Waterfront Portfolio - How It All Started, The Challenges & Achieving Success in Real Estate!
As a child I always remember feeling a sense of calm and excitement whenever I was next to a waterfront, whether it was exploring rock pools by the sea, fishing on the river or swimming in the local lake. I was fascinated by the many waterfront activities that could be enjoyed and the sense of peace that came with it. This fascination still remains, I love to start my day with an early morning swim in the sea or a vigorous bicycle ride along the waterfront. Having the chance to spend my free time enjoying lunch in the marina, diving or discovering remote bays really makes me feel happy and acts as an escape away from the trials and tribulations that often arise from daily stresses at work or home. In fact the waterfront lifestyle that I enjoy today is a dream away from my early days and in some way provides a balance to several years of hard times and perseverance. As a youngster my main passion was football, and from the age of 5 through to my late teens I did everything in my power to make it as a professional. After joining a premier league club I was on route to achieving my dream until injury forced me into changing direction away from sport and into studying higher education. Southampton University was the only location on my UCAS list with a marina, so at the time it made for a quick decision making process! Irony would have it that even on my first day at University I mistakenly took a seat in the wrong lecture theater where a professor began explaining the delights of marine biology. I quickly realized that the content of both his and my excitement had nothing to do with the business investment degree that I had enrolled in, nevertheless I sat through the session with intrigue.
Why Waterfront Real Estate?
Having graduated I was raring to go, my natural entrepreneurial flare had been lit and I was seeking out opportunities everywhere, I didn't quite know what I wanted, but I knew that I dreamed to be by the waterfront surrounded by the finer things that life had to offer. The audacity of youth! When I now look back all those years ago, I realize that this juncture was key to shaping my future. Whilst all of my close friends had found secure employment in top tier companies I was battling to keep my head above water, still deep down I always believed that my time would eventually come.
In 2002 my father had decided to buy a home overseas and had invested into a villa development in the Mediterranean, immediately I saw this as a new opportunity and it turned out to be my base for the next few years!
During a coffee with the developer of the project one afternoon I discovered that he had 30 more units for sale but zero marketing plan and without a sales strategy, so the next day decided to open the first professional property investment company in the area and advertise the villas to holiday makers. Within our first 5 month season we sold them all.
Over a six year period the company grew to opening 5 more offices with a head office in the United Kingdom and further branches within exciting international cities including London along with Istanbul a developing metropolis and leading location for Turkey real estate with abundant waterfronts with big potential.
Business was great, we had built a strong team and achieved many accolades, until 2008, we were in the middle of developing our first luxury villa project when the recession hit us hard. The bank closed in on loans and took everything we owned. It was a tough time which saw my once unbreakable bond with my father collapse, our relationship was already strained and our financial ruin combined to me returning back to the UK with nothing, the worst part of it was that it lead to me not speaking to my father for many years.
When it rains it pours!
It took some time getting back to my feet, I had great support from close friends and family who willed me to get going again. I must admit it was a big fall from grace, a sudden change in lifestyle that hurt my pride as well as pocket, I felt that I had hit rock bottom, but little did I know that there was more to come. I had found a job working for an international investment agency in London, managing sales and marketing but often felt that I was expendable, running the business while the directors enjoyed fancy waterfront holidays as I spent most of my time on the M25 getting to and from work opening and closing the office six days a week. On Sundays I would take a walk along the riverfront admiring the waterfront mansions spread along the Thames, dreaming of one day living a life by the water.