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My Big Phat Property Event – LandlordSOS

4 Oct

Today I am still bowled over by the phone calls, messages and emails I am receiving after holding LandlordSOS at Keele Hall, Staffs on Thursday 29th Sept.

This is just one of many emails I am still receiving:

“I just wanted to say a big thank you for organising a great night last
week at Keele. Your events are getting bigger and better each time,
who knows next year you’ll probably be booking and filling the
N.E.C!!  Everyone, including myself appreciates the huge effort, time
and money you spend on these fantastic events – Keep up the good work”

And I am chuffed by the big beautiful bouquet of flowers I have been sent!

It was a free property event and the theme was “How to Survive and Thrive as a landlord”

We had excellent speakers – Maureen Fraser; Housing Standards; Newcastle Under Lyme Council, Mary Latham; landlord of almost 40 years and NLA representative and Ian Gardner; Senior Manager Commercial LloydsTSB..and yours truly gave a short introduction on why it’s great to be a landlord!

Here I am giving my presentation:

Here I am at the start of the night with my good friends Ruth and Jo who were helping me on the door:

We also had 14 exhibitors at the event – or rather companies I like to call my “trade secrets” – great people who have enabled me to grow my business:

This was my first time at organising an event so big – which had it’s moments of stress – but was such great fun! What makes it all the more special is the number of people who found the event useful – that means more to me than anything. Being a landlord can be a lonely business, so it’s great to get out – network, learn and share!

Lots of people have been asking me when the next one is…however I am still recovering from this and enjoying the buzz of holding such a successful event so for now all I can say is “watch this space”!

LandlordSOS – Are You Coming?

19 Aug

 

Today I have put my event organiser hat on! So what’s the idea? Well for the past couple of years I have been running ad hoc property meets where I get a bunch of landlords and property investors together – normally down the pub and I get a speaker who can teach us a thing or two about property.I don’t charge for the events and I don’t have a sales pitch. It literally is a bunch of like-minded property people who want to make the most of the business they’re in.  I love chatting, meeting new people and hearing new ideas. For me, these meetings are about opportunities – being a landlord can be a lonely business – and it’s great to have the chance to chat with others in similar situations – you never know what can come of a conversation!

LandlordSOS started as a germ of an idea a few months ago and now we seem to be steam rolling! So our little property meet which used to be a group of 30 odd people down the pub has now grown to a “proper” event. We’ve got a “proper” schedule with “proper” speakers from the NLA, the council and LloydsTSB covering key topics such as housing benefit, HMOs and raising finance.  We’ve got a “proper” place to meet – a stately home. And now – we’ve even got our own bar!

On top of this we’ve also got a selection of property related businesses on hand to offer advice and assistance. From solicitors to damp experts, accountants, grant advice, empty homes opportunities, landlord referencing services, letting agents, landlord associations, cleaners, insurance people and builders – we’ve got a good range!

And I like to think we have got something for everyone – be they a novice or professional in property.  With the high calibre of speakers and the businesses on hand I’d be gutted if people didn’t go away learning something new.

So now is the time when I need to start sending out my invites – to tell people about our property event.

So here it is:

I would like to cordially invite you to our FREE LandlordSOS event.

September 29th at Keele Hall from 6pm

Anybody and everybody with an interest in property is welcome.

I would love to see you there – seriously the more the merrier!

For more info: www.landlordsos.com

 

 

 

Death Of The High Street or Revival Of The Fittest?

6 Jul

We hear all this talk from politicians about the “Death of the High Street”, we see empty shops all around our town centres. Every day we hear about a business going bust – in fact, all of us probably know first hand or a friend of a friend someone who has lost their business in the past 2 years.

 

 

But here in Stoke On Trent, a deprived city at the best of times, we are bucking the trend. Literally, we have got businesses fighting over empty commercial space!

Last night was a prime example – it all kicked off at 5pm when I informed the business who had put in an offer for the commercial space earlier that day, that his offer had been exceeded. He went crazy. Literally mental down the phone at me. He was going to pay more, he was going to pay 12 months rent now, he was going to give double the deposit. He was having that commercial space. He was determined. He was adamant. And he demanded I remain at the office, while he gave me a huge amount of money and completed the paperwork on a 15 year lease!  And that’s not the first time in the past few weeks that that’s happened!

In the past few weeks we’ve let commercial space which will be used for a variety of different businesses from a trophy shop to a barbers, a vintage crockery shop, an off-licence to a bridal/ prom dress shop. Admittedly, before we took over the marketing and management of these commercial units they had been empty for years. Why is it different now? Well to be honest, the landlords are now with an agent who cares. An agency who believes that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and kicking and who helps businesses to open their first, second, third premise and who actually tries to help.

And so personally, I blame the agents for all the empty commercial space on our high streets. Most commercial properties are looked after by the big corporates, the chartered surveying firms – and it languishes on their books.  The corporate commercial agencies don’t have the entrepreneurial flair that we have – they don’t need to have – they are already the big players.  My belief is that you need to think about the whole food chain – not just the top end.

So next time you’re down the high street and you see an empty commercial property don’t just think about the business failure that was there – think about what could be, what what be – if only they had a decent agency.

And if I haven’t harped on enough about our success –here\’s us in the local paper this week with a lovely article for a business we helped move into an empty commercial premise.

 

Looking For A Job In Property? Apply Here!

1 Jul

Today I am hiring. Yes, really.

So if you – or anyone you know is looking for a job in property management and letting at our Stoke on Trent office let me know…

Here’s my job ad:

Wanted: Smiley, Helpful, Chatty, Efficient Office Assistant Who Loves People & Property

(Based in Stoke on Trent)

We are a small, successful property company who require the services of a smiley, friendly office assistant.

We love what we do – even though sometimes it can be stressful! That means you need to be able to keep level headed, think on your feet, be a quick learner and be able to work in a fast moving environment.

If you’re still interested – here’s what else we need:
* Passionate about people and property
* Have a desire to help people
* Be responsible
* Be organised
* Have initiative and not be scared to “go one better”
* Sound great on the telephone (and even better face to face!)
* Be able to work on own and in a team
* Be business minded
* Know how to use a computer well
* Have a driving licence and own transport
* Smile alot 🙂

This is a part time position.

If this sounds like you, please send your CV and a covering letter in the first instance.

Please also inform us of your salary expectations (hourly rate) and when you would be available to start.

 

 

From Ugly to Gorgeous – How to ‘facelift’ a building

13 May

Today we have completed the first phase of our Gorgeous Homes office refurbishment!!

Now up until a year ago we used to rent a property on the other side of town. We had taken a pretty dull building and made it our own:

Inside I spent a lot of money replastering, rewiring, putting new lighting and trying to make it look nice – this is how it was before:

 

And this is after:

However, we soon outgrew the property and despite looking all over I could not find us suitable premises to move into…until a member of staff told me about a building which she had seen was going to auction.

It was in a part of town which was not our “home” territory – but she convinced me to take a look as it had huge prominence in the town. It was located on a traffic thoroughfare and was located on a 4 way cross roads with traffic lights. Now, I liked that as the previous shop had also been located on a major road next to traffic lights – now you may be wondering what is my obsession with major roads and traffic lights? Well the simple fact is, that when the lights are red, traffic stops…people look around and they see you!  It was a strategy which had worked well for us when we had first opened the office – we had gained huge visibility on a limited budget and had quickly become well known in a large city (c. half a million people) where to gain business stand out is pretty difficult.

And so I went to take a look. As you can see it is one of the ugliest buildings ever. It had been left derelict for years and needed a huge amount of work. How on earth could a company called “Gorgeous Homes” open in such an ugly building?

Inside it was full of rubbish – and it was very hard to see the potential.

 

Unbelievably though, I was in love. The location was just as prominent as my staff member had promised – plus we had some blue chip and local retailers surrounding us. But, it was a huge gamble – it was a different part of town and a major project. I got the shop manager to also take a look and get her opinion…she was as blind as me. She loved it!  The building just had such a great feel we knew we had to buy it.

However, the property needed so much work and given I had spent so much money on the rental property we had, plus I had to fund the purchase of the new property I didn’t know how we were going to do it. And then I did some research and found out the local council were running a regeneration scheme to bring these buildings – especially ours (which was in the conservation area) back into use. They had funds available to help us with the refurbishment! I told them of my plans…they gasped at my ideas (which involved my facelift of the front) and almost died when I told them I wanted a pink building with a bright pink sign in the conservation area.  However, they could tell I was passionate, and having proven to them that pale pink was a heritage colour they were won over and loved my ideas for how we would transform the building.

And so I sent Steve, a member of staff, off to the property auction armed with a signed cheque (as a well known business person I felt it best not to be seen buying the building). The bidding started quickly and soon it had gone over our top budget by £3,000. I was sat on the other end of the phone in despair – I knew I should hang up – tell Steve to leave it, to tear up the cheque – but I couldn’t – I wanted this damn ugly building!

And so just when the bidding had stopped, when it was about to be sold to the final bidder (for the third and final time), when it was now £5,000 over budget I told Steve to bid £250. Now up until that point, the bidding had been going up in £1000 increments. I could hear Steve in the auction room shouting “£250” and then I could hear the whole room pause. The auctioneer hesitated, you could hear I had confused him with my bid.  And the room went quiet. Without hesitation Steve shouted again “£250”.  The auctioneer turned to him and you could hear the whole room shift their heads to look at Steve.  The auctioneer sounded incredulous “£250?” he repeated as a question – as though, you boy – you dare to try and change my bid amounts. Again, Steve repeated his bid “£250”. The auctioneer befuddled by this chain of events accepted the bid…and it must have confused the rest of the room as with that, the building became ours!

But today I am proud to say, we have now finished the first phase of our office refurbishment – the “facelift” as I call it!