Jackie Fitzgerald, Managing Director and Owner of Homes or Houses Limited, moved to the Middle East in 1999 in her role as a client relationship manager in Investment markets.Initially Jackie was based in Bahrain, moving to the UAE in 2006 and working for SHUAA Capital in Dubai. Jackie remained in Dubai until returning to the UK in 2012 to establish Homes or Houses Limited
The motivation to build Homes or Houses, followed her frustrating experiences as an expatriate in working through the documentation and process of purchasing property from abroad.
Having personally established a portfolio of 14 houses, she experienced challenges in co-ordination of suppliers and professional services and then the ultimate management of the properties was difficult on the basis that most letting agents did not comprehend the hurdles in owning property at a distance.
Jackie decided to create a ‘one-stop-shop’ for expatriate and foreign national investors, to assist in the management of the service from sourcing property to letting and ultimate sale. This business was to specialize in expatriates and foreigners only and to have services built around their requirements, no matter where in the globe they were located.
The business was to be UK based as this was where the searches and services would take place, but visits to the Gulf where the majority of clients were expected to be based had also to be factored in. Homes or Houses now has clients in Canada and Australia too.
The concept was in the making for around two years, the structure legally took around three months to create and Homes or Houses was officially established on in May 2012.
The concept of a source, acquisition and management business for Expatriates and Foreign Nationals is a new one, and to date Jackie had not found an equivalent service outside London, therefore the first challenge was to establish an understanding of who Homes or Houses were and what the company offered. This was a process of time and talking to a high number of potential clients.
Gaining credibility in the property market in the UK was a challenge that was welcomed, by remaining sensitive to our relationships with estate agents and developers and the reputation of being serious buyers for the clients emerged.
Jackie wanted efficiency through professional and efficient partners, and was fortunate enough to make good choices at outset, based on her knowledge of the market and the points to assess in collaboration arrangements with Solicitors, Surveyors and Mortgage brokers, as well as a full array of property tradesmen.
The first purchase has to be one of the proudest moments, but so were the first fee, the first refurbishment and the first tenants. In your own business the first of anything is like the birth of the first child and feels momentous, no matter how small the event.
The initial business plan aimed to purchase 20 properties per annum and now in the companies 19th month, 51 properties have completed over 70% higher than this aim.
The opportunities we see each day and the service requests from our clients are very exciting and our potential for growth really has no limits other than the time to execute our services to the quality for which the company has become known.
As we progress over the next twelve months, we will broaden our services geographically, with London on our radar for particular investors, in addition, we will broaden the spectrum of purchase methods into new and auction properties, whilst at all times conducting the specific Due Diligence and portfolio strategy analysis our clients have come to expect.