Andrew's Personal Profile View my company profile
After 12 years as an army officer I went into business as owner / manager of a chain of health clubs. After project managing some conversions for our new clubs I got the building bug and started residential property renovations.
I started investing in property in 1994 and, after doing quite well at buying and renting, I ended up setting up a lettings agency to manage them, and a building company to complete the works. We got more local investors placing their properties with us to manage and my building company was carrying out all the associated repairs and renovations. The early years were great fun, as Liverpool was made Capital of Culture and the whole area underwent a renaissance.
Most of my efforts at the start went towards growing my own property portfolio. However, the management side of the business was becoming an important and interesting aspect of my work. I enjoy meeting novice investors and talking through their ideas - trying to find the ideal property based on their aims and aspirations.
The lettings business ended up being based in a small retail unit we owned in Wallasey; we simply moved in when the previous tenant didn't renew their lease. It was not in the ideal location, was too small almost from the start, and was not a great advert for what we could do. I thought it hardly mattered as we were rarely there. We were too busy on the ground with building sites and dealing with tenants.
After much soul searching I ended up buying the Cleveland Hotel, an 1847 built pub and hotel that had been let go to rack and ruin. It was on the corner of Hamilton Square, Wirral's original professional and commercial centre. The Square has one of the highest concentrations of Grade 1 Listed Georgian buildings outside of central London. It is a fantastic place but, like much of the local area, had suffered lack of investment over the past decades.
We seemed to buy at the right time as the area is now undergoing a rapid transformation, with chic apartments being formed in the Georgian square and lots of local improvements. The plans for Wirral Waters, potentially Europe's biggest building site, put Hamilton Square firmly in the centre of all the redevelopments.
We rebranded as Hamilton Square Estates Ltd on moving into the new premises. We now have large offices and plenty of space for the building business in a great location right in the centre of things. A big car park helps as there is a lack of free parking locally.
I made the upper floors of my building into a 7 bed luxury HMO, so the income from this offsets all the office costs. We positioned ourselves as a hybrid agency - a great local base but charging internet prices for the whole range of estate agency activities. My team now source investment opportunities for other investors, project manage the redevelopment works as required, rent and manage the properties on an on-going basis. Our clients range from the person struggling to raise finance for their first house purchase through to a corporate client selling 120+ properties prior to moving off shore.
I have been doing this a long time now and still bounce out of bed ready to attack the day! I love the whole property business and the many and varied people I meet. I have made more mistakes over the years than I care to remember, but hope to have learned from them. I am very lucky to have a great office manager and a fantastic site manager who do most of the work for me. This allows me more time to deal with investors, and gives me the opportunity to sit on a number of local Council committees and homeless charities.
my expertise in the industry
Buying, selling, investing, taking lease options, building and enjoying all aspects of the property business since 1994.