TV presenter Laura Hamilton talks property renovation and her latest new build home
TV presenter Laura Hamilton has accomplished a great amount careerwise in 31 years - working her way up from a tea-making assistant she has become a wellknown face on the small screen through her work on A Place in the Sun and Daybreak and after coming second on Dancing On Ice in 2011. However, a personal achievement she is proud of, which also had a monetary reward for the Londoner who now lives in Surrey, was buying her first flat at the ageof 19. So proud in fact, she's kept it in the family.
She said: "I worked hard to save a deposit and it was before the property crash so it was a lot easier to get a mortgage then. My mum bought me a washing machine and my dad put down some carpet for me - I'm proud to say that was their only financial contribution to the place. At the time I was working as a floor manager on a shopping channel and then two months afterbuying the property, the channel went bust. I was panic stricken.
"Luckily my mum suggested coming to live at home and renting the property out. That way I was able to save enough to get another deposit and buy another property.
"I held onto it for four years before selling it to my brother at a discounted rate and he now rents it out. It's such a good little investment flat, and I'll always have a soft spot for it, that if he ever wanted to sell it I'd probably buy it off him. Although, he's likely not give me a discount back."
Since that first property, Laura has never stayed in a property for more than a year and a half without selling on. However, in her new home, she has a three-to-five year plan.
She said: "It is hard as you get attached to a property but I also know about the money I can make from it. Our current house is a bit different - it's the first place I've ever bought with anyone and when my husband and I got it he warned me about wanting to move on. Then we got it valued and he was like, ‘right, shall we put it on the market then'. I think he's beenbitten by the bug. We decided to stay here a while and I think I'm going to buy a little renovation project on the side. Plus I'll be helping my mum and dad sort out the new home they've just bought."
Laura and her insurance broker husband's latest home is an individual new-build home. They got it with a bit of luck and a bit of misfortune for the housebuilder who couldn't afford to finish the job.
She said: "When we bought it there was still a bit of work to do on the outside but the inside was complete. I loved that it was a one-off build and the standard of the finishes were high. If you're looking for a one-off new-build property with modern features, it's definitelyworth looking out for this kind of thing."
What are you currently working on?
I'm starring in Beat My Build on Channel 4. I've thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of it and have picked up a few tips along the way. Every episode is a stand alone where property developers go head to head to see who makes the biggest profit from their regeneration project. It's my first time being involved in a brand new commission and the subject matter isperfect for me as property development is one of my biggest passions. I've beengetting tips from our stars.
It takes a year to film a series from start to finish for this show and I really hope it's going to get a second series as it's been a lot of fun to film. It's the same kind of time for A Place In The Sun - we are on the road for nine months of the year.
Alongside presenting on A Place in the Sun, I also do entertainment presenting like Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge and occasional work for Daybreak.
Where did your passion for property start?
I've developed property since I was 19 and from about 15 or 16 I've always had this thing in my head that I wanted to get onto the property ladder as young as I could. While other kids had focussed on going to university, that was the focus for me. I've got a great relationship with my family so it wasn't about leaving home. I'm lucky that I've made a career out of TV presenting but I could have equally have focussed my career on property development.
In the past, when I would go through periods of not having work, I would focus my energies on working on my latest property. Being able to renovate property and getting stuck into something else was important for me - it was a good side career. When I'm notworking, I'm shopping for interior bits and pieces (don't miss Laura's five favourite interior shops in next month's magazine) or doing some work on whichever house project I'm working on. I've always got to have something on the go.