Scarlette and Stuart Douglas are the brother and sister property experts who are back on our screens with 'Flipping Fast', which they’ll be co-hosting alongside property expert George Clarke. Here, they chat to us about the show, how they got into property and offer some advice for buyers and sellers in the current market.
Many thanks for taking the time to chat to me. We’ve seen you both on Channel 4’s ‘Flipping Fast’, can you tell me a little bit more about the show.
It’s a brilliant competitive format where 6 teams are given £100,000 to flip as many properties as possible in a year, whoever makes the most profit gets to keep the £100,000. It may sound easy, but to buy and refurbish properties for £100,000 or less is no mean feat, especially as, if they go over, they get disqualified. The great thing about this show is, each team gets to keep the profit they make and so they’re all winners to a certain degree!
What, or who, got you interested in property?
Stuart got me (Scarlette) into property around 10 years ago. He had been, unintentionally so, flipping properties from around the age of 21, and when I was 24 he took me under his wing and taught me the ropes. We’ve been working together in property ever since and have found a strategy that works for us. I focus on the interior design and decorating and Stuart on the reconfiguration of properties.
At what stage did you realise that you could make a career out of what you do?
I never expected property to be my way into presenting but they always say you need a USP, a unique selling point, to stand you out from the rest. Having property as my expertise was a perfect way to enter into the industry and when I first got A Place in the Sun (seven years ago) thanks to that experience, I knew it was something I wanted to continue doing. Stuart has always been a great personality and has always been knowledgeable in property, so the two married perfectly for him and now here we are with two shows together!
What’s the best bit of advice you have received when starting out in the property business?
Do not get emotionally attached and do your research. These are vital nuggets of gold that will really help you become successful in property. By getting attached, you can end up overspending, taking longer than necessary on a renovation and making decisions based on heart rather than head so by being able to keep emotion out of it, you’ll do much better. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. If you don’t research a property, the area it’s in, the ceiling price on a road etc etc, you could end up losing out on any potential profit you were hoping to make and could even end up making a loss. You must research as much as possible to stop any nasty surprises popping up!
"Do not get emotionally attached and do your research. These are vital nuggets of gold that will really help you become successful in property."
And what advice would you give someone starting out in the current market today?
It would definitely be to research as much as possible and look for a mentor. There are so many people that have been there, done that and worn the whole wardrobe and it’s best to learn from their mistakes so the same ones don’t have to be made again. Better to be further ahead because of what someone else has does wrong, than be behind because you’ve not got the knowledge to know how to do it right.
How much has the market changed since you first started out, and what key fundamentals do you still swear by?
Prices really have risen a lot since we first started out in property. Finding a good deal isn’t as easy as it once was, that’s not to say they’re not still there, it just means you have to work harder to find one. Fundamentals we always swear by and always will be to research, research, research, you never can do enough!
If you had the opportunity to change any current legislation/housing policy to help buyers, renters and sellers, what would it be and why?
The stamp duty holiday proved to be very helpful and allowed homebuyers to budget without the worry of factoring in stamp duty fees. If there could be a rethink into stamp duty land tax rates (SDLT) I'm sure this could benefit homebuyers again. For example, a reduction in the amount of tax for each of the current property value brackets, or even a larger property value that is exempt of SDTR. Of course, this is out of my control, but I'm an advocate of these types of discussions starting.
For those considering buying abroad, are there any tips or advice you can offer them?
Find a place you love where you really are happy to keep returning to. Investing in another country comes with its pros and cons and rules and regulations are a lot different to our own. Remember, now we are no longer in Europe, we can only spend 90 out of 180 days in the Schengen area, so you need to consider how long you want to spend in your holiday home abroad if you choose to buy in Europe.
"For me any location can be classed as a 'hot spot' if you do your due diligence and stick to the mantra: research, research, research."
….and are there any ‘hot’ spots that are up and coming that investors should consider looking into?
Stuart: The market is always changing and a 'hot spot' can change from one month to another. The trick for me is not to try to buy in a 'hot spot', it's to buy a property that you can make 'hot' for the spot you've chosen! For me any location can be classed as a 'hot spot' if you do your due diligence and stick to the mantra: research, research, research. This gives you the best chance of buying the right property at the right price, so the location becomes secondary. You can make a profit in any location if you buy sensibly and renovate within a pre-planned budget.
Finally, what does the rest of 2022 have in store for you?
We have our own show, ‘Worst House on the Street’ airing in September on Channel 4 where we help families turn their tired and uninspiring houses into beautiful homes. Stuart is part of a new Channel 4 show, ‘Keys to a Fortune’ and I have my own show called My Dream Derelict Home in the Sun airing in October on HGTV. We are currently working on our own property podcast too and are hoping to get back to flipping properties either later this year or early next!
f you’d like to know more about Scarlette and Stuart Douglas, please check out their IG account @scarandstu.