Former police station helps mum-of-two unlock new career as property developer

Nicola Hargreaves

 A MUM-of-two who has started a new career as a property developer during the pandemic has completed her biggest project to date.

Nicola Hargreaves has converted a former derelict police station in the Ayrshire village of Auchinleck to a comfortable four-bed family home, which is now on the market with Oakhouse estate agents. It is the second project for the former business manager who previously renovated a two-bed maisonette in Darvel, and who now plans to move to bigger things including an exciting plan for an aparthotel.

Nicola spent six years as operations director of a diners’ club before giving birth to twin girls and moving to Ayrshire in 2019 to be close to husband David’s family. After taking a few months out to settle in, she found it difficult to re-enter the jobs market and began to consider other options.

She and David, a truck driver, had previously lived in Lancashire, where they had bought and fixed up two houses in their spare time – one which they sold and another which became their family home. Inspired by that experience, she began to research opportunities in property and in early 2020 she joined Sourced Franchise, which provides training and support for property entrepreneurs along with access to funding.

Through Sourced, she raised funding to buy and renovate first the Darvel and then the Auchinleck property, both of which were off-market deals that she had found herself. The old police station had been empty for around two decades. “I had been driving past it for ten years on the way to David’s mum’s and thought it would be a great conversion project,” Nicola explained.

“I asked around and discovered the owner was living in England and had planned to convert it but not got round to it. I made her an offer and acquired the property using  an option agreement, on the condition that I got planning permission. I wouldn’t have known how to do any of this without Sourced.”

Thanks to Sourced Franchise, Nicola has also built contacts with property investors. In addition to the two projects she has completed herself, she has also identified four other properties suitable for conversion and traded them on to investors, earning sourcing fees in the process. She is now working with one of the investors to build a portfolio of serviced accommodation properties and they also have plans for an aparthotel. 

Nicola said: “I’ve always enjoyed doing up properties and it’s a business I can run from home while raising a family. However, becoming a professional developer requires a whole new skillset. The training I’ve received from Sourced and the contacts I’ve made have been invaluable in helping me to get this far and identify new opportunities for the future.”

Stephen Moss, Sourced Managing Director and founder, commented: “The pandemic has caused many people to rethink their career options while at the same time, the move to home working, the exodus from the cities and changes on the high street are opening up new opportunities in the property market. Sourced helps entrepreneurs choose the right strategy and provides full support to pursue their new career.”

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