1. Please introduce yourself. Say a bit about yourself and your company
I edit Landlord & Buy to Let magazine and organise trade shows for the private rented sector with my team at Accession Exhibitions & Publishing Ltd based in Macclesfield.
2. How did you first become involved in property?
I launched our first PRS event in 2006, which is also the same time I purchased my first investment property, a small commercial unit in Stoke on Trent purchased through my SIPP pension and then rented to my business until we relocated in 2007.
3. What do you think is your greatest achievement so far?
Becoming a father, our first child Arthur was born in September last year. Everything else pales in comparison. However, from a business perspective it would have to be the culmination of all our activities in the private rented sector over the last four years. Building our trade shows and magazine from scratch has been exciting and rewarding, its not just about the business, we helping build a community of landlords.
4. Do you or your company have any exciting plans for the future?
I am not sure I should be announcing this yet, but since you ask, we are moving our spring show from Olympia to Excel in 2011. We will have more space to play with and plan to expand our offering accordingly. Also, we are moving Landlord & Buy to Let magazine’s frequency from bi-monthly to monthly in September, our sector is moving so fast it needs a monthly independent trade title more than ever.
5. What do you think are the greatest problems facing the private rented sector today?
Government ignorance and interference.
6. What do you think are the greatest opportunities?
There are thousands of experienced landlords out there who have been unable to expand their portfolios due to the credit crunch. As the flow of lending increases, these landlords will fuel the recovery of the housing sector and provide professionally managed, flexible housing to meet demand. A new breed of more experienced portfolio landlords will emerge.
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?
A promise to listen to landlords and recognise the important role they play in the economy and society. They say there are up to a million landlords in the UK, however, we still lack political power. Its up to us to unite and demand a fair deal for landlords and our customers – the tenants.
8. Do you use social media (blogs, twitter, LinkedIn etc)? What place do you think it has in the future of the property industry?
A very timely question, I am taking a long hard look at social media and how it can support our business and industry. Use of these services to create groups of like-minded people will explode in 2010, we should all be using at least one of them. I prefer Linkedin for business and facebook for pleasure, but don’t yet understand the point of twitter… give me time on that one.
9. What is the most important lesson you have learned during your time in property?
Having purchased my second commercial premises at the peak in 2007, it to be that timing is everything, however, as I have a long term tenant and don’t plan to sell this one for a long time, it should work out in the long run.
10. What advice would you have to someone thinking of entering the property industry today?
Buying your first investment property is likely to be an emotional decision, it is exciting and its OK to enjoy the experience. But don’t be rushed in and don’t get carried away other opportunites are always around the corner. Never stop researching, there is always something more to learn.
Many thanks for your wise words Oliver. Don’t forget everyone that you can contact his company at their web-site www.landlordshow.com. You can also sign up there for the magazine, which is worth doing as it is very good and free!