Martin Roberts, principal and co-founder of Addington Capital, on how he got started in property, his favourite film and radio show, his number-one travel destination and the superpower he wishes he had.

Martin Roberts

Martin Roberts

How did you join the property industry?

I studied a degree in urban estates surveying at Trent Polytechnic and then did a placement year with Herring, Son & Daw, which I loved. They offered me a graduate job for when I finished my degree. I haven’t looked back since!

What does your job entail?

Managing my business. At Addington we work with investor partners on value-add projects across the residential, office and retail sectors. We find opportunities, work with our investors to acquire the assets and then work the business plan to create value – whether that be through negotiating the planning system, repurposing the property or redevelopment, as needed. I am also a co-founder of Addington’s sister company AddLiving, which manages and lets our residential schemes and we’re planning to boost that business further.

What do you like most about the property industry?

Dealing with a physical asset you can hopefully buy and improve. I particularly like optimising the use of buildings in town and urban areas. It is great to take a redundant office, industrial or retail property and create a new, viable single- or mixed-use scheme. I have particularly enjoyed creating residential homes for sale or rent. I also like most of the people I work with and come up against.

And what do you dislike most about it?

There are some people employed in the industry who are a bit slapdash and don’t care enough to get things right. I find that frustrating.

What would you change about the property industry?

I’d professionalise the planning system. Planning committee members need appropriate training before they can make far-reaching decisions that impact thousands of people. It wouldn’t happen in any other profession.

What barriers or challenges have you overcome?

Setting up my own business in the middle of a recession (2010) with the banks holding back loans and the economy double-dipping. This was fun but tense work. I learned a lot about holding my nerve and believing in what we were doing.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Setting up my own business from scratch with my partner Matt and building a team. We took on four grads this year, which has been a big change in our format and it has been rewarding to mentor and teach them about the business, despite the challenges of Covid-19.

What do you value in people?

Enthusiasm, hard work, loyalty, integrity and a strong sense of fun!

What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?

Anything is possible. Seek to achieve the best you can always – you could be pleasantly surprised. And show integrity; this is a small world in which reputation is key.