Kate Faulkner from Designs on Property
My second ‘Notable Property Person‘ is Kate Faulkner, a well known property person, particularly for her books for the consumer organisation, Which and her association with Channel 4. Here are her answers to our questions:
1. Please introduce yourself. Say a bit about yourself and your company
I live and breathe property both at work and home and I bring a refreshing change to the property market by offering practical, down to earth advice that really helps people carry out their property projects successfully. I write daily on property, and help people successfully carry out their own property projects via my own website: www.designsonproperty.co.uk and blog: Facts Not Headlines. I have written six property books, including four for Which? (Buy, Sell, Move House; Renting and Letting; Develop your Property and the Property Investment Handbook) and articles for magazines and newspapers as well as appearing on TV, and radio.
My property experience is part personal, having bought, sold, renovated, rented and invested in property and business. I have also worked in relocation, launched the National Self Build and Renovation Centre in Swindon, set up a property portal, carried out part exchanges on behalf of developers and worked in lettings and carried out contracts for property investment companies and specialist property market research for social housing.
My business www.designsonproperty.co.uk is a portal for anyone to find out how to carry out property projects and access the very best property services from legals (such as Tessa!) to property tax or even an electrician.
2. How did you first become involved in property?
My brother, sister and parents all bought in the summer of 1989 and then my brother and sister both went into negative equity and mum and dad’s house dropped in value. I decided I didn’t want to be in that position, so started to research hard to find properties at a discount in areas that would grow in value. After 10 years of working with Unilever and the likes of Sainsbury I decided to transfer my business skills to work in property full time, set up a property portal and a business growth consultancy for property companies.
3. What do you think is your greatest achievement so far?
It’s hard not to say getting the National Self Build and Renovation Centre fitted out and launched. It’s certainly the biggest thing I’ve ever been involved with being built as it’s 67,000 square meters. I am very proud of the Centre and the fantastic team I worked to secure the monies to fund it.
4. Do you or your company have any exciting plans for the future?
Yes we do! We are about to launch two new services. The first is a comprehensive, independent ‘Buy to Let Pack’ for investors who are about to or want to run the best BTL business. The second service provides people with a choice of the best services we can find from mortgage advisors to tax and EPC providers.
5. What do you think are the greatest problems facing the private rented sector today?
- Not all properties will grow in value over the next 5-10 years.
- Lack of understanding by mortgage lenders of who are the ‘safe bets’ to support during the credit crunch.
- Too much, and some ridiculous, legislation by the government eg ‘trip advisor’ style website for tenants to rate landlords
- Property investment clubs taking people’s money upfront with the promise of making people millionaires within months on ‘no money down’
or properties supposedly at 25% below market value.
6. What do you think are the greatest opportunities?
The market is set to double in the future, so demand will be huge. However you need to buy the right property in the right place to take advantage of this.
7. We have a general election coming up – what would you like to see in the winning parties manifesto as regards the private rented sector?
- No more regulation until the government can implement what it’s already introduced and the current legislation actually impacts on rogue landlords
- 100% clarity on the legality (or not!) of no money down deals
- Independent ruling on additional licencing
- Ruling that all BTL landlords must have independent financial advice and specialist property tax advice
- Ruling that mortgage advisors must be specially trained in BTL
- Tax breaks for landlords that are signed up to the local authority landlord accreditation scheme
8. Do you use social media (blogs, twitter, LinkedIn etc)? What place do you think it has in the future of the property industry?
I do, but we are very careful not to let it take over our lives. Our Blog and Twitter is used to distribute our own daily articles and I like LinkedIn from a professional perspective. I haven’t quite got my head around the role of Facebook, but I’d better be quick as apparently more people used it than Google in the States! I think Q&A forums for landlords and tenants are great, but not ones where you can be too personal and ones that aren’t run by professionals. It would be great if it they could be used to better educate tenants (and some landlords) on how to make sure tenants use good letting agents and landlords rather than rent from rogues.
9. What is the most important lesson you have learned during your time in property?
That there is no ‘one property market’ there are thousands, so property price reports and media headlines on them should be ignored. Also no one property project is the same. Property is complicated stuff and you need expert help to do it well.
10. What advice would you have to someone thinking of entering the property industry today?
Get to know the ‘good guys’ who think it’s good to abide by the law and see property as a long term investment, not a ‘think yourself rich’ scheme. There are so many jobs in the property industry from relocation to self build, agency work, surveying, part exchange, new build, refurb etc you can have variety for the rest of your life. I love the property industry and have tremendous respect for most of the people in it, I just wish the media would start reporting the ‘good news’ stories about property professionals rather than treating them like second class citizens.
If anyone wants to email me a question about any of the above, we run a free Q&A service, just email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you Kate. There are some very interesting points there. What do readers think? If you have any thoughts, please do leave a comment.
Kate Faulkner’s Books: For those who are interested in buying Kate’s books, here are some Amazon links: