We asked our team a series of questions about their lives and what they enjoy about the lettings industry!
See who is who below:
What is your background in the lettings industry?
I bought my first property in 2008 which I originally intended to live in however I went to University to study Property appraisal and development instead. Following university, I built my own portfolio of rentals which I self-managed while working several lettings roles for agents in and around the Sheffield area.
I became a landlord at the age of 23 when I bought my first property above a sandwich shop that I rented. I also rented out the flat above where I lived and sublet that to foreign students. Within a couple of years, I had 5 properties of my own and the 3 sublets.
I had been a self-managing since 2010 and developing rental properties since completing an RICS Building Surveying Masters degree.
I did an apprenticeship in an estate agent when I was 18 and wanted to work in lettings ever since. I finally got my first negotiator role in 2010. I have done almost every role within the industry since starting from filing (which of course I hated) to valuing and listing the properties to market.
What job did you do before you worked for Horizon Lets?
Since I left university, I have had several jobs in lettings as well as a dabble in recruitment/sales.
I worked in catering, I’m passionate about good, healthy every day food, not the fancy Masterchef variety, although I enjoy eating that of course, but cooking without waste and with the environment in mind.
After an under whelming under-graduate degree in Sport Psychology, I joined the military as didn’t want “a boring office job”. as a self-confessed country bumpkin growing up in Wensleydale (where they make the cheese) in the darkest depths of the Yorkshire Dales, I was always keen to be outside and active. And as many who know me will agree with, I could never look smart in a suit!
I have worked in property since I was 18 for various companies. I have been doing the negotiator role within a local company for the past 2 years but wanted a change of role and a new challenge.
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Honest, trustworthy and reliable.
Honest, reliable and stubborn
I get fully committed to something when I’m focussed on something, so that’s one. I can be persistent, which usually is a good thing. Finally, I’d say I’m hard working, although I’m biased, and I’ve definitely been previously described as hard work…
I would firstly say I am loyal, whether it be within my work life or personal, I will give everything possible. Secondly I would say I am hardworking, I love nothing more than seeing the results of something I have put my heart into. Lastly I would use the word outgoing, I am very confident and find it easy to talk to anybody, whether it be on a personal level or a customer.
What does your average day look like when you are at work?
The good thing about property and lettings is that it is so varied in its activities. I generally start a day with my emails however I can then be conducting viewing, meeting landlords, checking/helping on ongoing projects. There always seems something to do and it certainly keeps me busy.
Working from home with 3 dogs means I am always dressed for comfort, so lots of dog walking, cooking for my dogs and vacuuming in between working from my home office.
I’m very grateful that I’m not tied to a desk nor am I constricted by a rigid routine. I certainly try to get up early, much easier to do in the summer than the winter, and my most productive time is before 9am.
Usually I have a property refurb project on the go, either for myself or a client so I like to spend to spend time on site to ensure all runs smoothly but usually I end up being asked to fetch materials or being the brew b*tch.
I do a lot of travelling and so try to utilise the time as effectively as possible, I haven’t read a book in years, but I’ve now listened to hundreds while driving!
My day can vary all the time which is why I love the job so much. My main role with Horizon Lets is Business Development Manager so it is making sure the website and social media sites are up to date and generally keeping our brand out on the web for everybody to see but I do also go back to my roots and help with the day to day running of the business and the lettings management side of things too.
What is your favourite part of your job?
I have always been good with people and forming relationships with them. It is this aspect of property I enjoy as I get to meet new people every day or rather, I did before the recent virus. This part of my job has been less significant of late as its been impossible in some cases to network or meet clients. I hope 2021 is a better year for it.
Being able to work from home
The variety – there is always new challenges and always optimistically believe that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger!
The fact that no two days are ever the same! I could not abide a job where I was either scripted or expected to do the same jobs in the same order every single day.
What do you enjoy doing most when you are not working?
I enjoy spending quality time with my wife Zoe and pug Bella. Whether that be taking Bella out for a walk round the park or snuggling on the sofa watching a film. I am also part of an online gaming community who I enjoy spending time with.
Eating and drinking preferably with friends and family as much as possible!
Living so close to the Peak District is wonderful & after growing up in the Yorkshire Dales, I love clambering up & down the hills there. One day I hope to have a dog take me on walks but for now I love exploring new areas, with a key part of any venture being the snacks provision and brew flask!
I am never happier than when I am with family, immediate and extended. My little family consists of my husband, daughter and our dog so we enjoy any time we get to spend together. We generally tend to go for long walks in the countryside or go on days out if I am not working.
If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be?
There is quite a few aspects of lettings I would like to see changed however a big industry wide issue I would like to see changed is the way the public view Landlords. Newspapers like the Guardian have a landlord bashing article in there every other day which I feel for the most part unjust.
Like every industry there are good eggs and bad eggs, but it seems the public only see the bad eggs. Most landlords are good people who understand the tenant is their customer and they do treat them well. We are all just sadly tarnished with the same brush as the few bad guys who do not.
I would re-instate tenant fees, it think it is crazy that they should gain a service for nothing. Perhaps capped so they can’t be exploited.
There is a lot of bureaucracy in the lettings industry which is well intentioned, and the protection / welfare of tenants is paramount, but it can seem very biased towards the tenant as opposed to equal with landlords.
For example, the tenancy fee ban certainly protected tenants from being ripped off but charging fair fees for work done to set up a tenancy should not be prohibited and the costs should not be fully on the landlord I feel.
Another emotive example is the eviction procedure which has never been seen as fast, efficient or particularly fit for purpose. A rental property is likely to be a landlord’s most valuable possession and its right that tenants should have security of tenure however whole process could do with an overhaul to ensure the sustainability of the essential role the private rented sector plays in England.
The critics! – I find it very inappropriate that people are so critical of the lettings / estate agency job because of the old fashioned stereotype.
What would you say is the most interesting thing about you?
Perhaps not the most interesting but slightly more surprising is the fact I am a qualified foster carer.
My daughter, she is much more interesting than me!
During my twenties I have spent a while in the Middle East and studied the language in Yemen and Syria mainly. As I wasn’t particularly academic at school, I hoped I’d be a cunning linguist. I enjoyed working as a linguist in the military on various tasks, home and abroad. Unfortunately, with learning any new language, the more you seem to learn, the more you realise you still have to learn!
Although I am now well established in my lettings career I am actually a qualified masseuse from when I did a sports degree after leaving school. I have to say though, I cannot remember the last time I used this skill!
What is the favourite place you have ever visited?
My favourite place in the world has to be Dubai. The weather, luxury and overall experience has no equal in my opinion. I am looking forward to going back out there as soon as I can.
I love sunshine and warm weather, but quite frankly I’m also a home bird. If I had to pick a ‘wow’ destination it would be Xi’an in the heart of China where the Terracotta Army are located, I’m lucky enough to have been twice!
I loved an African safari I did many years ago. The scenery, animals and of course the climate were all amazing.
It has to be Disneyworld in Orlando! We went for our honeymoon and were potentially the only people there without kids at times but it didn’t matter one bit.
What has been the most rewarding experience of your career?
Our tenants and landlords generally are extremely happy with the service we offer. I find hearing the positive feedback that they give whether it be about me directly or Horizon Lets is a very rewarding experience.
No one event, just being given good advice as a youngster by my Father about investing in property from an early age, which has in turn given me a very decent standard of living so far.
I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of an exciting small but busy company that is starting to punch above its weight and I’m excited for its future. Oh yeah & I love that I’m able to work from a laptop anywhere in the world!
This is the second time I have worked for a small company who were relatively new and been involved with the task of helping the company grow. I feel this is a great honour when a smaller company choses you to be involved in their business.
Where would you like to see Horizon Lets in five years time?
In five years I would like Horizon to be continuing to grow in size and being well known for great service. I would like for it to have a perfect reputation amongst Sheffield investors and be the “go to” agent for them. It would also be a goal of mine to open a sales arm to the business also when we have achieved a good level of rental properties under full management. We are an organically, home grown business and I feel that has given us some strong roots to become a top agent.
As the premier agency in South Yorkshire and beyond with a great reputation for good service.
I’m very confident Horizon Lets will continue to grow strongly locally and nationally as our brand increases its profile. We have started from humble beginnings and we’re still a relatively new company, however we have established a strong foothold in Sheffield particularly and hopefully over the next 5 years you’ll see more of our To Let signs dotted around.
I would like to see Horizon Lets going from strength to strength with the help of marketing and online presence. I hope to see Horizon Lets boards all over the country at all the new properties we will be listing in the next few years due to the success we are aiming for.