My NPP this week is Rob Hubbard, who I first met on the excellent Property Tribes forum. Here is his story.
1. Please introduce yourself. Say a bit about yourself and your company
I am an experienced property Investor, Residential Landlord, Surveyor and former Letting Agent and founded Walker Fox Ltd in 2009 along with my wife Cathy.
Walker Fox provide a number of tailored services to private clients in relation to residential property.
Locating active buyers for existing property, working alongside vendors. Assisting First time buyers onto the property ladder . Sourcing suitable investment property for retention (Buy to Let) or disposal (Buy to Sell) . Undertaking in Joint Ventures with like minded investors, fully managing property acquisition and refurbishment projects on a shared profit basis. Providing Coaching/Mentoring & Property Investment Support & Social media mentoring.
I am committed to providing a professional service to my clients. Property is never a case of “one size fits all”, so I offer a bespoke solution that works in the overall context of the client’s wealth creation strategy. It is important for me to take time to get to know my clients and understand their needs before I source a property deal for them. I do not believe in taking large fees up front, an issue which has given property sourcing a negative press. Once I have sourced a property for a client, I am there to support them every step of the way through their ownership of that property”.
Walker Fox are also advocates of social communications, sharing knowledge freely in the on-line property and Landlord communities.
The Northern Property Tribe is also proudly hosted by Walker Fox, the Tribe meet bi-monthly to discuss all things property in a relaxed and informal environment without pushy sales techniques.
2. How did you first become involved in property?
I bought by first house in 1996 and when it was time to move on tried my hardest to keep hold of it. However, my first pure investment property that wasn’t a primary residence was purchased in 2004.
3.What do you think is your greatest achievement so far?
Being true to myself and my beliefs and not getting involved with the ‘Get rich quick’ crowd who were out to make money out of unsuspecting and naive investors at the height of the BTL boom years.
4. Do you or your company have any exciting plans for the future?
Yes indeed, I’m really excited about a project that I have just started working on with some other property professionals. Although I’m not at liberty to go into detail at this stage, it will be huge and should hit the public domaintowards the middle of 2011.
5. What do you think are the greatest problems facing the private rented sector today?
From a Landlords aspect clearly financing. However, the restrictions in terms of LTV’s etc. also encourage the sensible investor to build in a large ‘buffer’ to guard against future drops in value prior to any capital gain.
Looking at it from a tenants persepective, I can see there being a real shortage of decent properties in popular areas which will drive up rents (good for landlords) and cause a real problem for people needing a new home.
6.What do you think are the greatest opportunities?
Securing low cost property and also taking advantage of the many deals and offers from tradesmen during these quiet times to add value to a property. This can even be to maximise yield for a ‘hold’ BTL property or to re-sell at a significant profit if your aim is to increase working capital or cash reserves.
7.We have a new government. What would you like them to do for the private rented sector?
I would like them to consider two points. Firstly, to take a long hard look at direct payments for LHA tenants and therefore make it easier for suitable landlords (or agents) to be paid direct.
Secondly, to go further with the ‘un-fit landlord’ legislation and pass control to suitable agents to ensure that people can be provided with decent homes that a properly maintained.
8. Do you use social media (blogs, twitter, LinkedIn etc)? What place do you think it has in the future of the property industry?
Avidly! I am active on all the major portals. The way that we communicate socially and for business has and continues to change dramatically. I strongly believe that social networking and a strong, credible and consistant presence on the web is absolutely essential in all areas of business.
9. What is the most important lesson you have learned during your time in property?
Not to blindly take the word of anyone you don’t completely trust on anything.
10. What advice would you have to someone thinking of entering the property industry today?
Read as much information as you can on property forums, try to avoid seminars and networking events that have a sales agenda. Be cautious and make sure you do your due dilligence without fail.
If you are not confident of doing something yourself then employ a professional and then check their advice, you will be able to find someone you can build rapport with via your networking on the web.
Thank you Rob, thats good advice. Anyone interested in Robs service will find him at www.walkerfox.co.uk.