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Investing in Property: advice from the experts

James Rippon & Chopzilla

James describes Cadillac Kings as “more like a brotherhood than a club.” It started in North America but has spread around the globe. It started because other Cadillac owners clubs turned their nose up at chopped (customised) cars and their owners.

James is now the vice president of Cadillac Kings’ UK Chapter. Soon after joining James sold his 1965 and bought Chopzilla, a 1968 Coup d’Ville, from America.

“It’s taken me two years of working on it every weekend to get it ready.” It looks really fabulous now, with Air Ride suspension, a bat wing air intake, a high lift cam, a custom exhaust, a lowered roof and a rebuilt dashboard decorated with bank notes from South America. James will be taking Chopzilla to the American Car Show in Yate on 6 June. He also plans to take it to Big Power Meet, the world’s largest car show, in 2022, driving to Sweden with ten other Cadillac Kings members.

“It’s an expensive hobby, but I can afford it because of the excellent property investments I made with the help of Fox & Fox Property.

They showed me how to get way more rent for my properties than any other agent could, and manage it for me, so I don’t need to worry.”


Tom Derrett and Eva Callaghan offer an insight into the current market and what clients can expect from agents Fox & Fox

TBM: How does investing in property compare with other forms of investment?

Property investment has consistently outperformed investing in stocks and shares over the last 50 years. It’s also safer because, while a company can cease to trade, properties rarely cease to exist. Many people also prefer property investment because it’s something that they can directly influence. You can’t add value to your share portfolio by spending your weekend repainting it, nor can you make decisions about which direction a company you invest in goes, but with property you can improve it’s value with your effort and you do get to make the decisions.

What can potential clients expect from Fox & Fox?

New clients can expect lots of good advice and a personal service. Just like other forms of investing, there
is much to learn about property. If you talk to us before you invest, we can help you to buy the right property to suit your requirements.

What’s your assessment of the current market for investment property in Bristol. Are there any sectors which are particularly buoyant or looking promising for the future?

The suburban house with a garden has made a massive resurgence during the last year of lockdowns as people, quite understandably, want their own outside space. Providing properties for social housing
is also a big thing now, and there are some amazing finance deals for those in the know who are happy to make inexpensive adaptions to their houses so they meet the more stringent standards of this type
of investing.

Has the pandemic had any significant effects on returns, either in terms of rents or capital growth?

I don’t think many people foresaw the effect of the stamp duty holiday on the housing market. It’s been an incredible year for the housing market with significant rises in the market everywhere except the city centre. Rental returns have grown significantly for houses with outdoor space, but equally fallen substantially for apartments in blocks. We’re also seeing institutions buying in the social housing sector as they see professionals as too risky in the age of lockdowns and a lack of job security. It’s topsyturvy all over, which is why people need to make sure they get the best advice before investing.

Case study

We recently helped an investor with a three bed house in an average Bristol neighbourhood get 50% more than market rent by letting it out to a social housing scheme. They pay a fixed rate per room, which works out much better than the market in rent in some areas of town. You just have to know where! The adaptations that our client had to make to the house were minimal. Things like handrails on the stairs, mains smoke alarms and thumbturn locks. All in all, his additional investment was less than £500, and he receives £6,000 per year extra in rent. He has no extra headaches because Fox & Fox Property fully manage the property, performing regular inspections and ensuring the property is kept up to legal, licensing and amenity standards at all times.

James has been into American cars all his life and made the decision to buy a Cadillac after a change in life five years ago made him rethink his priorities.

“Owning a Cadillac had always been on my bucket list.” Chopzilla is the second Cadillac he has owned. The first was a blue 1965. The president of Cadillac Kings, which is a Cadillac owners club for those who like to customise their cars, saw it at a car show and left a note on his car asking him to join.

Fox & Fox Property. Tel: 0117 2141411 foxandfoxproperty.co.uk