Triathlons, traffic bans and tech-enhanced lettings: meet Adam Ray of Excel Property Services
- Credit: Archant
Associate Director Adam Ray shares his perfect day out triathlon training in Hampstead and explains how he’d solve the housing crisis.
My perfect day out in Hampstead… is probably a bit different to other people’s. I’ve just joined Hampstead Triathlon Club so I’d go open water swimming at Parliament Hill, then go on a bike ride around Regent’s Park before a nice run. Then for dinner I’d go to Jin Kichi for the best Japanese food, followed by a film at the Everyman.
I bought my first property two years ago… in Southgate, just around the corner from where I grew up in the catchment area for my primary school. When I bought it was about £240,000, and now there’s a similar one going for about £350,000 but I want to keep it as an investment.
My dream house changes all the time… you see so many different properties in this job. One week you’ll see an amazing townhouse in St John’s wood and think ‘I want to live there’, then the next you’ll see something more cottage-y in Hampstead. I’m really into Grand Designs so I really want to buy a plot and build something myself one day.
I studied product design at university… and I graduated during the recession. It was terrible for jobs so I moved back home. My boss used to live opposite my parents in Southgate and he gave me a job in admin whilst I was going for interviews. Seven years later I’m still here! You can’t help but fall in love with the property around here. I can’t see myself doing anything else.
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Once went to take photos of a property whilst the tenant was out… and there was a gun left out on the coffee table. We thought it was real and we were a bit taken aback. It was the last thing you’d expect to see in a nice house in St John’s Wood. Luckily it turned out to be just a replica.
Obviously everyone is talking about Brexit… but to be honest this area is very stable for lettings. After the result we had a week in August where it was dead, but it picked up and last month was one of our best Septembers.
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When letting a house it’s all about presentation… we’re quite particular about our marketing details so we always show the property in its best light. Often the photos are the first time a client has seen a property and that has to grab their attention and get them to come see it.
To fix the housing crisis I’d build more houses… rather than just apartments. They’re building mainly one and two beds and that’s fine if you’re a professional couple or a young family, but there’s not enough houses for people to buy if they’ve got larger families. I think there’ll be more repercussions soon when people can’t afford to buy bigger homes.
If I was Mayor of Camden for the day… I’d ban mums and dads driving their kids to school. I often find myself stuck behind a lane of 4 x 4s on my way to an afternoon appointment, so I’d like to try it – just for a week!
I once let a house over a Skype call… we had an amazing townhouse in Hampstead in a gated development just of the High Street. The client was from a big American company who were sending someone over to their London offices. We set up a Skype viewing and I spent two hours with him filming on the company iPad as I walked around the property, showing him all the rooms and measuring up car parking spaces for him.
If I could own any building in London… it would be One Blackfriars, a new development on the other side of the Thames. I’m north London born and bred… but I love being close to the Thames and the buzz around the South Bank. I’d take the penthouse apartment on the side looking back over north London for the nostalgic view.
My favourite gadget is my running watch… it’s got a GPS tracker on it. That or my clothes steamer! Before I got it, it was taking me ten minutes to iron a shirt.
Excel is different because we’re an independent agent… every single deal we do we have a director who is involved in the process from start to finish. Between the seven of us our office has 100 years of experience, and our clients feel secure and stay with us for years. WWe also have an established Japanese lettings department and have become well-regarded throughout London’s prime locations for our expertise in this niche area. Our landlords know the many benefits of letting through our corporate connections as in the Japanese culture, reliability, integrity, certainty and cleanliness are core qualities; precisely what is desired of a tenant.
I was undefeated at monopoly until a year ago… my fiancé and I played one on one and she beat me. I’ve packed the board away and we haven’t played since. I’m not a very good loser and it was a tough moment for the relationship, but I think we’ve come out stronger!
Produced in partnership with Excel Property Services.