Britain's Dream Homes' star Rhodri Owen shares his passion for property

Date:

Friday 24th August 2012

While for many it’s a dream job, sometimes Rhodri Owen ponders whether he made the right career choice by opting to be a TV presenter. Don’t get me wrong, the 39-year old from Swansea loves the variety of his job - he has done everything from travelling all over Europe and beyond on Wish You Were Here? to investigating cold calling on Bafta-winning consumer show X-Ray. However property has long been his all-consuming passion and his family currently own seven homes scattered across the UK. Now living between Chiswick, West London, and Cowbridge, 20 miles outside of Cardiff, Rhodri sometimes dreams about setting up his own up-market estate agency or dedicating his time completely to development. Speaking exclusively to Laurna Robertson from whathouse.co.uk, the husband of TV presenter Lucy Owen said: “I’m completely obsessed with property and I normally know about every property for sale within a 20-mile radius. “ Sometimes I think I should have focused my career in the property industry. I would love to have an up-market estate agency where I could spend all day scoping out the best properties or really focus on the development side of things. “

Where did your passion for property begin?

I’m not sure to be honest. When I was younger my parents moved around a lot so I never really got that fixed feeling of home. We had various houses but I never had a childhood
home. I think that experience means I have it in me to move around and normally after
two years I get the urge to find somewhere new. My little boy Gabriel is four now and about to start school so I’m not allowed to move at the moment. I couldn’t not do anything property related, so we’ve been renovating instead.

What do you enjoy about developing?

I always like to work to a timescale and because I’m not very patient this is extremely important for when I’m developing. I also really like working with architects that allow you to put your own stamp on the property. Some of my friends have worked with architects that are very pushy with their ideas but I’ve always been lucky with the people I’ve had. I love feeling that I’ve got my put my own spin on a place. You either enjoy that kind of thing or you don’t.

What advice do you have for people interested in developing properties?

I’ve learned a lot of lessons over the years but one of the most important ones was from a massive project we took on against the advice of our financial advisor and family – an old manse. They said transforming it would require a bottomless pit of money but we decided to give it a go anyway. We realised after two years that they were right, but I don’t regret it as a learning experience. I’d also say that in the beginning we spent a lot of money putting the designer brand fittings and furnishings into our property. Over the years I’ve realized if you want to be a developer it’s about getting the look rather than buying the best brands. You can
often get the look you require for tens of thousands of pounds cheaper.

You’ve spent a lot of time working on older properties. Would you ever invest in a new home?

I’ve never owned a new home but one of my dreams would be to own a new home on a beach somewhere. I love what a lot of the housebuilders of new homes do with glass and materials - I’d love to have a house with walls of glass in the future.

How do you feel about new homes?

While I’ve spent a lot of time developing older properties I also love new homes. For me
the most important thing for a new-build is it’s location – that it doesn’t destroy the surroundings or detract from them. I also prefer new-builds that look modern and make a statement about now rather than trying

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