The story so far ….

A potted history of how I got started …

I was educated in the West Country at a local catholic school achieving 8 good O’levels.

However, 6th form at the Local Adult Education College, I decided an early departure from my study of A’level mathematics, ecomonics and art was the best route forward.  I became a Trainee Fashion Buyer for a large fashion retailer, becoming a fully fledged buyer at a relatively early age.  Wanting to spread my wings further I left to study at the “University of Life” – travelling around the world for several years, which was a worthwhile education – one that could never be forgotten!!  I studied interior design in Johannesburg, and returning to the UK, I worked in film production, where I met my husband.

I had always bought property, added my on touch or two, and after having my two boys I started to take on larger projects always relying on my interior design skills and a good gut feeling for the way the market was performing.  Now in the property development business, I enjoy all areas of property investment with a focus on building family homes for the residential market here in London.

My love of property is long-standing.  Whilst living abroad in 1983, I still managed to buy a three bed semi in Cheltenham, letting it out and selling it two years later.

At first it was not selling and I returned home to find it looking a little uncared for.  No furnishings and some strange accessories had been left by the outgoing tenant.  I removed the items, hovered and polished, hung up a few pictures and added a couple of pot plants.  It sold the following week.

I then bought an unusual architect designed three storey freehold property, yet set in communal grounds, in Frimley Green, Surrey.  I did not do anything to this property, but buying in 85 and selling in 88, I doubled my money.

After getting married we bought a flat on Richmond Hill.  It was bought in 98.  We added a large 10m x 20m wooden deck surrounded with balaustrading to the large flat roof above us.  We added a ships ladder to allow us to access through the existing sliding attic skylight.  This cost £3,000, but allowed us to still make a £15,000 profit when selling it in 92 whilst the market had crashed a year or so earlier.

We stayed out of the market for a year and returned to Hampton Wick to buy a family home as I was pregnant.  We bought a small four storey Georgian town house right on the high street.  It was a repossession that had had all its fixtures and fittings ripped out.  There was a modern shower room on the top floor, but a shell room for a bathroom and only a sink and drainer unit on the lower ground floor for a kitchen.   We bought second hand kitchen units that were being pulled out of a large house in Fulham for £450 and a reclaimed maple floor from Walcot Reclamation Centre in Bath for half the price of a new wooden floor!  However, it had come from an old sweet factory and – yes, the tongue and groove was all sticky!  We moved in at the end of November and the kitchen diner on the lower ground floor easily saw my birthday in, which was 21st January.

I think that was when we got the real bug for sniffing out wonderful buildings and putting them back together again.  But with a child now running many circles around us, we moved across to Kingston and bought a very pretty detached house.  We added fitted book cases and wardrobes and decorated throughout.  Finally adding a kitchen extension and selling it several years later for £75,000 more than a local agent said I would get!

The last family house renovation was tough to find as the market had started slowly and steadily increasing.  However, a probate old fashioned semi, with grand proportions, and untouched for forty years come on the market.  It was with an agent who normally sold lower priced properties, and we were under offer trying to find a project.

Our offer of close to asking price was accepted.  We renovated it throughout.  The main structural work was taking out the two main chimney breasts at the rear of the property – but retaining the 12 foot chimney stacks above the roof.  We created a kitchen diner on the ground floor and a master bedroom with an extra ensuite shower room in the floor above.

Fast forwards to 2010:

I really feel I have found my property developing niche:  specializing in building or renovating family homes with renewable energy focus in South West London area.   I provide a bespoke service drawing on my design background to bring individual style as well as great value per square foot. I am always hunting for good plots – old properties that are past their sell by date or indeed something that is in need of a lot of TLC.

I am just starting out on my social media journey and I am looking to connect with other like-minded people, industry professionals, JV partners, and other property enthusiasts.  Please follow me on Twitter (@janeskynner) and facebook.