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Harley comes from a family background of landlords and property developers, meaning he was familiar with the property world from a very young age.
With very little academic flair at college, he decided to throw himself into the world of property investing and development at only 17 years old, and with the help of his family and mentors he has had a significant influence on the direction of the family business over the last 2 years, taking it from a Buy to let landlord management role into property development and HMO conversions.
They have just completed a new-build development of 2 x 4 bedroom houses in West Sussex, they exchanged recently on their first HMO project, and have big plans for the future.
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Harley feels passionate about blending a development strategy with a buy-to-let/HMO strategy over the next 5-10 years. He believes that together they form a very sustainable business model as the developments provide injections of cash to either pay down debt or fund further BTL investments, while the steady cash-flow from rental income gives much needed stability to a traditionally cyclical development model.
Just before Harley joined the business, his father had completed an extensive refurbishment of a building in Brighton
The first project Harley was involved in from start to finish with the construction of 2 x 4 bedroom homes on a fantastic site overlooking a nature reserve with un-obscured sea views. The land had been in the family since 2007 but they were originally planning on just selling it as a development plot.
It was Harley’s relationship with his mentor that got them thinking about building out the plot and the benefits beyond just monetary gain (in terms of experience and kick-starting their development business). The build began in March 2013 and was completed earlier in 2015, with the first one selling over 10% above what they expected to achieve and offers in on the second as well.
Before scaling the business up, Harley’s dad would do a lot of the work himself and bring in contractors as and when required. Now they’re using main contractors to take on projects from start to finish.
One of the biggest mistakes they made was to start this relationship with quite a casual approach based on hand-shake agreements and ambiguous contracts. Thankfully, Harley was able to bring the project in on budget, but it wasn’t without significant effort and negotiation on his part.
Going forward (and Haryley’s advice to anyone else doing development work from light refurbs to new-build constructions) is to put a much more rigorous contracts package in place outlining every detail and cost from the outset. Listen to Harley’s journey to find out exactly what he includes in this package.
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