I have a Spanish pal who has been a friend for years. I saw him earlier today. He’s a young man operating as an estate agent, developer and promoter. His father, uncles and cousins were big boys in the industry and have all now gone into administration for debts to the banks they will probably never be able to repay.
My pal has survived by keeping small and now employs his father and uncles to work for him as builders, their original trade. He only takes on sellers with houses over 300K for sale and is happy to charge five percent commission on two or three sales a month. He seldom takes on sellers from the UK unless they are realistic over the required price and he doesn’t get involved in distressed sales or repossessions.
He prefers the more realistic Germans and Scandinavians, and a lot of his buyers are Russian or Chinese who often pay cash. He avoids his own country folk whom he doesn’t trust.
He’s been offered the chance to develop a large parcel of land with planning permission for 8,600 housing and commercial units; the sellers are a consortium to whom he is related. There is no competition, all the major developers have gone bust.
But his large family is a family at war. They became rich during the boom and are now blaming each other for their demise. I’m not qualified to advise him, but I’m bursting to tell him to go for it. The required finance is horrendous, but banks are literally queuing at his door with offers, there is no one else left to lend their money to.