Collapsing houses can’t rock this estate agent’s firm foundations

John Rich, Fusion Property

John Rich, Fusion Property - Credit: Archant

This Head of Property Sales doesn’t fall down when it comes to structural surveys, but he never ceases to be amazed by rising house prices

What’s special about your agency?

Fusion Property is a Boutiqe operation, dealing with both residential and commercial property. We act for many high net worth individuals, large investment funds and Sovereign Wealth funds.

Where do you live and with whom?

I currently live in Totteridge, N20 with my wife.

Why did you buy your current property? What’s your favourite thing about it?

I have an apartment in an historic Manor House, which has been converted into 10 apartments. The location, on Totteridge Common, is superb being only 10 miles from central London and although there are 5 acres of parkland and woodland, I don’t have to cut the lawn!!

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If you weren’t an estate agent what would you be?

I just love what I do and cannot see myself changing direction. I have had various companies, including an NHBC house building firm, a 14 branch Estate Agency in East Anglia and a separate Agency selling French property to the UK market, but dealing with top class residential and commercial property is perfect for me.

When did you buy your first property and what was it like?

First purchase was a 1 year old purpose built, ground floor flat with parking in Ilford. This was in 1969 and I paid £3,600, which included all contents, fixtures, fitings and the 1 year old furnishings. I distinctly recall having moved in and wondering how on earth I was going to afford nearly £35 per month on mortgage payments.

What’s your dream house?

Already been there, and done that. A fabulous Victorian farmhouse in Cambridgeshire, which was in an extremely poor condition when I bought it. I spent more than a year refurbishing and sympathetically restoring the house and had many happy years there. I like to think that I have now given the house a “new start”.

How long have you been an estate agent? What’s the most shocking/surprising thing you’ve seen on the job?

Possibly too long, but enjoy myself too much. I started training as a Chartered surveyor in 1965 and have worked continually in property ever since. The MOST shocking thing, I couldn’t possibly mention but a little further down the list was the occasion when I went to value a property in Barnsbury Square, Islington, and discovered that the owner had decided to carry out some DIY and removed load-bearing walls in the basement. The house was on the verge of total collapse but I managed to get builders in with Acrow props in time.

How has the local property market changed since you started out?

The pace at which property prices have increased just never fails to amaze me. Along with many people, I constantly wonder when there may be another price correction but when the long term increase is viewed logically, whilst there have been several “hiccups” in price increases, Southern England, and London in particular, has been mainly sheltered from most price reversals.

What are your top tips for the local area?

Always invest in a structural survey when buying and use a good firm of solicitors; Both can save you a lot of money in the long run. Location is also key to a good property investment.

Are you good at Monopoly?

Having started playing when very young, I have never looked back!

Fusion Property