Many entrepreneurs often go through some tough times before they succeed and property is no different from many other business activities. This was emphasised to me once again when I met up Ansar Ali at his Brentwood office just a few weeks after he had won a prestigious award for a property deal that he and his business partner Zina Soltana had put together in their local town centre.
"I realised some years ago that making money from property investing would be a good thing but I have had a few ups and downs along the way," Ansar explains. "My first involvement was back in 2002 when I was working as a mortgage broker and at that time it was difficult to get finance for investment if you were not experienced. Thankfully my father had a helpful bank manager and he helped me to get going in property. I then started doing some direct marketing around Thurrock but then ventured into Stepney in east London and walked the streets myself putting leaflets through doors. One day I was walking down a street and came across a guy fixing a motorcycle who invited me into his house when he realised what the service was that I was then offering to house-owners who needed an urgent sale.
"This was a freehold house in Stepney which is quite rare. The property was in a very poor state and this perhaps was one of the main reasons why the local agents had not been able to sell it on the open market at that time (early 2004). We agreed a sale price on the same day and I subsequently made a good profit on the re-sale after refurbishing it. I was just about to get married so needed the money and perhaps was more incentivised than previously. In hindsight I should never have sold it as values have rocketed upwards in that area in the last 12 years, however that deal gave me the cashflow to move onwards.