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Chris Hammond and his wife Georgina had only known each other four months when they decided to buy their first house together and refurbish it back in 2010. Since then Chris has left his job at a sports management company, working at top sporting tournaments including the Ryder Cup and the Rugby World Cup, to focus on property full-time. He discusses scaling the property ladder, maintaining a work-life balance and his plans for a yoga and fitness retreat in Kent.
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Starting out in East London
Chris and Georgina caught the property bug after struggling to find houses within their budget, when wanting to move to London in 2010. Eventually they decided to buy cheaper, renovate and sell on. “We ended up moving thirteen times in five years,” says Chris.
They purchased their first property in East London for £415,000 and after spending £55,000 on stamp duty and renovation, sold it on seven months later for £570,000.
“We focused our renovations and moving around the Canada Water area, which is zone two and had massive development going on,” says Chris.
“We bought places that we thought we’d like to live in as a young professional couple and as a result we’ve hardly had any void periods in them. It has been a journey, but a really good one.”
Building a yoga retreat
They last moved in May 2017, having decided to slow down the house moving following the birth of their fifteen month old daughter. Chris explains that they’ve now accumulated enough capital to stay in their own home, whilst having development projects running alongside.
One of their most interesting current projects is a serviced accommodation-cum-yoga retreat in Kent. The development came about after they failed to get residential planning permission on the piece of greenbelt land. Chris says they plan a sustainable, “mini Soho House,” that can accommodate 20 guests in 10 double rooms across the 7 acre site. They plan block booking corporate retreats for the weekends and non-block bookings during weekdays. “For the block bookings we’d get someone to do a meet and greet and show them around,” says Chris.
With Georgina working full-time in the city and the number of projects they’re working on multiplying, Chris says they’ve had to learn to delegate responsibilities. Although they still manage all their social media themselves, they’re presently trialling an additional team member to manage their projects. Going forward they’re hoping to add 2-3 projects to the 5 they currently oversee.
Finding a work-life balance
In the meantime, they balance their home and work lives by agreeing not to speak about property in the hour before the go to sleep.“On Sundays one or the other of each of us doesn’t use our phones,” Chris adds.
However they admit that putting property to one side can be challenging as both Georgina’s parents and her sister have worked on new builds and refurbishments.
“Bearing in mind that her family are in property, when we’re around there on a Sunday lunch that’s the main conversation,” Chris says.
To those wanting advice on choosing investment properties, Chris says trusting gut instinct is a good place to begin.“When we first started we never bought for the yield,” he says.
“We bought because it was somewhere we could add value and it was somewhere we wanted to live in.”
For more information about Chris’s services www.beauproperty.com
Keep up with his latest projects on Instagram @beauproperty