SG Wealth Builder is pleased to conduct an email interview with Myles Clement, co-founder of FirstPropInvest.com, a property platform that connects Singapore investors to the UK property developers.
1) Congratulations on the launch of FirstPropInvest.com! Can you share with the readers what gap or problem is the platform addressing?
Thank you! Firstpropinvest.com was created to give Singaporean investors CHOICE when looking to invest in the UK. We saw there is a gap in the market to create a clear, simple, impartial, platform that brings investors the latest UK properties directly, with no heavy sales tactics as we are not agents. Currently only the medium to large developers can afford to market their developments out here at great cost. Why not allow everyone to be able to market to the Far East market, bringing greater transparency, more choice, and hopefully better value to the investor, as opposed to being sold what is launched on any given weekend. We feel investors aren’t being given the best options available to them within their budgets. You have worked hard to buy that investment property in the UK why not have a choice.
2) Who is the target customers?
FirstPropInvest.com targets anyone who is interested in investing in property based in SE Asia, from the first time investor, to the professional investor with large portfolios already. We aim to create a service that is useful to all, and not just one specific type of investor. We want the platform to grow, so if investors want to buy in say Scotland, we will look to list developments in Scotland. FirstPropInvest.com is an investor and developer platform so we want to work with both to help grow the site.
3) How does the platform works?
It is simple. You simply go to Firstpropinvest.com for free, no login is required, search for a property within you desired budget and city, have a browse at the individual units buy price or yield, and if you like what you see and want to talk to someone in more detail about a particular property then click ‘enquire’. The investor then fills out some basic information, and clicks ‘send’. From this the developer or their sales team, will contact the investor directly.
4) What value-add features can investors expect from FirstPropInvest.com, in terms of legal advice, due diligence packs, etc?
Many investors forget that buying a property is not as easy as it seems, though it needn’t be stressful either. We have partnered with some of the best people in Singapore and the UK to help investors who have busy lifestyles. We offer introductions to mortgage brokers, Lawyers, Tax advisers, Fx brokers, due diligence companies and a property management/lettings and sales agent, we have exclusive partnerships with all. With regards to the Due diligence packs, we feel this is an excellent added value service we can offer a busy investor. If you are unsure a due diligence pack can be sought, giving you all the information you need on re-sale values, rental values and the current market conditions etc to help you. This is all done by an independent UK company that has no link to any of our developers. All our other partners on the platform will be working with us closely to send you the latest information direct to your inbox that may effect you or your investment, if you register here.
5) London is hot favorite property investment hotspot among Singaporeans. In today’s current climate, is it still a conducive place to invest?
I think London will always be a great place to invest, like anywhere it does go through cycles however, and nothing is guaranteed. What a lot of investors don’t realise is apart from the big glass towers, London has some fantastic cheaper smaller developments that may be a better investment. They never see these as it isn’t cost effective currently for a small developer to launch over here. One problem with London currently, is it has become expensive due to the current boom. FirstPropInvest.com has therefore listed developments in other cities such as Manchester that are a lot more affordable and the yields more attractive. Again FirstPropInvest.com aims to give you choice.
6) Can you share with the readers your team members’ background?
Myself, I have been involved in property since the age of 19, setting up my on commercial and residential investment company and working with HNW individuals, before moving to work with a private client building out their portfolio in central London. My co-founder has spent many years in the digital marketing industry in the UK, and is the technical side of the platform, his main focus is the marketing of the platform digitally. The rest of our business development team, have years of experience and knowledge sourcing properties across the UK.7) What are the safeguards that Singapore investors should look out for when buying overseas properties?
For me the main thing an investor needs to do is do their research and know your market. I hear too many stories of people walking into one of these launches to have a look and coming out having bought a property! This isn’t something you should take lightly. Look at the options, for instance, do I buy one property in London for 650k at a 5% yield, or do I spread my risk and buy 3 or 4 units for less than my London property, but with a higher yield in say Manchester? Ultimately like anything property is a risk, but if you are sensible it is a great investment.
SG Wealth Builder