We are thrilled at Landlord Law to be able to introduce Grant Erskine, the first architect to exhibit at one of our conferences
It’s not often that the words Architect and Entrepreneur are used together, but that is exactly how to describe Grant Erskine. An Architect Entrepreneur. Starting his career in an architecture practice at the age of 17, Grant worked his way up from folding drawings to later going to one of the best schools of Architecture in the country.
Classically trained he is also one of the youngest Architects to launch his own practice (Grant Erskine Architects) at the age of 30 which he has built to the enviable position of being one of the better-known investment specialist practices in the Northwest. We recently caught up with him for a quick Q&A.
Grant – where did the title Architect Entrepreneur come from?
It was a name given to me, in fact, in the beginning, I pushed away from it. I didn’t particularly like it. The word entrepreneur is often misused and doesn’t always carry the best connotations.
However, over the last couple of years, I’ve grown to accept it and I’ve realised that many of our investor clients take a comfort in it. Architects aren’t often thought of as being all that commercially lead, but when people realise that I have built a couple of businesses now and indeed am an investor myself, it gives them confidence in me.
You do a lot of HMO’s – how did you get into that niche area?
Yes, that’s a weird one, we get calls and people tell us “You’re the HMO specialist”. It’s a bit of a surprise to us. I suppose it’s just what is fashionable at the minute and yes, we do a lot of them. Twenty odd years when I first got into this game, high density starter homes were all the rage. We also do a lot of speculative one off and redevelopments, in fact, anything where we can add to the bottom line, that’s where we are good. We make our clients profitable.
We make our clients profitable.
And what is the best way to be profitable?
Thats a great question. Answer is really simple.
Provide a product that people desire. Innovate and be at the leading edge of the market, set yourself apart from what everybody else is doing and stand out from the crowd.
A great example of this is one of our recent projects, a 9 Bed HMO in Salford. It would have been easy to stick a double bed in every room, share a couple of shower rooms and get £375/mnth. However, 9 Bedrooms, all with ensuite, raised sleeping loft, kitchenette, sofa, desk, high-speed broadband and getting in region of £700/mnth. The numbers speak for themselves.
What do you see as the future of investment properties?
The buzz phrase we are hearing more and more is “Build to let” as opposed to “Buy to let” and that is definitely where the market is going.
That’s really exciting because when you take away the limitation of trying to fit things into existing spaces, you have freedom to create something which is special, and therefore a premium. With that freedom, you start to get projects like “Twodio” in North London where you have 2 separate bedrooms sharing one kitchen. The public will start to expect more, which means that those with the vision will have a great opportunity to really corner the market.
So what will you be offering Landlord Law Conference delegates?
We will be offering 10 minute ‘one on one’ workshop sessions throughout the day. Feel free to bring your plans with you etc or ask any questions.
These will be booked on a first come first served basis, so make sure you check in early.
For those of you unable to attend the Conference you will find details of Grant’s services on his website.