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David Price has built up a £19m portfolio since buying his first terraced house eight years ago.
The 32-year-old developed his business after spending a hard-earned £6,000 savings pot to get onto the property ladder.
Now he’s turned to social media to generate interest and excitement over his latest development in Lancashire, and admits the online approach has “completely changed the game”.
Edgewater Oaks, on the banks of Lancaster Canal near Preston, is being developed by his company 10ACIA and features five-bedroom detached homes costing around £850,000.
All units were sold during a period when UK business, and the property sector in particular, was stuck in limbo due to the coronavirus pandemic.
David said: “We’ve been incredibly lucky. I do not know of any other developer who sold many properties during that time and to have managed £5m through Instagram and direct messages has been phenomenal. It’s been achieved by documenting the journey and level of design obsession we go to.”
David’s approach is to use the Instagram Stories feature to upload regular video content, detailing all the aspects of the building process.
He added: “It’s only a small development in Preston, but it’s getting a great deal of attention. People in Nottingham, London, Birmingham and Manchester know about this site – that would not ordinarily be the case.
“I post Instagram Stories every few days, covering topics such as where the development process is up to and how we source our materials.
“That can even involve travelling to factories in Spain to see first-hand how the kitchens are produced and the quality control they’ve got in place.
“We go to quarries to see how they are extracting the stonework that will be used.
“You become obsessed with the details and I think telling that story has engaged people because, whether it’s 18 year olds wanting to start a business through to retired couples looking to invest, people want to understand how properties are put together.”
David started with £6,000 and a terraced house in Preston, near to where he grew up.
He had harboured a desire from an early age to get into the property business, although his colourful CV also includes flying helicopters and working as a professional pianist.
The Edgewater Oaks development is a private gated community featuring in-built technology such as a smart home system, automatic entrance and in-built surround sound speakers.
Located near the village of Cottam, west of Preston, it is eight minutes’ drive from the M6, 40 minutes north of Manchester and 40 minutes south of the Lake District.
David said: “It’s completely serendipitous how we’ve managed to sell through social media and I create the Instagram Stories just because I love doing it.
“We’re obsessed with what we do and a by-product of that is the following is growing significantly.
“Our Rightmove stats, people clicking through from Instagram, are 800 per cent higher than other properties in the area, which is ridiculous.
“Instagram and social media have completely changed the game for us.”
Figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed house transactions in England increased by 28 per cent in May and June this year, after estate agents were allowed to reopen following the strictest of the Government lockdown measures.
But despite the upturn, the numbers were still 37% below year-on-year comparisons.
David believes his passion and personal touch are also helping drive interest and sales.
He said: “I do the viewings myself because I’m on site all day.
“I have a passion for the product and buyers are in a unique position to be able to contact the managing director of a multi-million pound company directly through Instagram.
“People generally think property developers are blokes in their mid 50s who are only in it for the money and don’t care about the product.
“I want to change that perception.”
His different spin on the sector also includes an innovative business model which involves leaving equity in the property for the next buyer.
David said: “This means it sells instantly and off-plan.
"Everything we’ve done previously has sold very quickly and it also helps us build the brand, because it’s an unusual approach and therefore a talking point.”
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