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  • Property-a-holics

    Steve Colley

    Hi All,

    We recently attended a PIN meeting in Kensington looking to network with investors, developers and general property people.

    For those of you that are aware of hows these meetings work - there is the chance to network for an hour at the beginning, then there are a few market updates and people speaking about what they do in property, followed by more networking.

    One of the speakers there was Steve Colley - who spoke about property development. It was a really interesting and informative presentation and well presented. After the talks had finished we managed to grab Steve for a few minutes and have a chat about what we were doing and mentioned how we were also interested in getting involved in development and how it could fit in with his line of work. We took his details and got in contact as we were keen to work with and learn from him as well as possibly present him with development deals that we also regularly come into contact with - with the view of JV'ing and learning from him splitting the profits, him explaining how to raise finance, or just offering him the deals for a fee.

    Has anyone had any experience working with Steve as we are keen to do so but just want to conduct a bit of due diligence beforehand as this is the sensible thing to do.

    Regards,

    Rob and Alex.

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    Hi guys,

    My advice is to proceed with caution.

    See - Joint Ventures - structures & pitfalls 

    Regarding Steve Colley.  He has one company directorship - Esprit Property - which was incorporated in early 2016.  According to his biog, he's been out of the country for a significant period, making it harder to do DD on him.  It may also mean that he cannot raise money via standard channels until he has built up more time in the UK ref: credit rating etc.

    Perhaps try one small project with him and see how you get on?  Make sure you have a bullet-proof JV agreement to protect yourselves:

    See - Golden rules for lending Developers Money 

    I would ask him to provide evidence of successful UK developments, as he currently has no SPV's or limited companies, so I have to wonder how he is structuring his developments - his website claims two on-going, unless he is doing them through Esprit, which also appears to be a training or educational company?  I would ask him for clarification on that score.

    I would expect both his on-going developments to have their own companies or SPV's to keep things neat and tidy.

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    Venessa,


    Many thanks for this information.

    Indeed he mentioned he has been living in France and was retired but decided to get back into property due to a divorce (all mentioned in his presentation not said privately to us)

    He did provide examples of recent property developments he has conducted with good figures but not outrageous ones which made it seem obtainable; however, how can we get specific details of successful developments without asking to see a bank balance - which we don't deem very appropriate.

    He seems to know the area he invests in well and says he has contacts / investors so I presume he gives them an ROI. As we don't have much capital he said he was keen to educate us on the process and did mention a commitment fee to ensure he wasn't wasting his time and that we were committed learning and building a relationship with him - which is presumably fair enough. He said this would be refunded after the first deal and then, having worked together we can decide whether or not we want to continue a working relationship. In terms of the JV if we could bring the investors we would get a more generous split of the profits which also is fair enough.

    We are slightly hung up about the commitment fee but we do get where he is coming from on this. Hence we wanted to know if people have worked with him before.

    Rob and Alex.

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    A good question to ask would be - how much of his own money is he contributing?  If the answer is "none" then the risk is far greater and the commitment fee is a bit of a joke imho.

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    "He did provide examples of recent property developments he has conducted with good figures but not outrageous ones which made it seem obtainable"

    I would want to see hard evidence of this.  A mistake that many make is to believe documents that are produced by the JV partner eg. photos, spreadsheets, pdfs, etc.  Anyone can produce a document that says anything.

    I would ask for the title no.s of such developments and look them up on LR and see proof of ownership and history.  I'd also ask to see tax returns as proof of how successful their ventures were.  Also copies of completion statements from conveyancing.  And yes I would ask for bank statements if I felt it was needed.  I always do a credit check on anyone I am JV-ing with.  If anyone is so successful that they want to speak publicly about their success, then they should be proud to show you this information. 

    And I would not give anyone up-front fees for anything.

    Don't be too shy to ask at the beginning and be prepared to walk away.

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    Moneybox,

    Thank you for this - I would tend to agree that if you are publicly speaking about your success then you should be able to back it up.

    What we were thinking is taking less of the profit from the final cut and pay him for helping us after everything was done instead of a commitment fee - then he actually gets the money for helping us out as opposed to refunding it. We are more than happy to pay for something that is of benefit. From then on we both benefit from the fact that we know we can work together and produce good results and establish a long-term business relationship. As well as myself and Rob being surveyors (Valuations and Management respectively) we also bring something to the table.

    I guess you could look at it from the other side as we have nothing to establish his commitment to us once that money is gone so it could work both ways - but we wouldn't ask for a commitment fee for learning off of someone. If we proceed with this then we would also need to go to his office and see how he works etc which he has invited us to do. As we live in London and work full-time and he lives further south perhaps taking holiday, of which we get precious little (20 days) is a commitment in itself, in order to see him and work together and take a couple of days per month to meet up shows that commitment.

    We just want to make it clear that we are in no way saying he is a con or anything like that - he in fact seems very nice and genuine but we need to do our due diligence nonetheless and with so many stories about fake mentors (although he says he is not mentoring here but helping to establish and business relationship to benefit both parties) we wouldn't feel right in not checking things out first.


    Thanks again for your input.

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    Yep.  He's asking you for cash upfront, based on nothing more than what he's told you.  The fact that he presented at a PIN meeting means nothing in terms of his credibility.  He may well not want to waste his time with you, but then he has to accept that equally, you don't want to waste your time (or money!) with him if he's not prepared to provide concrete evidence of his claims.

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    Beth,


    Of course - I am sure many people can speak at PIN and there is no guarantee that they do their due diligence on their speakers so it is important for the individuals to do so.

    Exactly what we were thinking i.e. theres no guarantee on his part which is what we mentioned in the reply to Moneybox.


    Thanks for your help.


    Rob and Alex.

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    and did mention a commitment fee to ensure he wasn't wasting his time 

    Can i ask how much this fee is ? My ears are ringing, i think its the alarm bells in my head again.

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    Phil Stewardson.

    Stewardson Properties.

    Stewardson Developments Ltd.

    Burson Land Ltd. & Jennings & Gilchreaste Ltd.

    http://www.stewardson.co.uk

    Follow me on twitter - @philstewardson

    Hi Phil,

    Sure - he asked for a fee of £5,000 which he will give back to us after the first deal is completed.

    To be honest myself and Rob do not have that amount to potentially waste (although I would like to believe he is legit) and are better of continuing saving and learning for free until we can fund our own project / someone is willing to help us or mentor us in exchange for something else that we can offer whether it be Surveying work or doing odd jobs around the property like painting, going to the skip etc.

    I think what we will do is suggest other ways to show our commitment bar giving cash. E.g. taking holiday, paying him at the end of the project for the help, or the above mentioned.


    Rob and Alex.

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    Saw this very relevant quote from " F1 Fan" on another similar topic yesterday.

    What we tend to forget, is many, but not all of these people are effectively in the 'training course business' rather than the property business. Property is just the platform.



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