Campion Homes Champions the Best of Scottish Living

Posted 6 March 2019 by Lizzie Leigh

From gold medallist to managing director, Susan Jackson speaks exclusively to WhatHouse? about Campion Homes...

Susan Jackson, managing director of Campion Homes and Commonwealth Games gold medallist, tells us how her high performance sporting background was the perfect training ground for her current role.

Please tell us about your role as joint Managing Director of Campion Homes.  

I was appointed to the position of joint managing director of Campion Homes in 2017, along with my counterpart Dougie Herd. I come from a finance background, whilst Dougie’s expertise is construction, so together we form a strong leadership team and are both able to offer insight and guidance to steer the company in the right direction.

I personally lead the finance, HR and IT elements of the business, as well as supporting the work of our land search and acquisition team. I also work closely with our sales team to support the communications and marketing aspect of the business.

It might sound clichéd, but truly no two days are the same at Campion Homes – there’s always something new to learn, or a new person to meet, so it’s a highly rewarding role.

Has your experience of competing (and winning gold) in target shooting at the Commonwealth Games provided you with useful transferable skills in the property industry? 

Yes, without a doubt. So many of the skills that I honed throughout my 10-year involvement in high performance sport are extremely transferrable and definitely support me in my role at Campion Homes. 

Some key learnings that I took from my sporting days and apply to my role today include the importance of planning and preparation to achieve high performance, resilience and the ability to adapt when things don’t go to plan.   

How do you feel that Campion Homes sets itself apart from other developers?

As a relatively small player in the market we pride ourselves on the personal service we can offer our customers in both the private and affordable housing divisions. Our senior team works closely with customers throughout all stages of the sales and build process. 

One of the over-riding drivers in our business is the importance of quality and choice -   allowing our private housing clients to make extensive individual, personal choices about their home is one of our key differentiators.

This culture of the importance of quality is driven throughout Campion Homes - we expect it to be embraced by all staff whatever their role.  This ultimately means we produce high quality homes that we are proud to hand over to all our clients. 

How do you look after a Campion buyer? 

We have a dedicated customer journey in place that allows us to support our clients throughout every stage of the buyer’s journey. From viewing a new home to reserving, concluding missives, selecting the specification of finish, to the much-awaited occupation date and beyond, our service is friendly and helpful, but above all, informative.  

Both our sales and construction teams aim to make the process as pleasant as possible for all of our customers. We leave no stone unturned in offering bespoke choices to ensure that their new home is as individual as they are.

After buyers move into their new home, we provide an extended after-sale service to ensure that customers can enjoy their new home to the full.

How does Campion Homes consider the impact of new schemes and look to engage with local communities?  

We recognise that a huge part of giving our homeowners a fantastic place to live is improving the lives of the people around them.  We work closely with local communities through the planning process to ensure that where possible we can integrate their aspirations into our development designs. 

Through our partnerships with Registered Social Landlords (RSLs), we support the Scottish Government requirement of community benefits being delivered through our contracts. The creation of employment and training opportunities provides a positive economic impact within the communities where we operate. 

We also support the involvement of local schools to increase awareness of modern house design and future career choices.  As an example, we have given the pupils of Inverkeithing Primary School the opportunity to discover more about the construction industry and to inspire them to take pride in their community. This comes as part of a programme of events which include design workshops, site visits and health and safety talks. 

What are the most exciting developments you are working on in 2019? 

We are looking forward to continuing to build at our existing developments at Law View, Leven and Bryony Meadow, Dairsie.  Both sites will commence new phases in 2019 which will bring more house types into production, presenting more choice for our clients. 

We have just completed the refit of our beautiful Choices Suite, where our purchasers can choose from an extensive array of options – we’re really looking forward to providing our clients with the opportunity to make even more individual choices for their homes. 

And of course, we are constantly working on our next developments and bringing them forward for planning.  We aim to have two new private development sites through planning and into production by the end of 2019 together with a number of developments for our RSL clients. 

Is there a typical 'type' of buyer these homes are likely to appeal to? 

Our product portfolio across our existing two private developments is deliberately diverse – we like to ensure that our developments will have broad appeal to different demographics and people who are at different stages of their home buying experience. 

That said, we always pay close attention to the market dynamics as we plan our developments and ensure that we are responding to market demand appropriately. 

Many of our properties at Law View, Leven would be suitable for first time buyers as well as families looking to upsize.  Their location, ease of accessibility to the beach and local town, as well as their strong links to major cities like Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee make them appealing. This development has a beautifully designed layout, striking the right balance between sociable and personal space.

The two developments that we are currently developing planning applications for will have homes suitable for first-time buyers including Help to Buy opportunities, as well as other houses ranging in price and size to accommodate varying purchaser situations.

We also are keen to build bungalows wherever possible - they have a huge appeal within our markets. Our bungalows in Bryony Meadow, Dairsie, have seen interest from a wide range of buyers – from families to downsizers, and those simply wanting to enjoy the peace of the Fife countryside whilst being only seven miles away from stunning St Andrews.

Do you see any particular lifestyle trends becoming more popular within your residential schemes?

Yes absolutely – we are seeing more call for environmentally-friendly housing. In line with building regulations, our latest development embraces renewable Air Source Heat Pumps to heat both the radiators and the hot water within the properties. We see this as a trend going forward and are delighted to offer an environmentally friendly specification to our purchasers.

As more families are seeking ways of encouraging their children to play away from their devices, we’re seeing more call for open spaces to promote time spent outdoors. Our layouts encourage residents to integrate within the development by creating open spaces where children can play together, and residents can enjoy and participate in a community spirit.

Our development layouts also encourage footpath links to school, shops and local amenities to allow our purchasers to mix with existing homeowners. All of our new developments have connectivity with the surrounding location so that new communities can integrate with the existing population.

Are there certain properties outperforming others in terms of sales at the moment? 

We are seeing significant interest in our beautiful bungalows at Dairsie in North-East Fife. The proximity to St Andrews as well as the options available and, of course, the popularity of bungalows – is proving to be a great combination.

Do you offer incentives to buyers?

We are currently offering Early Bird reservations at our larger development in Leven, Law View.  We recognise that there is real interest in many of the properties that are still to be built at this location and we believe that giving future clients some certainty over product choice is important to allow them to plan accordingly. 

We are offering Help to Buy (Scotland) on selected homes at Law View and more will be available when we release the next phase at this development.

We are also offering an Assisted Move package at Law View which is proving to be very popular with clients.  We take care of selling our buyers’ homes, arranging an independent valuation, appointing a surveyor and estate agent. In addition, we cover the marketing, estate agency and home report fees. We find that this provides our clients with much more security over the selling process of their existing properties, allowing them to commit to the big step of moving to a new home.

What are your predictions for the Scottish housing market over the next 12 months? 

In line with many other areas of the economy, the uncertainties over Brexit are a cause for concern in the Scottish housing market.  As an industry we rely on sufficient levels of consumer confidence for buyers to be willing and able to commit to a house move or first-time house purchase. 

However, as we have seen from recent industry reports, there is debate over how Brexit will continue to affect the housing market over the next 12 months. Until we see how the economy will react to Brexit, it is hard to make a concrete prediction over the direction the market will take.

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