The Sheldon Bosley Knight residential sales department has grown for the sixth month in a row thanks to the arrival of Ian Watts who joins following the acquisition of Wigwam in Banbury.
Ian has worked in the industry for 20 years, but he’s not your typical estate agent. For a start he came to the job via a slightly unconventional route. Without any industry experience or qualifications, he joined an agency in Archway, north London in 2003 after a friend suggested he get a job there. He’d just come back from two years travelling around the world, had met his future wife and wanted to settle down, so decided to give it a go. It was a meeting of minds and within days he knew he’d found his vocation.
Since then, he’s worked hard, gained his qualifications escaped the London property market for a move to Warwick, where he lives with his wife and their two children.
Following our acquisition of Wigwam earlier this month, we are delighted he has chosen to join the SBK family as residential sales manager for Banbury, sharing his vast knowledge, experience and expertise with our already excellent sales teams.
How did you get into the property industry and what was your first job?
I’d just come back from two years travelling around the world and needed a job. A friend was working as an estate agent for Bairstow Eves in Archway, north London and suggested I try it out. I’d never considered it before but was willing to give it a go as my friend really enjoyed it. Initially it was purely residential sales and in those days in London it was incredibly hard and fast paced but really good fun and I realised this is what I wanted to do. I learned on the job as I’d had no prior experience. Over the years I have been able to develop my skills and manage staff and cover the lettings side of the business as well.
What does your job entail?
At Wigwam I am responsible for residential sales and lettings in Banbury. Coming to SBK I’ll be focusing purely on residential sales. My day-to-day role will be to get more properties on the market, meeting clients and expanding the business in new areas. That’s going to be really exciting and that’s a big thing as SBK doesn’t have a presence in Banbury at the moment, so I have got a chance to grow the business here which is huge. People know me in Banbury, and now I’ve got the big SBK force behind me the possibilities are endless and that’s really exciting.
What qualifications do you need to do your job?
When I started I had none! I’d left school at 16, realised I’d never play football for Arsenal and instead went to work for a bank in Banbury where I’d grown up. After a few years I worked for a telecoms company but had never even considered estate agency before. I’ve now got all my qualifications but essentially I learned on the job which was what you did back then. I was always so busy we weren’t even given a computer to work with but just told what to do and had to get on with it.
Why did you move from London to the Midlands?
I worked for Bairstow Eves for three years and really enjoyed it. However, London is a crazy place and I felt I couldn’t breathe! I also couldn’t afford to buy a house in London and my wife and I wanted to settle down so we decided to move. I grew up in Banbury so I knew the area and we ended up in Warwick. I approached a few agents and Wigwam gave me a job which I had between 2006 and 2012 before moving to Peter Clarke. In 2018 I went back to Wigwam. I have no regrets about leaving London, but it gave me a really good grounding.
What did you do before you worked in property?
I have worked in a variety of jobs since leaving school. I worked while I was travelling – I was a kayak guide on a lake in New Zealand, I worked with a travelling fair around Western Australia, I was also a removal man and worked for various charities, so quite a variety!
What are you most looking forward to about working at SBK?
I’m really excited about coming to SBK. I’ve been in the business a long time so I can bring lots of experience and expertise plus all the local knowledge about the area to the role. I was born and brought up in Banbury so know the area really well – I can advise families on which area would suit them in terms of schools, or what area is good for young people or those who are looking to downsize. I can bring all this experience to SBK and am excited about being able to grow the SBK business here in Banbury.
What motivates you to work hard?
The challenge of the job, driving a business forward and seeing results as well as helping people to buy and sell property.
What have been your career highlights?
There have been many highlights but really the best ones are where I’ve supported people through the buying or selling process – particularly those in awkward or stressful situations, such as those who are selling a much-loved family home. Being able to take them through that process, which is hugely emotional, and help them get to the next phase in their lives and enabling them to let go but in a positive way, that’s the best bit about this job and what it’s all about.
Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by those who push the boundaries, don’t give up and are resilient in the face of adversity. People being brave, taking chances and not giving up, seeing chances and taking them.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Always tell the truth. If you don’t know something don’t make up the answer. If you tell the truth people can’t knock you and they will respect you more for being honest. The other life lesson is don’t wear jewellery in the dodgy part of town!
What do you do in your spare time?
I try and squeeze as much out of life as possible. I don’t have many moments of down time. I have a wife and two kids who keep me busy and we pack a lot into our lives. We are all quite sporty – my passions are running, golf and fly fishing – but I also love travel. While I was on my two-year travels, I met my wife in Auckland, New Zealand as she was also travelling and we visited Vietnam, Thailand, China, America and Australia.
As a keen traveller is there anywhere in the world you’d like to visit or return to?
South America, specifically Argentina, Chile and Peru are all on my bucket list. I’d go back to New Zealand as I loved it out there. It’s beautiful. My son and I have just come back from a dads n’ lads camping trip in North Wales with some mates, the scenery was stunning – anything with lakes, mountains and rivers – does it for me.
What are your goals for the future?
To continue to work hard, grow the SBK business in Banbury and be the best I can be.