GILL OLIVER meets property expert Michelle Niziol who stars in a new Dragons Den-style show, shortly to hit our screens
SIX-FIGURE property deals combined with the glamour of television is a recipe for high-octane viewing. That’s the idea behind Sky TV’s new Property Elevator show – think Dragons Den meets The Apprentice but with more money at stake.
One of the stars of the glitzy new TV production is the Oxfordshire- based property expert, Michelle Niziol. As a property angel investor, she holds the power to make or break would-be developers’ fortunes.
She explained: “People come in and pitch, hoping we’ll invest in their property development project.”
And just in case you’re thinking the pitches aren’t real, think again.
Michelle pointed out: “It’s my own money going into these projects.”
Each of the episodes, filmed in Canary Wharf, in London’s Docklands, sees four candidates pitching for investment.
“That may not sound like many but when you need to find out absolutely everything about the investment, it’s a lot of work,” Michelle explained.
Her six fellow property angels are property gurus Simon Zutshi, John Howard, Steven Jacobs, Jatin Ondhia, Sandeep Puri and Nicholas Wallork.
“We must have about 200 years’ experience between us,” Michelle said.
Their bank of knowledge is invaluable, as the show is open to anyone, ranging from those who’ve given up their day jobs to get into property, through to people in the trade.
“We’ve got newbies, where it might be their first or second project but this is their first big development,” Michelle explained.
“If it’s a nice little project but there’s not a massive amount of profit in it, we advise them to go off and crowdfund or raise the capital themselves,” she said.
“The whole premise of the show is we get a chance to help them on their way.”
When it comes to risking her own cash, Michelle’s clear it has to be about profit.
“I’m more than happy to offer free advice to people starting out and doing the two-up, two-down but I was doing that 10-15 years ago. I want to be involved with six- figure-plus profit projects now – at the end of the day, all of us property angels are in it for the money.”
Canary Wharf is the setting for Property Elevator. Picture by Matthew Foulds
Candidates come from all over the UK and potential property developments can be anywhere and anything. These range from a studio flat someone’s thinking about buying, renovating and ‘flipping’, through to a 22-bedroom guest house in Blackpool which could be transformed into luxury apartments.
Michelle said: “My own personal investments are all in the south east but I’m interested in investing in other areas of the country. Property Elevator is a quick route to this, because I can bring my expertise to someone who’s already gone out and done the hard work of uncovering these gems.”
But prospective candidates need to do their homework, as she explained: “I’m a massive attention- to-detail person. I’ll quickly spot any flaws in their plan.”
It’s not just about the project, there’s a personal element, too.
She pointed out: “The candidates are real people who’ve written to the show because they can’t get financing themselves, or want advice and the safety of teaming up with someone who knows what they’re doing.”
“I’m not going to invest with someone I don’t feel I’d work well with, but you don’t have much time to make that decision when you’re on the show.”
She added: “Luckily, I’ve got good judgement when it comes to people.”
As for the project, the main question is: Is it feasible?
“Someone might reckon they’re going to make £250,000 at the end of the project but I can look at it and work out that’s impossible. As the owner of a letting agency, an estate agency and a mortgage broker, I’ve got experience in many fields and know my numbers, so I’m one of the toughest property angel investors.”
She added: “But when I do spot a good deal, it’s an incredibly exciting feeling.”