EP54: Cheryl Laidlaw on building a website in a day and social strategies

“The word ‘authentic’ has become a buzzword and a bit of a joke. Really, we want to be a...

EP51: Jamil Qureshi - sports psychologist and success coach

“The most successful people I have worked with have a really good level of self awareness.” Jamil Qureshi And...

SailingSavvy EP2: Stuck on a boat with four children!

After Nicole and Paul’s successful first sailing experience as a new couple they decided it would be a great...

We're all in lockdown, the economy is in freefall, now what?

Like many businesses, every aspect of the property industry has been severely impacted by this unprecedented time. By late...

SailingSavvy EP1: Woman meets man and boat

Our first episode is live! It’s been a labour of love but you can now watch our story. In...
EP54: Cheryl Laidlaw on building a website in a day and social strategies
EP51: Jamil Qureshi - sports psychologist and success coach
SailingSavvy EP2: Stuck on a boat with four children!
We're all in lockdown, the economy is in freefall, now what?
SailingSavvy EP1: Woman meets man and boat

Of course she has a podcast

With over 50,000 downloads,
Nicole's conversational
podcasts asks entrepreneurs
about what matters
most in business, and
more importantly, life.

About me

Investor, Podcaster,
Author, Speaker.

Ten years ago I was at home raising three children under three and unsure what my future held. Fast forward to 2020 I run a boutique investment company, am a non-exec, best selling author, podcaster and international speaker.

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Property Investment

It was my desire
to be independent
that first attracted
me to property.
Now it's different.
It's much, much more.

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The Job v. Entrepreneur Conundrum

I find myself in something at a pivot point, as the Americans say. It’s a position that many entrepreneurs find themselves but are almost ashamed to admit it. Admission is viewed as failure. It’s the yearning for a job.

The solid, security of the 9-5. A paycheque at the end of each month, health insurance, paid holidays, a pension plan. To go further it’s an HR department, IT department and offices you don’t have to worry about paying for. It’s colleagues and a role you can switch off from at the end of the day and not keep you up in the wee hours of the morning.

The problem is having left employment 15 years ago to set out on my own and raise children, I’m unemployable. I like working my own hours, I’m not great at water-cooler chit chat, I see inefficiencies everywhere and crave the autonomy to press ahead with my own ideas without committee. On reflection I was like that from the beginning of my working career – I constantly saw ways of doing things better. Something my bosses didn’t like hearing from a 20 year old early graduate with only McDonalds, Pizza Hut and a haberdashery factory on her CV.

So where does that leave me now? Probably still unemployable. But burning with ideas, energy and ambition. The only question mark is over the where, what and who. And exciting place to be. Honestly, how many of you self-employed people feel the same?

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Beginning of the end or new beginning?

In early September I received a call which changed the course of my property journey.

While I’d had some concerns about the time delays on projects, lack of accounts and the communications I had (and had not) been receiving, I was so caught up in untangling a 19 year relationship along with supporting my three young children that I’d pushed these niggling feelings aside. However the lack of transparency in the situation was completely at odds with my values. During that call the penny dropped for both of us that things were not as they seemed. Something was awry and we had a lot of work to do if we wanted to rescue the situation and engineer an exit for investors in the nine properties within the portfolio.

The situation took a personal toll. I went through the seven stages of grief simultaneously over three areas of my life – career, divorce and the complete upheaval of my family life. It was unfortunate that the time that my property investments needed me my family needed me more.

– Shock and denial
– Pain and guilt
– Anger and bargaining
– Depression
– The upward turn
– Reconstruction and working through
– Acceptance and hope

Now I flip between depression through to acceptance on a daily basis. But definitely with a lean towards the “reconstruction and working through” stage. I’ve set aside everything else, apart from family, just to focus on exits for investors.

If you are a stakeholder reading this please don’t be alarmed. A lot of work has been carried out at a high level since that fateful day in September. We are in a good place now but there is some mess left to clean up. Those in charge of the clearing up are more than capable and progress has been made.

For those hiding behind fake accounts and WhatsApp groups I pity you. It’s a shame that you are so frustrated in your own shortcomings and failings that you have to dwell on and even fabricate mine. Time will tell.

Thank you for the immense support I’ve received from so many places. When I’ve felt like quitting your messages and calls have kept me focussed. It’s amazing the support often comes not from those you expect but those you don’t. Thank you to the unexpected supporters 💙

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Will it be the roaring 20s? My property outlook for 2020.

“The property market has been especially hard-hit by Brexit-led procrastination over recent years. Transaction volumes are down dramatically since the 2016 referendum, so to are property prices and the number of properties listed for sale.

While the election result and Brexit is now agreed, many of us naïvely believe, or hope, the extended period of limbo will be over. However, much like an acrimonious divorce, we’re likely to have years of negotiations over the financial settlement. We entered the EU, or EC (European Communities) as it was known, in 1973, so leaving isn’t as simple as setting a date and agreeing terms with our friends across the Irish Sea and English Channel. What is the likely impact of these continued negotiations on property as we enter the next decade?

Rental growth in London since the Brexit referendum vote has stagnated. Across the whole of the UK, excluding London, rental growth is at its lowest since February 2013 according to data from the LandBay rental index. Year-on-year rents have increased in UK ex the capital by just over 1%, some seven times that of London.

While the capital’s stagnation has masked the relatively strong growth in the rest of the UK, the impact has now rippled out. It’s unlikely to change as we enter into this period of negotiation. We are still suffering the hangover of tax changes impacting landlords as the government try to push out the ‘Mum and Dad’ buy to let landlord in favour of built for purpose rental accommodation. And with fairly little regulation in the industry, there are arguments to support this view.

London has also dragged down national average property prices and the outlook remains mixed. In the lead up to a final decision on Brexit we had an insufficient supply of property with homeowners anxiously holding on to properties. There should be somewhat of a reprieve with homeowners feeling more confident about selling into a thawed market.

While renewed confidence may provide some support to housing prices nationwide we can’t escape the charts which show that we remain in an inflated property market. Thirty years of falling interest rates and people taking out larger mortgages has led some pundits to believe we’re more likely to see continued slow growth with further declines in prime central London.

Taking into consideration the potentially acrimonious negotiations on the finer details of Brexit and affordability of housing on one hand and renewed confidence in the thawing property market on the other, my view is that we’re not going to see much more than a slight increase in prices as we enter into the 2020s.

If you plot back long enough the last couple of years will be nothing but a blip. While I believe that the long term trend in property will be growth, I don’t expect that the next decade will reflect the rapid growth of the next. Divorce of any kind will always leave an irreparable dent.”

This outlook was included with many more on Property Solvers. Have a read and let’s see how accurate they are at the end of 2020. Will it be the roaring 20s?

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Tour my Rochester home decorated on a £15k budget

I’ve finally got around to posting my new home redecoration. In October 2019 I moved to Rochester, Kent, from Hackney. I’ve rented a tired but cozy house a short walk from the historic centre, and importantly, a short roll out of bed to the children’s school. I left with little more than our clothes and have completely started from scratch

 Given that this is a rental until I can find my dream home, I just wanted to make it homely and comfortable for me and my three children. I set myself the task of spending just £15,000 on everything (including TVs, fridge etc) and all (except the aforementioned items) from IKEA. It took five IKEA deliveries and three trips to the Greenwich store, including £1,100 in returns for things that didn’t fit. The result, in my opinion, is a warm, serene (when the kids aren’t here) home I’m proud of and comfortable in. Even if this house is home for a few years rather than months, I’m happy with that. What do you think? Curious if you can see the value in how I’ve apportioned the funds and if you think it’s good, bad or about right for £15,000.

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The waiting game: Modern Woman magazine issue 6

Brexit nerves have translated to demand outstripping supply in the property sales market and significant slowing in the rental market. Now’s the time to sit tight writes Nicole Bremner… Read the full article here.

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EP49: Joao Botelho – Casa Botelho, creating beauty and harmony

“How can I accomplish something beautiful within the budget that I have?” – Joao Botelho

Before founding Casa Botelho, João Botelho enjoyed a 22 year career in global luxury retail, beginning his journey in sales for a prestigious Brazilian brand Belo Horizonte. With the ambition to explore the world, he decided to move to Europe in 1994, making London his new home. Since then he has worked for Harvey Nichols, Nicole Farhi and Jasper Conran, opening Jasper Conran’s flagship Mayfair store in 2004. He joined Donna Karan New York in 2000 and has held several senior positions including Director of Retail.

Having worked with iconic homeware designers and travelled around the globe, he has experienced style at its best, learned exquisite architectures and gained interiors’ knowhow, inspiring him to explore different sides of his creative personality through the redesign of a space.

Joao’s obsession for homeware and passion for styling has led him to discover his desire for interiors. During the journey he was able to design furnishings, doors, windows and customise kitchen, TV console, vanity unit, walk-in wardrobe as well as concrete floating shelves and sink, collaborating with Waind Gohil Architects.

In this podcast:

-fashion vs interior design;
-how to accomplish perfect harmony in any room?
-Joao’s top interior design tips;

Find out more at: www.casabotelho.com

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EP48: Katie Smith, multi-award winning bricklayer on a mission

“My mission is to let others see just how construction can change lives and lead you down a different path.” Katie Smith, bricklayer

My name is Katie Smith, I am 30 years old and I’m a multi award winning Bricklayer. I love what I do and wouldn’t change it for the world. My mission is to let others see just how construction can change lives and lead you down a different path. I believe there’s something for everyone and I think for people with backgrounds like me. Construction is the answer.

While working in construction I quickly realised that there’s a gap in the market for Womens workwear. So I did something about it and designed a range especially for the increasing number of women entering the industry. You can get involved over at my gofundme page here: www.gofundme.com/f/the-female-factory.

#thelifeofafemalebricky #togetherwecanmakeadifference

I have an Instagram account @the_female_factory_lc feel free to follow my journey and watch my love for bricklaying and helping others.

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EP47: Graeme Alfillie-Cook – Securing millions in an otherwise lacklustre property market

A good news story in an otherwise lacklustre property market. Graeme Alfillie-Cook, consultant, Apex Airspaces

In this podcast we discussed what it was that sets Apex Airspaces apart and how they’ve grown from a standing start to now a company with a heft delivery pipeline and millions of development funding.

Graeme is a senior real estate banker now working on a consultancy basis for Apex Airspace. He has helped the company put in place a £9m development financing with Homes England and more recently a £10m revolving development financing with the GLA to deliver 500 units across London.

Graeme formerly headed Lloyds Bank’s Developers team providing innovative client centric debt finance solutions and in turn helping customers deliver complex development projects. He has extensive real estate and structured finance experience having worked with Lloyds’ major real estate clients closing numerous high profile debt transactions as well as being active in the structured credit and securitisation markets. Graeme joined Lloyds Bank from the University of Exeter where he studied Economic and Political Development. He is married with two children, lives in Central London, and sits on the Executive Committee of Wasps FC.

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EP46: Adrian Cormican – Financing over £750m of property

“How do you get your investors? We just ask.” Adrian Cormican

In this podcast Adrian discusses:

– His unique property financing offering;
– Getting over his fear of public speaking;
– Being called a LinkedIn guru; and
– Turning around a development that starts going wrong.

Adrian has worked in the property industry since 2001. Initially starting in banking before setting up a property brokerage in 2010, Hallcroft Finance. Since then the business has assisted with the finance of over £750,000,000 worth of property to the market.

The business has grown alongside its clients into a lending business in its own right with both a second charge lending business and a joint venture arm which has been built on strong relationships created over the years.

For more information see: www.linkedin.com/in/adrian-cormican-80198a11/

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