I learnt a LOT very quickly from this job.
Interestingly, it also gave me a totally different mindset to the one estate agents have.
My mindset led to a totally different approach, and it started working. In fact, we had a league table of how each case handler performed, and I could see my performance in black and white!
I got a couple of nice rewards for ranking so highly, but my approach would start paying off much more in the near future…
I started working for a house buying company in the North of England.
The job was similar to my last one in lots of ways: I had to manage the sale of around 30-40 houses at a time again, and I had to really work to get the best price as quickly as possible.
But this job was different in one main way:
Instead of selling properties for a mortgage lender, I was selling properties that my employer actually owned. This meant that the faster I sold the properties, and the higher the price, the more I earned.
I can’t emphasise how different this is to a normal estate agent’s incentives.
If an estate agent gets you an extra £5,000 on your sale, chances are they won’t personally earn a penny more. And it’s not much different for the branch: They’ll usually have a 1% fee, so an extra £5,000 means a measly £50 in earnings! Hardly much of an incentive…
It’s no wonder people feel like their agent doesn’t care about them!
But here, the better I did, the more I earned. So I really worked hard to develop a process that boosted the sale prices we achieved on our properties, and how quickly the sale got done. Along with the help of a couple of colleagues we created something entirely new.
It wasn’t long before we spun this out into our own venture.
Becoming a property acquisition company
Me and my partner formed our new company, and began helping home owners with their property sales.
We took everything we learned about selling properties quickly, maximising the sale price, and giving home sellers an easy home sale.
We distilled this into a simple business model with two services:
- We’d sell a property on behalf of a client and earn a commission – similar to what I’d done in the past. Or…
- We’d buy the property from the seller directly, and try and resell it at a profit.
This 2nd option guaranteed the fastest, easiest home sale possiblefor the owner.
Our home-buying service
We’d value their home, make an offer, and if the seller accepted then we’d take care of everything else. The compromise the seller made was selling the property at a discount. This gave us enough of a margin to cover all the costs we incurred, and make a healthy profit on top.
So from 2014 onwards we were on the front lines, spending our own money buying and selling property.
The really interesting thing about this business was that for every 1 house we’d buy, we spoke with around 30 other homeowners. We’d see and hear it all, and we’d have to figure out how to resolve all these complicated issues for people.
Over the years we bought around 150 properties, and we were fortunate enough to speak with thousands more sellers. This helped us amass a ton of really unique experience that other property professionals miss out on.
Here are some key stats from the business:
- We bought and sold over 140 properties, worth almost £17m
- We achieved annual revenue of £3m-£4m per year
- We spoke with thousands of sellers, amassing a huge amount of experience
- … All with a small team of around 5 full-time staff.
Home Selling Expert
The pandemic in 2020 led to a restructuring of the business. I still own and run the property buying company and I continue to buy property…
But I’ve been desperate to branch out into something new.
There’s so much experience I’ve been fortunate enough to build up over the years. I know from hundreds and hundreds of phone calls with customers that sharing that experience can be a massive help. So… That’s what this website’s here to do!
Home Selling Expert is about you.
It’s about shining a light on the sometimes murky world of property. It’s about making it easier for you to navigate. It’s about helping you find the best solutions to your problem – no matter what it is.
I know you’ll find great information here. Have a look around, and if you want to reach out then just give me a call!