I’m often asked why I chose to become a developer. The truth is I did not make a conscious decision to become one it just seemed to happen. I was in my 20′s living and working in London, life was pretty good. I would work hard but I’d also play hard too – it was enjoying myself. I then became 25 and things went a bit serious. I was spending everyting that I was earning and most of it was going on rent. I needed to get on the property ladder.
Too poor for a deposit
Ask any property owner and they will tell you how hard it was to find the deposit and finance for their first property. It was the same for me.
To cut a long story short I had to work 12 hour days for a whole year before I had enough dosh for a 10% deposit for a 1 bed flat in West London. Everyone I’ve spoken to about their first home was in this position. Nothing has changed! But the 12 months of effort took me from being a rent payer to a home owner and my journey had begun.
Too poor for a proper flat
When i first looked at what I could afford I was a little disheartened. the usual first time buyer treats came along. 1 bed ex local authority, studio apartment in badly converted victorian houses that leaked. The reality was I was going to have to buy something that need some work but had the potential to be better. 4 weeks of searching and I finally came across my first flat. A purpose built ex local authority 1 bed flat. The road was good and there were 2 builders working in the block, so I knew things where on the up. I put in my offer – a bit low but enough to prove I was interested. A day later the offer was accepted and the legal machine was put in motion.
Too poor to develop
I was the proud owner of my first property. It was habitable, if a little tired. But my purchase had ‘cleaned me out’ I didn’t even have enough money for a bed just a camping bed and stove. So there was no way I could pay for a tradesman to help me> I was going to have to do it myself. A few months and brused fingers later I had re decorated and fitted my first kitchen and bathroom. Yes, it took me a long time to figure everything out. But it was completed. Curiosity got the better of me and I called the agent I brought the property from. I told him that I had develoed the property and wondered what he thought he could get. A day later I was told I had increased the property value by a woop wooping 30%. Suddenly I didn’t feel so poor and for the first time in my life I had ‘options’ I earnt more money adding value to this flat than I did communiting and working behind a desk for 10 hours a day.
Finding the next development
Like you, I’ve never used to like Estate Agents. On the outside they have a reputation for bending the truth and seemingly doing little work for big rewards. Let me tell you the truth, most agents are honest and work hard for the money they make. I know that might sound odd but in my experience agents tread a difficult path between meeting the expectations of a vendor and finding a satisfied buyer. If you’re dishonest, too pushy you’ll loose custom. I say this because my next development came from an agent that I has managed to strike up a bit of repor with. I told him what I was trying to do and willing to pay and he wanted to help. Within a few months of our friendship a got ‘the call’ a vendor needed to sell quick could I see it now? I gave some lame excuse at work and went. I made an offer (10% below the asking price) it was accepted. I quickly found tenants for my flat and remortgages to release the 30% I had made to secure the property. I did all of this with 2 weeks.
I was now the proud owner of a 2 bed flat in one of west London’s most up and coming areas. It would of taken me 5 years on my salary to collect the sort of deposit that a developed flat like would need and I have done it in less than a year.