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Rob King

Rob King on finding your niche

By Rob King

Founder, King Property

Since the establishment of his business King Property as a single buy to let scheme 15 years ago, Rob King has organically grown his company in the Southampton area through a successful and niche business strategy of converting commercial developments into residential properties.

He shares his passion and experiences in the property market with others through his dedicated mentoring work, enthusiastically championing how property investment can help achieve a work-life balance and how focusing on your specialist strengths is the secret to success.

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What inspired your niche approach to property development?

I like to plough my own path and make my own decisions but my approach is always research based, and quite risk averse. We outsource everything we can, to be as focused as we can on the tightly defined niche that we understand around taking office buildings and turning them into high quality residential apartments, and buying and holding blocks of flats for rental. We only do two things; we do both of them really well and we don't really stray from that path.

Focusing on one particular course, having a niche and finding a thing that you’re good at, is really important in anything, but particularly in business.

Talk to us about your work as a mentor.

I'm hugely passionate about property investing, it has changed my life and enabled me to have a more balanced set of priorities and I want to share that. The idea of my mentoring is to help people to gain confidence and see from someone else who's done it before that it's actually possible. I get a real energy from doing it.

As part of my mentoring, I'm launching a property meeting to bring new and existing investors together. I want to reach as many investors as possible to give them the knowledge, tools, connections and confidence to get going or grow because it’s simple but it’s not easy. We’re going to hold it at the Old Bond Store which is an intriguingly beautiful property with the right mix of relaxed and friendly, but still a professional environment.

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"Focusing on one particular course, having a niche and finding a thing that you’re good at, is really important in anything, but particularly in business."

As someone who has an intrinsic understanding of property you must have an appreciation for Southampton’s heritage buildings?

Absolutely, because of Southampton’s history with the bombing in the war, we need to celebrate the buildings that avoided the damage. The Old Bond Store is part of that heritage, it has modernised the space yet retained its soul.  Finding the building, and starting to use it, is shaping how I’m planning to work differently because I can make use of that space.

As an experienced developer, what advice would you give to first-time investors?

Take your time and go slow. Don’t go too big too quickly. But do take the plunge.

What is an essential skill in managing property?

In managing property development: I would say an appreciation of risk, but an ability to analyse it and go for it.

In managing properties and being a landlord: patience, an understanding of people, and a sense of being realistic because things will go wrong. Having a human element and making sure that you treat your tenants well.

What are you working on right now?

We’ve learnt lessons about exactly how niche we can be and I’ve made some changes at the beginning of 2020.  We’re going to be even more focused and more niche, so, do fewer projects, but probably some bigger projects as well.

Who is your inspiration?

Thousands, but one that’s very niche in my industry is Sam Zell, he’s written a book called: Am I Being Too Subtle? He is the most successful property investor developer in the world.

"The Old Bond Store is a really intriguing part of Southampton’s history, we need to celebrate the city’s buildings that are part of its heritage. It’s a modern space that has retained its soul."

Founder, King Property