The LCN Interview: Tom Jewell

We are delighted to feature an interview with Tom Jewell, Managing Director of a new estate agency called The Home Cloud. Prior to launching The Home Cloud, Tom had six seasons as a professional cricketer with Surrey County Cricket Club.

Why did you decide to set up The Home Cloud?
I set up The Home Cloud in order to give people more convenience and transparency when selling or letting their property. Whilst working in the industry and buying and selling property myself, I felt too that too many people were left in the dark with progress, fees weren’t justified and in our modern society I knew that there had to be a better way to broker property transactions. It took me the best part of 12 months to create The Home Cloud concept, using the best of online technology and mixing it with a responsive face to face customer experience. We are now able to keep busy customers up to speed on progress 24/7 via their own online portal on our website whilst saving them up to 50% on their estate agent fees by reducing our office overheads and building a dedicated marketing team that concentrates on giving their property maximum exposure.

How have you found the transition from your sporting career to your current business activities?
Professional sport and business have many similarities and transitioning between the two has been a fairly natural process for me. During the last 3 years of my playing career I gained experience in a number of different property companies which made the switch slightly easier. Obviously I will miss playing cricket, however moving into the commercial world came at the right time for me and I’ve been able to take all the things that I learnt whilst playing sport with me.

Who has been your most influential role model for your sporting and business career so far?
In my sporting career I never really had a particular role model, I just had great people around me who I trusted. Wherever there is success there are plenty of people who are willing to give their advice. The key for me was filtering that advice and working out what to take and what to ignore which stopped me being pulled in lots of different directions. In general my father has played a huge part in my career so far, his energy for business has rubbed off on me and he continues to be a solid sounding board.

What challenges do sportsmen and women face in managing their personal finances?
Most professional sportsmen and women, even if they are successful, have only a limited amount of time in which to make their money. They also reach their top career earnings at a relatively young age and then their earnings tail off, which is generally the reverse to most people. This means that how they manage their money during their sporting career is vital to ensuring that they have enough to finance their lives later down the road. We work with many professional athletes who want to invest some of their career earnings in property to ensure that they can continue to build wealth throughout their non-competing years.

What is special about the property investment opportunities in your ‘home patch’ of Surrey, Berkshire and Hampshire?
There are clearly a huge variety of factors that can make some areas more desirable to live than others. In recent years we have seen an influx of people being drawn to the allure of the counties of Surrey, Berkshire and Hampshire for five main reasons; value for money, transport links to airports, ports and London, great employment opportunities with modern IT and financial services businesses, quality of schools and access to areas of outstanding natural beauty. Due to these factors house prices in these counties over the last 12 months have gone up in value by 13.2% (in comparison with the north of the country which has grown by 4.3%).

What makes that area attractive for Chinese property investors?
A key reason is that the quality of education is so high. Ofsted rates over 80% of Surrey’s schools as either “outstanding” or “good” and as Linda Kemeny, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning, said: “These figures reinforce the fact that Surrey has some of the best state schools in the country”. In addition to this these counties also have some of the most highly regarded private schools. Charterhouse, Wellington, St Catherine’s, Bradfield and Winchester are just some of the schools in the area that offer unique and top class opportunities to their pupils. Most students will progress to further education and Oxford University is only a few miles from the Thames Valley in Berkshire. In addition to education the quality of life is probably as high as anywhere in the UK. It is safe, has access to all the services and amenities as London but can offer better value for money than property in the capital. Motorway access to London is superb, the M4, M3 and M40 all lead into the capital from the area and access to Heathrow is straight off the M4.

One of the reasons property in Surrey, Berkshire and Hampshire is such a good investment is because of the huge demand from those working and commuting into London on a daily basis. Living in London has become out of reach for many people as house prices in the capital have risen to such high levels. However moving into Surrey, Berkshire or Hampshire does not have to mean a complete change of job and lifestyle for those nervous about leaving their fond memories of London behind. Indeed, transport links in areas such as Guildford, Reading and Basingstoke could often mean less of a commute to work than those poor souls hacking their way through the London transport system on a daily basis.

In a movie of your life story, which actor would you like to play you?
My girlfriend has the hots for Channing Tatum, so I suppose I wouldn’t mind being played by him!

What do you do to relax?
Other than early morning visits to the gym, relaxing unfortunately hasn’t featured much in my life over the last 12 months, however I do get a chance on Sunday afternoons to get in front of the television and switch off before starting another week on Monday!

What is your favourite holiday destination?
This one is easy … Cape Town, South Africa. I was fortunate enough to travel all over the world whilst playing cricket, however Cape Town was always a favourite for me.

What piece of advice would you give your 16 year old self?
Your grades will not necessarily define your trajectory in life … and start paying into a savings account to save the deposit for your first property!

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