Nikhil Patel, managing director of Flamingo Investment Group, on how he got started in the property industry, his proudest career moment, his advice for young people and his cultural recommendations.
What does your job entail?
As the managing director of Flamingo Investment Group, my job involves running a residential development company and commercial investor. Day to day, I look at upcoming deal opportunities and work on these across the entire project cycle, from site identification and raising finance to acquisition, planning, construction and ultimately exit.
How did you join the property industry?
During my final year of university, I worked on a small, single-unit refurbishment project with my family. During this time, I was gearing up to apply for jobs in investment banking, but on the back of the experiences I had during that project, I caught the property bug and recognised it was something I wanted to do full-time. Within a few months of graduating, Flamingo Investment Group was incorporated and we exchanged on our first project – a small apartment renovation in Chelsea, London.
What do you value in people?
Communication. The one thing I will always want and ask for from our team is good communication on the situation at hand. I am a firm believer that communication atthe earliest possible stage, particularly when things are not going to plan, can help iron out any issues and can help lead to a successful outcome.
What do you like most about the property industry?
My favourite aspect is continually meeting new people, each with different characters and experiences, but who often have great stories to learn from. It makes it a lot more interesting when a big part of the job is speaking to people you would have never had the chance to meet otherwise.
What do you dislike the most about the property industry?
The reputation. When we meet with those from outside the industry, such as landowners for example, we are often met with a lack of trust and they tend to have their guard up before a conversation has begun. This means we are sometimes forced to start on the back foot. The majority of developers I have met are good people and pride themselves on delivering high-quality homes.
What are you most proud of in your career?
We have just submitted our largest planning application to date. It is a 21-unit project in a town centre location. Having worked on this for more than 12 months, seeing the plans go from ideation sketches to planning-ready CGIs has been a really exciting journey.
What advice would you give to someone starting a career in the property industry?
Get out there – network and learn from others. The property industry is extremely complicated and multi-faceted depending on which segment of the industry you are joining. There is no ‘right way’ to do a certain thing, but there are many ‘wrong ways’. Keep learning your trade and be willing to soak up the experiences of those who have walked the path before you.