Scott Grayson, head of property acquisition at Fairhome Property Group, on how he got started in property, his top TV and book recommendations, plus his number-one travel destination.
How did you join the property industry?
I joined the property industry as an estate agency apprentice at 18 years old in 1986. I had an old-school boss who taught me how to look at property structures and conditions, deal with the public and communicate with clients and external stakeholders, including solicitors, mortgage brokers and surveyors – all of which created a really sound foundation and overview of the residential market. At 21, I ran my own estate agency offices. Although I was quite young, it was a reflection of the benefits of having a good mentor.
What does your job entail?
My role at Fairhome Property Group is the head of property acquisition. Briefly, this means that my team searches for the right property to service the needs of our external care partners, local authorities and charities. These organisations have a requirement to find secure housing for vulnerable people in society. Our team searches nationally to find the ideal property. Once the property is found, we oversee the appraisal system to make sure the scheme will work and liaise with our internal construction partners to view the property to ensure we are creating the right environment for our partner’s specification. My role also includes sitting on the Fairhome Group board as part of the senior leadership team.
What do you like most about the property industry?
I love the architecture, design and history of property we acquire. Property is so diverse and can have such a rich history and heritage. I like to think that great designs today become the history of tomorrow. Ultimately, well-designed property creates a positive legacy and there is nothing more rewarding than delivering fantastic schemes.
And what do you dislike most about it?
The speed it takes to transact.
What would you change about the property industry?
I have found in my time in property that the desire to acquire is good, but the system is layered with unnecessary complications that hold up the buying process. Ultimately, this sometimes outweighs the initial purpose of buying and prevents transactions and homes being transacted. I would have a full review of the system, from offer-making to the legal process, and find more effective routes.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
There are so many moving parts in the property industry, from fast-paced auctions and complicated build contracts to overpriced property and the speed of transaction. Transactions in the modern day should be so much quicker, but the obstacle is to get all the decision-makers to commit – not always easy.
What are you most proud of in your career?
First, longevity. I am proud I have been able to move with the market, create new visionary ideas and be able to pass on my knowledge to younger members of teams I have managed while they start their own journey in property. Second, being respected by those who know me as a property professional. And third, having the ability to provide affordable and safe housing for those in need.
What do you value in people?
Honesty, integrity and willingness to learn.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
I’d say, embrace the industry and try to find yourself a good mentor who will teach you correctly. Be brave enough to use your initiative and challenge the norm. Always ask questions.