Interview with Scott – My Experience of the UK Property Market
By Sara Feiz
Scott is the newest addition to the Properties of The World (PoW) sales team and he boasts extensive experience in real estate – not only from family investments and previous jobs, but also from setting up his own real-estate company. He is a proud father of four children, and when he manages to find some free time from his lifestyle, he loves to shop and play football – he is a major Tottenham fan!
I had the opportunity to have a chat with him about his past experiences and his future plans, finding out some very interesting facts about the real estate market and working in the industry:
Scott, you boast a wealth of experience in this industry. Could you talk us through your journey?
Well, back in 1999-2007, I worked for a real-estate company in Middlesex which specialised in selling residential and commercial properties, land and new homes. I left in 2007 to set up my own company called Daniel Scott, in Hertfordshire, near my home. My decision to set up a business was predominantly due to personal reasons – my wife had just had our first son, and I didn’t want her to go back to work, so I wanted to have a more lucrative career. I also wanted to be around more at home when I was needed.
“I enjoy the buzz of making a sale, and also making someone happy by finding them what they want, a family home in particular”.
My company was initially very successful; We dealt with both residential and commercial properties abroad, particularly in the US, Berlin, and Israel. We also actively sponsored local schools and the local football team to give something back to the community. We were based in two shops and an office and there were 16 full time employees – 12 of whom I managed while the other four were responsible for dealing with financial services/mortages. What I enjoyed most was the buzz of making a sale, but what was at the forefront of this enjoyment was making someone happy by finding them a suitable home that ticked all the boxes.
In the end, I decided to quit the business and work for someone else, as entrepreneurship just wasn’t for me. Having my own business was actually taking up more of my free time than working for someone else had. I hardly spent any time at all with my young children and I didn’t want to miss out on them growing up. I wanted to work for someone else so that I’d have my family life back, and to have more stability and security; that’s why I joined PoW – I wanted to change and better my career.
You’re obviously very enthusiastic about the industry, but why real estate.
My whole family has worked in real estate. I enjoy the buzz of making a sale and making someone happy by finding them what they want. Finding a family home for someone brings a completely different feeling in comparison to finding them an investment.
Real estate sales also involve a lot of interaction with others, you have to meet clients, do viewings and be constantly active. This really fits my character as I’m a good listener, I take on board what people have to say, I am keen to learn and I enjoy being outdoors conducting viewings.
You went from selling homes to selling investments. How did your previous role compare to your current role and what has been the most challenging part of switching to your current role?
In my previous jobs, I was pretty much interacting with people in their homes face-to-face, whereas now, most interactions will generally begin over the phone, which I initially believed made it harder to interact with clients. When I realised Properties of the World do things differently, it came as a huge relief. Although there are some clients who purchase from abroad without needing to visit the site, some are extremely keen to view their new home or investment, so we often take clients on viewings or meet up and entertain them – this could be in a bar in Sloane Square or a restaurant in Dubai!
The most challenging part of the role has been working for someone else. I spent six years working for myself so this is a big change for me, but I really enjoy not having to worry about running the business and I’m under less financial pressure than I was.
What are your thoughts on the current UK real estate market and do you have any tips for those hoping to invest?
There is a lot of uncertainty in the property market at the moment. Property prices are very stable so sellers can be optimistic right now, but I do think we are in for a downturn in the market in the long-run.
If it’s anything like the downturn in 2008, it can pretty much happen anytime and be as quick as overnight. Back then I recall, we had 10 offers going on in one day and all of them fell through. The market went from sales being very busy and active to literally next-to-nothing, while the rental market went from nothing to booming. The same thing may happen now.
The Northern Powerhouse is a really hot region to invest in right now, with decent homes costing only a small fraction of what they’d cost in London. However, prices in the area have already risen and are set to increase further, mainly due to the regeneration programs going on as well as the emergence of major IT and creative work hubs. If you’re looking to invest in this region, now is definitely the time.
Commuter-belt towns such as Luton or Surbiton are also popular locations due to sky-rocketing house prices in London and the ability to commute easily to the capital with the new cross-rail, which is expanding to areas buyers may not have once considered.
What do you hope to achieve in this role, both in terms of your own learning experiences and achievements within the company?
For myself, I want to learn more about new homes, the Northern market, buying off-plan and dealing with developers directly rather than through an agent. I also want to learn new skills outside of the ones I have picked up thus far. Having Michael as Head of Sales here is really helpful as he has a financial background and I am keen to learn more about that. For the company, I want to make as much money as I possibly can!