Learn How Two Former Students Made A Name For Themselves In Property Development

We thought we’d try something a bit different by turning the spotlight onto two members of our PDA community and the ups and downs they have faced in the Property Development world.

It has been a pleasure to support them on their journey and we know that the sky is the limit for these two.

Enjoy their story!

Wendel and Ian Morrison

After both experiencing long and varied corporate careers, we began our own business in cost management. We helped clients to save costs on construction materials, facilities management and energy usage through our extensive knowledge and collective buying power. But we knew we wanted to expand into new business avenues as well.

Property had always been on our “wish list” and we are strong believers in having multiple income streams to stay resilient to economic change, and to add a bit of variety!

But we could never quite figure out how to turn our Property dreams into a profitable business

However, this changed when we attended Simon Zutshi’s Mastermind Programme and were taught a number of different strategies and techniques. Although the biggest impact was seen on our confidence, allowing up to finally go and “do property” properly. We also now felt like we had met an amazing group who could inspire and encourage us.

We began with the acquisition of an office building and a light industrial unit. We then sought out a property to turn into a HMO to start building our cash flow, and stumbled across Brook Court Guesthouse.

The numbers seemed to work and as we wanted a deal with multiple exit strategies, it fit the bill!

We paid £550,000, and were granted planning permission to convert to eight residential apartments. The deal worked well on paper, and the estimated build costs came out at £180,000.

But we didn’t have the required experience or funds… However, we managed to find people who had the skills and access to funds we needed and who were wiling to assist us, so we took the plunge.

From there it was a steep learning curve, as we were landed with unexpected costs and issues.

Although we can now say we were successful, the journey wasn’t without it’s challenges.

We had some fantastic people in our team who stuck by us through thick and thin, but we also had a few who let us down and attempted to take advantage of our “novice status”. Looking back, we just didn’t do enough due diligence to ensure the partnerships were right for both sides; these few ‘failings’ affected the project (and our sanity!) at various stages.

Development costs were close to double what we had planned and we had to fund most of this personally. Thankfully the GDV also increased.

We have learned to be more resilient that ever before, it was definitely a lonely journey at times, but Richard and Brynley Little really came to our rescue.

They gave us a tailor-made “hand-holding” service and helped with everything from damage limitation to keeping the project on track and us motivated. They were able to offer an experienced, safe pair of hands and reassured us that we were doing a great job so we could keep our confidence and carry on.

Now we have continual support, we are quickly learning from our mistakes and growing stronger as Developers. We plan to start another project soon, a site with 33,000 sq ft of office and warehouses, which we will knock down and develop into a stunning riverside residential development.

We personally love to be part of the PDA Inner Circle Programme. It is an incredible way for us to share our story, mistakes and the hard earned lessons we have learned with other PDA members and attendees at courses.

If there were some key lessons we could give you, it would be these:

  1. Due diligence! Due diligence! Due diligence!
  2. Ask as many questions as possible
  3. Choose and match your team and partners carefully
  4. Be clear on who does what, and never make assumptions
  5. Get your finance secured early (And have a healthy contingency fund)
  6. And always have a support network in place, you always need people who will be by your side and able to offer advice

And if really you want to become a Property Developer, remember to be:

  • Resilient
  • Resourceful
  • And always willing to accept help and advice

Like what you read? Give PDA a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.