Two budding young entrepreneurs are set to shake up the property market in Wales, with their own company which tackles some of the challenges facing investors and sellers.
George Dugard, 25, along with his business partner Hannah Robson, 27, have formed Dugard Property Ltd, which secures property investment deals for clients while also helping people trying to sell ‘problem properties’.
The pair started their business with the help of Big Ideas Wales, which is part of Business Wales and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. The service can support anyone between the age of 5 and 25 who wants to develop a business idea.
The Caerphilly-based firm, which has been operating for just over six months, offers an alternative to the traditional method of selling a house through an estate agent. George and Hannah work with the homeowners directly, meaning the sellers receive a quick sale without incurring agency fees and with legal fees covered, regardless of the condition of the property.
In only a short time since its launch, Dugard Property Ltd has built up a network of contacts and works with its clients on a 1-2-1 basis or via a mailing list to offer a range of properties on and off the market.
George’s career in the property industry began when he was just 16 when he was making small property investments with his father. He then worked as a Project Manager on a building site in Australia after completing his degree in Law.
Speaking about his new business venture, George said: “Think of us as your personal shopper service for properties. With the housing market moving at the pace it is, and modern life meaning we all have less time on our hands, we want to make the process easier for people by doing the hard work for them.
“Investment in property can offer so much more return than savings accounts, particularly with political uncertainty meaning rates aren’t paying back. So we’re here to guide clients along the way to making a great investment in property.”
Their business journey so far has not been without its challenges, Hannah continued: “Most investors have been receptive to our innovative approach, but the challenge has been building strong relationships with agents. It can be difficult to explain to agents that we can work in unison rather than against each other.”
With George coming from the Isle of Wight originally and Hannah coming from Caerphilly, the couple spent some time researching where best to set up their business. They decided to make Caerphilly their base partly because of their knowledge of the area already but also because of the support they could access from the Welsh Government, including regular meetings with their own business advisor, Mark Adams.
Most recently, George attended the Big Ideas Wales’ residential event in the Urdd Centre in Cardiff Bay. Bootcamp to Business gives young entrepreneurs the chance to learn and hone their business skills with workshops, advice and mentoring from successful Welsh businesspeople.
George said: “Having our own business advisor has meant we have support, whatever obstacle we’re facing. The most useful thing that Mark provides is acting as devil’s advocate. He picks out the potential problems from a situation before we’ve even thought of them and gives us constructive advice on how to progress. We’ve also been referred to countless Big Ideas Wales Role Models throughout our time working with Mark which has been incredibly useful for our continued growth.”
This year, George and Hannah have ambitions to grow their rent-to-rent portfolio, meaning Dugard Property Ltd would rent from Cardiff and Newport based landlords who are looking for long-term rental agreements. This will be done alongside generating further private funding from investors to build their own portfolio.
Their business advisor Mark Adams said: “George and Hannah are two highly motivated individuals with a real passion for this market. I’m confident their drive and business acumen will see their business grow quickly and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for them.”