Who are you?
What does it say on your business card?
As a small team we don’t have a hang up on job titles and although officially I’m the Managing Director, I’m equally skilled to meet land agents and owners or answer the phone in the office if everyone else is busy. I'm told my tea making skills leave something to be desired though!
How long has Oakford Homes been trading?
We started in June 2008 in the middle of a recession - always the best time to start a business. Since then Oakford Homes has grown year on year thanks in no small part to the outstanding people who work for us and the many excellent firms we’ve had the benefit of working alongside over the last eight years.
What are your goals for 2016?
Building the business up to developing 150 homes a year and obtaining planning consents on some truly special schemes. At the same time we’re looking to strengthen our relationships with suppliers, contractors and land agents to see us into 2017 and beyond. We work with agents less experienced in land and apply our same sense of fair play and reliability that we demonstrate with those agents which have a full land & new homes operation. Agents and housebuilders can work hand in hand to the benefit of both and we look at all sorts of land opportunities across the Thames Valley down to West Sussex.
What is the biggest challenge facing property professionals at the moment?
Red tape. I keep reading how each government is going to help small and medium sized businesses reduce the bureaucratic burden…. I'm still waiting!
What is your greatest achievement in your current role and what made it so special?
Recently I met with one of our customers who has bought five properties over the eight years we’ve been trading, both to live in and to build their letting portfolio, and they’ve recommended us to their friends who’ve subsequently bought. It’s very special to be able to create homes for people to be proud of and I don’t take that responsibility lightly. It’s incredibly rewarding to see people happily settled into their new Oakford Home, so that has to be my greatest achievement, every time.
What is the most satisfying part of your job?
I come from a land and sales background having cut my teeth in estate agency many years ago, so for me it’s the day we exchange on the purchase of a parcel of land and the day we sell the first house from a show house launch. I'm very lucky to have a team of talented individuals who make the work in-between look easy… which it absolutely is not!
What is your property prediction for 2016?
I think the top end of the market in the South East above £1.5 million is likely to have a disappointing year but the middle market will stay strong so long as prices remain sensible. There will be fewer investors about due to the negative press about stamp duty and forthcoming tax changes beginning to bite but the market for starter homes should be good for first time buyers.
House or apartment?
House - I need space around me .
City or countryside?
I'm a country boy at heart. I love the buzz of town life but not full time these days
Modern and stylish or period and original?
Modern and VERY stylish!
Rent or buy?
Buy - property is a long-term investment as well as a home
Kirstie Allsopp or Phil Spencer?
Kirstie of course!!!