The monthly magazine providing news analysis and professional research for the discerning private investor/landlord

Investing With a Sea View

Kelly Lemon interviews Simon Harris about his South Coast investments

It’s refreshing and rather intriguing to meet a property investor that isn’t primarily focused on the bottom line but rather the aesthetics of a project. It’s even more refreshing to meet one that makes a profit doing so and has managed to combine high-end finishes that allow him to indulge in his creative tendencies. With less then four years experience Simon Harris has gone from a complete novice in property at the age of 50 to an established developer with a few developments under his belt and has just won ‘New Property Investor’ of the year at the 'Property Investor Awards' in London in December 2016. I am curious to know what triggered such a career change and how he was able to immerse himself in his chosen field.    

“Having been in the music business for the best part of 30 years I knew I wanted to take a step-back from the general full-on all encompassing environment that I had experienced for so long. Whilst being buried in a recording studio for months on end to put together a new album for someone was very fulfilling at times it got to the point that I wanted to look at getting into something else, not at the complete expense of being involved in music, but something that would give me an entirely new challenge from scratch. I wanted an area that I had some true personal interest in, rather than just setting up any kind of business for the sake of profit and the bottom line. In about 2012, I made the decision to reduce my music work in order to give me a good time to think about what I would like to do and to also give whatever the new journey needed in terms of time investment to give it a good chance of succeeding. When I made the decision to reduce my involvement in music, I had absolutely no clear idea about what I was specifically going to do in property, but I knew it had to be in property in some way.”

As part of his job in the music industry Simon travelled to various cities and it was during these trips his love affair with property started. “From my early twenties I just developed a real fascination for architecture in general. The interest was not educated at all but I just became interested in the nature of architecture in the context in which it found itself. I remember travelling to Barcelona in the early-90s and alongside the madness of the Gaudi structures and designs there was already a strong movement of more cutting edge, contemporary and minimalist modern architecture springing up throughout the city. From then on, with all the travelling I was doing I found myself generally looking upwards at buildings when I was walking around the streets of whatever city I ended up in. I would walk endlessly around the back streets and nooks and crannies of cities looking for interesting buildings. My interest in property was always based on the aesthetics rather than the business or bottom line. During all of this time I also gorged myself on the Grand Designs era and have put together a very extensive architectural library from all over the world, though I perhaps truly understand about 1% of what I see and read, but I know what I like.

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