Oli Cohen, a partner at BELCOR, discusses his experiences in the property industry and shares his cultural recommendations
How did you join the property industry?
I was actually recommended by a client of ours, who felt I would love working in Shoreditch and introduced me to Paul Belchak, who had just started the company.
What does your job entail?
BELCOR works across all sectors mainly focused in the City fringe, so my days are spent moving from one project to another, whether it be working on an office deal or acquiring a flagship leisure site for companies like Monopoly Lifesized or securing an industrial site for fashion entity Trapstar.
What do you like most about the property industry?
I love that no two days are the same. The market is always evolving and it is key to stay at the forefront of new market trends so we can advise clients accordingly.
And what do you dislike most about it?
The way legals are done in particular is archaic and in need of reform. Many deals take far longer than they should, with extensive mark-ups on leases and old practices meaning solicitors are often not able to move things on at a quick pace. New ideas and technology are needed to keep up with the managed market where deals are being done in days.
What would you change about the property industry?
I would make leases far more simplistic to avoid back and forth, as well as making it a standard practice that agents, solicitors and clients either meet or have a virtual meeting at an early stage of a deal.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
As a small niche firm, we are always having to prove ourself to clients and in the early days we had to always compete to win every instruction. So it is great now that new clients are regularly approaching us to work on their portfolio across the City fringe.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Mainly, growing the business from a three-person company to now 12 and being recognised as one of the main City fringe agencies. I am also proud about acting for companies like Beats by Dre, Nicce and Travelex.
What do you value in people?
Good morals and principles are what we pride ourselves on as a firm. We want people who do not have egos and will always provide honest and credible advice.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
Do not be afraid or ashamed to admit you do not know something. People respect someone far more if they are honest about not knowing something and are willing to find out the answer than someone who is looking to blag and runs into trouble later down the line.