Yemi Edun, founder and chief executive of Daniel Ford International, on how he got started in the property industry, the challenges he has overcome, his advice for young people and his cultural recommendations.
What do you value in people?
There have been two kinds of individuals who have proved themselves to be of the highest value over the course of my career: individuals who are trustworthy and those who are relentless.
What does your job entail?
My job runs the gamut from strategic thinking and critical decision-making to relationship and stakeholder management. We’ve built a solid team at Daniel Ford that is extremely capable, so it frees my time to focus on higher-order and long-term tasks.
How did you join the property industry?
I got into property at a time information technology (IT) was the latest fad. To be honest, I tried my hand at it and wasn’t the best at it, so I decided to do something different and my thinking was that people would make money in IT and need me for their property, which has proved to be the case over the years.
What do you like most about the property industry?
There are very few industries that everyone must interact with at some point in their lives and property is one of them. It’s a fundamental human need, so I particularly like the fact I play a pivotal role in a big decision and potentially the most expensive decision most people make. Being part of the process and seeing what it means to every individual irrespective of class or background is very fulfilling.
And what do you dislike most about it?
Until the deal is finalised, you’re not sure you have a deal. The buyer, the seller or even the bank can withdraw at any stage of the process, which means you stand the risk of all the work that has gone into any particular deal potentially being wasted.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
Acceptance in the industry as an acquisition agent was one of the big initial ones. We constantly had to fight battles to prove what value we brought to the table and why we could command the fees we did.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Helping hundreds of people get on the housing ladder – some in the face of challenges or having been told they couldn’t; the team and business we’ve built that will outlast me; and the honour to serve three generations for some of our clients.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in property?
The industry is quite broad. Where you see yourself starting may not be where you end up or where your skillset will thrive the most, so keep an open mind. I started as a lettings negotiator, then transitioned to a financial adviser and am now an acquisition agent.
What do you want to change about the property industry?
Better pipeline between the government and practitioners, fewer bottlenecks for buyers and more environmentally-friendly offices like our new Caledonian lettings office.