Gain an insight into the life of Jonathan Christie. A CEO with a deep-rooted passion for property
Here it is, the second in our series of ‘Meet-The-Team’ blogs. Basically a string of articles designed to give you a sneak peek into the personalities behind your property sale. You could call it our attempt at making the cash buying industry more personable, although we like to think of it as a breath of fresh air.
Besides selling your house is no laughing matter - it's your biggest asset after all. So being clued up on who you're selling it to is vital, just as it would be with an agent. Remember: USPs are nothing without the team to back them up! So what better way to show them off than go straight in the top and put our CEO and Co-founder, Jonathan Christie, in the spotlight
Now while Jonny is much like our COO David (a busy body who operates in the background), that doesn't mean he sits back with his feet up. Far from it. In fact, Jonny has a greater impact on your property sale than anyone else in the team, as he's the one who has the final say in whether we buy your property, or not. Plus, you can also find him voicing his opinion on the latest property-related issues through some of the industry's most prestigious publications.
Get to know our
resident gatekeeper CEO in record time by using the menu below...
- Who actually is Jonathan Christie?
- Jonny on The Property Buying Company
- The CEO life: Jonny's roots and life outside the office
- Jonny & the industry: where has Jonny been featured?
Jonny is just one member of our team. If you'd like to discover us all...
If someone would have told you that today you’d be the CEO of a property cash buyer, would you have believed them?
"From young I've always had a keen interest in property - I suppose you could call it a geeky fascination. So deep down I knew it'd be where I'd make my mark, but in all honesty, I never thought I'd be heading up the team at TPBC.
"As a kid, you'd often find me rifling through the Sunday papers, eyeing up all the pricy pads that were for sale in Central London. The prices used to astound me. £400,000 for a terrace in Mayfair! Thanks to inflation that doesn't seem like a lot, but at the time it really was; the same houses today are now going for £25 million! You'd also find me down the local estate agent, asking for all the details of any houses that caught my eye... I was aged 11. Looking back, it must have been pretty frustrating for them, wasting print ink on the fantasies of a young boy. Saying that though, they were always nice to my face. And as much as my passion for property was there, I kind of stumbled in to it as a career.
"At the time I was working in car sales at Ford Motor Group - a job I really enjoyed. I was quite successful at it too. In fact at one point I was No2 in the entire country! An achievement that was actually the start of my move towards property. You see, once word got out about my 'spurt of fame', a friend of mine who ran a property company (shan't say who), reached out and asked if I fancied switching industry. The property geek inside me took over - I said "yes".
"Not long after the career change I became senior manager and met my current business partner, and Co-CEO of The Property Buying Company, Karl McArdle. Pretty soon we'd put our heads together and said that if we were to run a property company, we've be able to do it better (no offence to my mysterious friend).
"So in 2012, we formed The Property Buying Company, and the rest is history."
Every businessman has a mantra – what’s yours?
"My mantra is just two words – "Be Better!"
"Throughout my time as CEO and indeed my working life I've come to realise that it doesn't pay to follow the crowd. Instead the way forward is to assess the competition, and innovate. In other words, beat them at their own game... and then some.
"Then again, part of me thinks it's quite amusing - at least it confirms we're moving in the right direction. How long before they replicate this 'Meet The Team' blog? We give it a couple of months."
Want to know how we compare to the competition? You're a click away...
How do you ensure that you keep on growing and remain one step ahead of the competition?
"As a person, I'd say the key to being ahead of the curb is self-development. You can never stop learning as it's this which fuels both your passion and ambition. Exactly why it's one of the key attributes we look for when hunting for new talent, as well as something we encourage all our team to strive for too... if you don't know - ask.
"It's also the reason behind how we run our business: as a democracy not a dictatorship. We actively encourage the team to speak out and come forward with new ideas. Every idea is considered because after all, there's no such thing as a bad idea. Once gathered, we take all of these ideas into consideration when making changes and business decisions, despite how outlandish they may seem. In fact, some of the most outlandish have proven to be the best!"
What’s been the proudest moment for you as CEO? Has anything in particular made you blush?
"My proudest moment as CEO is the way we handled the Covid pandemic, and managed to make it so everyone in the company was able to keep their job.
"However, when we realised the true severity of the crisis back in February/March of 2020, we were unsure as to whether we'd be able to maintain full operations - I'm pretty sure most companies at the time were in the same boat. I'll never forget the day we had that chat with the team, telling them how we'd do everything in our power to ensure there'd be no casualties; letting team members go was something none of us wanted to do.
"But, thanks to some smart choices, I'm proud to say that not one team member left due to Covid. In fact, we started recruiting, as the crisis turned us into a stronger and more adaptable company. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all the team for their hard work and support during the pandemic. Without your continued commitment, TPBC wouldn't be where it is today."
Looking at TPBC HQ, it seems the wellbeing of your staff is top priority. Why is TPBC such a great place to work?
"It was in 2019 that we moved to our state-of-the-art HQ in Wetherby near Leeds. When designing the office, making it an exciting and vibrant place to work was key. Our ambition was to be vibrant forward-facing company, so it only made sense to have offices that reflect this. Do so and we'd likely attract that type of workforce, which I'm glad to say, we have.
"We firmly believe that The Property Buying Company is one of the best places to work in the UK. In fact, the wellbeing of our staff is one of our top priorities and something we do not scrimp on. Our vibrant offices are just the tip of the iceberg.
"Last year we took our offices on step further and added a state-of-the-art gymnasium, as a reward to the team for their hard work during the first and second lockdowns. Not only that but it's also hoped that the gym will encourage our team to remain both mentally and physically fit post Lockdown. A great driver of productivity, which at the same time saves the team the cost of gym membership too. A healthy, happy team has certainly worked wonders for our business performance, all of which gets passed on directly to the customer. Hence our rating on Trustpilot".
Want a peek inside TPBC HQ? Jonny talks you through the state-of-the-art office space below...
Our team are the reason we're industry leaders. Find out more about them...
Not everyone in the ‘Sell House Fast’ industry is legit. What makes TPBC a cash buyer you can trust?
"As we know all too well, the quick sale industry used to come with a strong stigma. Reason being, some of the unscrupulous firms that were operating in the industry back in the mid to late 2000’s. Something that me and my Co-CEO, Karl, wanted to put a stop to. Our vision was to become the shining light of the industry and change the perception of quick house sale companies. Perhaps even make it a mainstream sales method.
"So with The Property Buying Company, we set out to create a viable and trusted alternative, which would directly rival the likes of auctions and estate agents. As a company we're registered with The Property Ombudsman, just like every good estate agent, and we're also a founding member of the National Association of Property Buyers. So rest assured you can be confident that we are a genuine cash buyer, who's been purchasing properties under the TPBC name for well over 9 years. In those years we've spent over £110 million of our own cash purchasing properties!
"Not only that but we're one of the only cash buying companies who has regional managers to come out to your home and sit down with you face to face. Now what with Covid that may be slightly more difficult, but my point here is that we're not a faceless company. We're genuine people, with genuine funds, who genuinly care."
Where do you see TPBC going in the future?
"The future of TPBC looks exciting!
"Already we've added our own in-house estate agency, as well a side to the business that caters for investors. Aside from this we also have plans to expand the business even further into rental management and even property funding too, so you could say we're one to watch.
"Also, in the pipeline we have an online media news outlet, which over the past couple of months especially, has seen a surge in growth, which we hope will help us better relate to the industry. And that's the thing - at TPBC we're not just out to become a cash buyer. Our aim is to become a property solutions company, that's directly connected to the industry. The ultimate goal is to become a PLC."
Want to know more about the team behind your property sale?
Jonny, where did you grow up? Are you a Yorkshireman through and though?
"I am indeed - Yorkshire born and bred. My life began over in the West, Leeds to be specific, which if I'm honest isn't isn't really an area I've strayed too far from. Yes, just like us all I'm partial to the odd holiday, but I've never had the desire to move away from Leeds, even after 3 years at Manchester University.
"The reason behind my fascination with Leeds is simple - everything is on your doorstep. You have a vibrant city centre that's perfect for shopping, restaurants and nightlife, the lot. Then if you stray towards the outskirts, you've access to some of the best countryside in the UK. For me it is the perfect mix!"
Property aside, what else do you get up to outside of work?
"At the moment, cycling is something I'm enjoying sinking my teeth into. It's fast paced, energetic and a great way to de-stress after a long day's work. Ironically, I've always moaned about cyclists on the roads, cliaming that they clogg up traffic and are a general neusaance. But now, I'm one of them, although you won't catch me in lyrcra - I'm not that hardcore.
"Being a Leeds lad, I've also got a habit of watching virtually any football game that's starring Leeds United. It's been great to see them back in the Premier League after so many years of them languishing down below. One thing I can't wait to do is to get back to Elland Road and sample that electric atmosphere once again! At the time of writing this blog, I'm not 100% sure when that will be, but hopefully it's soon!"
Out of everywhere you've been on a mini break, which has been your favourite and why?
"This is a tricky one. If I had to pick somewhere in the UK it'd be up in Cumbria. Some of our friends have a farm overlooking the Eden Valley called Tottersgill Farm; a place of natural beauty which has since become our happy place. When me and the family are in need of an escape, this is where we'll go, as there's a vast assortment of things to do, be you an adult or a child. My two are particularly fond of the animals on the farm.
"However, if I had the whole world to choose, then it'd be a slightly different story. In fact, I'd be on that plane faster than you can say 'jetsetter'. Where that plane would be heading is the Maldives - heaven on earth if you ask me. It was here that me and my wife went on our honeymoon and in all honesty, where I think is the most beautiful place on Earth!
"It was our ten-year anniversary last year and we had planned to go back, but what with Covid we never got the chance. Fingers crossed in 2021 we can make up for it."
As mentioned earlier, Jonny isn't one to keep his views on the industry silent. Instead he'd rather use them to educate and inform others, who perhaps have less knowledge of the industry than he does. So here's just a few examples of where he's been featured...
- Jonny discusses the Brexit deal over on PropertyWire
- He also touches on how property sales are becoming less personable over on PropertyWire & the Property Investor Post.
Interested by Jonny's story? You can find out more about our team below...