A Question of Property - Ep 12 - Paul Mahoney, Stefano Lucatello & John Howard - Nova

A Question of Property – Ep 12 – Paul Mahoney, Stefano Lucatello & John Howard

Lucia France:

Hello, and welcome to A Question of Property. My name is Lucia France, and I’m your host for today. And we are joined by our regular panel of experts. We have John Howard, our property expert of more than 40 years, unbelievably.

John Howard:

Thank you.

Lucia France:

Also have three different books on the subject, including Buying and Selling Auction, the most recent one and a believer you’re working on a fourth. Aren’t you John?

John Howard:

Yes. It’s all gone off to… Somebody accused me of having a ghost writer, Fancy me having a ghost writer.

Lucia France:

Shocking.

John Howard:

No such thing, but it’s gone to a lady called Vanessa who oversees them and puts it in the right order and tells me what I can say and can’t say in case I get sued by someone.

Lucia France:

Very wise.

John Howard:

Because you know, I’m a little bit outspoken sometimes, and she does the English.

Stefano Lucatello:

Just sometimes.

John Howard:

Yeah.

Lucia France:

Introducing Stefano Lucatello as well, who is senior partner at Kobalt Law International Property Lawyers, and our international and European property experts. So Stefano, you’ve got your book as well, haven’t you, while we’re on the subject of books.

Stefano Lucatello:

There it is.

Lucia France:

There it is.

Stefano Lucatello:

There it is. Yes, selling well. So almost an Amazon bestseller, like my colleague, Mr. Paul.

Lucia France:

Fantastic. Yes. And last, but by no means least Paul Mahoney, bestselling author, award winning property speaker and head of Nova Financial Group. You’ve got the book there as well Paul.

Stefano Lucatello:

Okay.

Paul Mahoney:

Here it is. I didn’t need to write four, one was good enough.

Stefano Lucatello:

Me too. Me too, Paul. Me too.

John Howard:

Very funny. Yeah.

Lucia France:

I didn’t even write one. So, there we go. Right. Well, let’s start with Stefano today. We’ve got quite a lot of questions for you here. So you mentioned, I think in a previous episode, how much difference the value of currency can make to any purchase or sale of a property abroad. How would I be able to hedge this problem going forward?

Stefano Lucatello:

Well, I think, which is one of the chapters in my book actually, is why I held it up.

Lucia France:

Lovely.

Stefano Lucatello:

One of the things that you must always look at when buying property abroad and must consider a new budget, as well as legal fees, taxation, everything else,. is the rate of exchange and what’s going to happen or what is happening now, most of us are not people who follow the markets. So as such, we dip into them as and when some people never dip into them, because they never have the opportunity to make this transaction, but you must be able to hedge your bet in some way, shape or form. You can do all sorts of things. The first thing I’d say to you is always avoid mainstream or main line banks. Don’t go to your Lloyd’s to your Barclays, to your all over.

Stefano Lucatello:

Why? Because even though they may say that they charge you no commission, what they do is they make up for the no commission by giving you a lesser rate. Because banks got to make money some way. So the fact that they’re not charging you commission is a correlation to the fact that they will give you less points on your exchange. So what I would always go to is an FX trader, an FX company. We use a company called TorFX, T-O-R-F-X, and they’re based down in Devon and they’re brilliant. And they will give you a rate on the day and they’ll spread it. So they’ll give you a range. And out of that range, they will give you a fixed rate. Or what you can do is you can say, “Right, okay. I’ve no intention of buying at the moment. So I know the pounds a week or a bit strong, whatever, which way it’s going. I’d like to fix the rate.” So you can forward buy.

Stefano Lucatello:

And you can forward buy it to a period of 24 months, usually. So what will happen is that you will say, let’s say you want to forward buy 200,000 euros, you will pay the FX company, usually 10% upfront, and then you will pay the balance when the contract, because you enter into a monetary contact, you’ll pay the balance when the contract matures in 23, 24 months time. So that’s the way to deal with things. If not, lately of course, because of corona and all the rest of it, I’ve got clients who are buying abroad at the moment. And one client is buying in Nice, who is like Paul, he’s a broker up in Manchester, a mortgage broker.

Stefano Lucatello:

And he’s very conscious of what the market’s doing. And he’s put his purchase on hold at the moment. He hasn’t forward bought. He hadn’t thought of forward buying strange enough for a broker. And he hadn’t thought of using an FX company. So now I put them onto our company and they’ve given him the ability to forward buy and fix to rate now for 24 months. Now, of course, fixing a rate has its pluses and its negatives. Because of course, if the pound weakens, you’ve got to have an advantage. If it strengthens, you’re at a disadvantage, but at least, you know how much you are in for before doing it. Many people don’t do it. And many people lose out. I had a client who bought two years ago in Cann, he forward bought for 500,000 euros and we saved, because I put him through the same company, we saved him 15,000 pounds.

Stefano Lucatello:

He went to his own bank, he was about to do a deal with them, we stopped him from doing the deal and it was one of the main five banks and he saved 15,000 pounds. It’s money that you are paying someone for not doing anything. They all do the same job at the end of the day. They all use the same platforms. It’s however much you can get out of people. And what I’d say is this, even though we go, with one company, we always play one off against the other. We always go to two companies, one of the big ones like Moneycorp or whatever, we always say to our lot, “We’ve gone to Moneycorp, they’re giving us this, what can you give us?” And we always expect a better rate. There is always something to get from them. And they’re always in there. They’re always happy to give you a good rate. My advice is to never go to a bank and always forward buy if you can, spot buy.

Paul Mahoney:

As I think I’ve said before, this is my biggest problem with buying abroad. It is, as soon as you buy another currency, you’re playing the foreign exchange market and nobody knows the direction of the foreign exchange. I think that’s the biggest risk with buying abroad. If it’s a holiday home or somewhere you’re going to live, that’s different, but if it’s an investment, there’s a huge foreign exchange risk.

Lucia France:

Do you not say though Paul, that you generally talk about being in a good location, good amenities, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. If it’s somewhere that’s performed well in that respect and is a solid location, would you not say that that helps?

Paul Mahoney:

You’re right, but my point is that regardless of all of that, even if the property increases in value substantially, if the foreign exchange moves against you, that can wipe that out completely.

Lucia France:

Right.

Paul Mahoney:

I think I used an example in a previous episode where 10 years ago, the Australian dollar was quite strong. And obviously a lot of overseas people, especially Chinese people bought [crosstalk 00:07:07] in Australia and the Australian dollars tanked since then. You go back 10 years. I think the Australian dollar was stronger than the US dollar. And now it’s about 60 cents on the US dollar. It’s a huge change there. So even if the value of your property is increased by 50%, you haven’t made a cent because the Australian dollars fallen. Because I I’m constantly transferring money overseas, obviously I’m from Australia originally. The best site I’ve found for transferring money overseas is TransferWise.

Stefano Lucatello:

Paul, be careful. TransferWise is not all it says it is. It isn’t, and I’ve got lots of clients who have years of used TransferWise or wanted to use it. TransferWise has hidden costs and other things that is not clear. And this is why I say don’t use people like TransferWise. Certainly don’t use, usually what I say to use is don’t use people like Western Union. Some people over the years have tried to use Western Union. Western Union is fraught with danger in all sorts of ways. But TransferWise, I’m very strong about this point. TransferWise is not all that is seems to be.

Paul Mahoney:

In doing my research rates wise and cost wise, I’ve found that to be the best.

Lucia France:

What do you think of Currencies Direct Stefano?

Stefano Lucatello:

Well Currencies Direct, TorFx is a subsidiary of Currencies Direct. So yeah, absolutely brilliant. So no problem. They are owned by Currencies Direct. Currencies Direct, we’ve used… You imagine that as lawyers, international lawyers, we get inundated literally every week, we must have five or six calls from new FX traders wanting our business. We can’t go with everyone because its not that big, so we don’t have that much business to give them, but, and this is why we stick. But over the years we’ve used the big ones like Moneycorp, Currencies Direct and all the others. What they do, is young kids, they go and train with the big ones, they then think they’ve got the knowledge and they go and set up either on their own or with other people who sponsor them and joint venture them.

Stefano Lucatello:

One thing that’s good now is that they all have to be FSA, FCA, sorry, regulated.

John Howard:

Good.

Lucia France:

That’s good.

Stefano Lucatello:

So in the good old days, they didn’t have to be FCA regulated and they used to get away with all sorts of bits and pieces. We used to deal with one that used to have an office in Dubai and they used to be up to all sorts of things. And when we realized that they weren’t as honest as they should have been, we just cut them straight away, but now they are regulated. So you are protected, as a consumer, you are protected to the extent that the FCA can protect you in as much as it can. And they have to go through resistance tests and risk tests and all the rest of it and they have to almost put up money to safeguard the users.

John Howard:

Yeah.

Stefano Lucatello:

But shop around. I just like everything go around and shop around, take two or three options and see what they all do for you.

Lucia France:

And definitely make sure, like you say, that they are FCA regulated as well.

Stefano Lucatello:

Yeah. They can’t trade unless they are FCA. Always look at their website and challenge them like you challenge every other professional. Challenging is [crosstalk 00:10:07]

John Howard:

Can I just say the other thing, I’m very, very pleased that we’ve got Stefano on board for when we likely to get sued now for saying what we’ve said today and the great thing, is it free legal bills, Paul, we’ll be all right.

Lucia France:

Well I think…

Stefano Lucatello:

Be careful. Everything I say is backed up by fact and is what’s called justifiable comment.

John Howard:

Very good. Thank you very much.

Lucia France:

Interesting comment as well. I have to say, because it’s nice to know what the professional thinks of different things like that. Okay. Let’s move on to John’s next question.

John Howard:

Yes.

Lucia France:

John, I’m looking to demolish a garage and take a tree down, which are both in a conservation area. Is that a problem doing anything in a conservation area without permission? One question I have here is he doesn’t know whether it’s his land or it’s just a conservation area so…

John Howard:

Well let’s hope its definitely his land, shall we?

Lucia France:

Okay, let’s do so, yeah.

John Howard:

So absolutely. In the conservation area. I always describe it as almost like you have a list of building where you alleged you need permission with grade to do anything within reason really these days. I always say conservation area is almost the same equivalent of that. But for the whole layer you’re in. And of course, if you’re in a conservation area, it’s because its got some historical importance or they want to keep it looking so much the same and all the rest of it. So there’s a reason why it’s a conservation area and probably it’s a nice area and probably you’re paying a bit extra to live in that area as well. So basically anything you want to do in a conservation area, whether it’s taking the tree down, whether it’s demolishing anything, you need to get permission. You need to get permission. Please, please, please just don’t go and do it, you’ll be fine.

Lucia France:

Who would that be from?

John Howard:

Sorry?

Lucia France:

Who would that be from?

John Howard:

Yeah. From the local authority. So you need to talk to local… They might say, “Look, that’s absolutely fine, we’ll give you a letter saying, yeah, whatever.” But you must contact them and you mustn’t do it. I, very stupidly, many years ago, I took a cherry tree down in order to try and get planting commission on a bit of land. [crosstalk 00:12:17]

Lucia France:

Poor sad… Very sad for the cherries involved.

John Howard:

Well, there is a good end to the story. Apart from the fact I nearly got fined 20,000 pounds for doing it, it was a pure mistake because it was in a conservation area. And I never realized at the time I needed to. And not many people know that you have to. It was just a very modest tree. And so when I realized the mistake I’d made, I replanted three or four trees. There you go. You see.

Lucia France:

I’m happy now.

John Howard:

Thank you. I’ve got away with a 2000 pound fine instead of 20,000. 20,000 things a lot more. So please be very, very careful. It’s very, very serious.

Lucia France:

And if there is a tree let’s say that you wanted to chop down or is that something that you’d like to change and the local authority say that they don’t want you to do that? Is there any negotiation there? Is there any leeway usually?

John Howard:

Well, I would say that if the tree is in poor condition, the tree expert at the council, they’re pretty sensible. They might say, “Well, you can take it down, but you need to replant two more.” Something like that. So they are quite sensible. So if you talk to them, they are sensible. They’re not too silly about it. And I would just talk to them… First of all, talk to them and then they would advise you what you need to do or not do.

Lucia France:

Great. Okay. Thank you very much, John. Okay. Let’s go to Paul’s first question for today. Due to COVID-19 do you think the government will support the housing market going forward by reducing stamp duty at all?

John Howard:

Good question.

Paul Mahoney:

Yeah. So there’s obviously been speculation around this. Even prior to COVID-19 there was speculation about them winding back the 3% stamp duty premium. I believe that is because they raised quite a lot more money than they expected from that policy. So there was already speculation about potentially in the most recent budget, that being one of the changes. Of course it wasn’t. But I think it’s quite a sensible change or at the very least, we’re getting lots of stimulus at the moment and lots of holidays on various things. I think a good way of stimulating the property market that’s obviously very much been on hold and still is on hold in some ways would be to potentially give a 12 months stamp duty holiday. Or you don’t pay stamp duty for the next 12 months or something along those lines would be a good way of stimulating transactions.

Paul Mahoney:

It would give people more reason to make property transactions. Or at the very least, as I say, getting rid of, or changing the 3% buy select, it’s not buy select, it’s subsequent property purchase premium. It’s not specific to buy select the 3% stamp duty premium. It’s just, if you already own a property as Stefano rightly said earlier, anywhere in the world, you pay an extra 3% on your all on subsequent purchases. So I think it would be a sensible change for me to say whether I think the government’s going to do it or not. I don’t have a crystal ball. John perhaps got a little bit more insight to that than I. But I think it would be a sensible change.

Lucia France:

Well, what are your thoughts on that then John?

John Howard:

This government have not shown any sign of supporting landlords or investors, particularly so far. We always in unprecedented times, I think they’ll see how the property market reacts to what’s happened. And one thing I would say about the Boris government is they’ll be brave enough to do things, well they’ve already proved that, there’ll be brave enough to do things if they need to. My issue with it is that they need to raise as much taxes as they can going forward. And stamp duty is a very easy way for them to raise the taxes. I’d be surprised if we see any movement in the next three months. I think getting to next year, and maybe if the market really slows down, they may look to do something. But they will be relying, and that’s why they brought this back when they have done of course, out of COVID, one of the reasons is because the amount of revenue that it raises, stamp duty is phenomenal.

John Howard:

At any one time there’s 400,000 transactions happening. I know some of those are rent lettings as well in the property market. So it’s a very, very big, big business for the government in terms of tax. And of course you look at the revenues. No one’s been driving cars, so they haven’t been getting the petrol revenue, just one example. And there’s massive, they’ve given everyone… They don’t have to pay tax this year, we pay it all next year. Although my advice is, if you can pay the tax issue, just pay it, your tax because all you’re doing is building up a problem. And the same with the loans, if you don’t need a loan, why take one out in a way, because next year you got to start paying it back. So it’s very difficult. But my view is that they won’t jump to reduce any tax initially. They may do if the market starts stalling, they need to do something.

Lucia France:

Okay. Great.

Paul Mahoney:

[crosstalk 00:17:53] published some figures last week on the pent up transactions in the property market at the moment.

John Howard:

Yeah.

Paul Mahoney:

And they were saying there’s around 85 billion pounds worth of property transactions currently on hold due to COVID-19.

John Howard:

Amazing isn’t it?

Lucia France:

Wow.

Paul Mahoney:

So when you tie into that, the average stamp duty rate of about 5%.

John Howard:

3% probably.

Paul Mahoney:

Well, three to five depending on the company value. That’s a lot of money.

John Howard:

Yeah. We don’t all live in London Paul.

Paul Mahoney:

But look, John mentioned about not taking out loans. I don’t necessarily agree with that, that the bounce back loans at the moment are great. If you’ve got a business, a limited company, either for your own business or for property investment. So you’ve got a portfolio of properties through a limited company, the bounce back loans at the moment that they brought out, I think just last week, people are getting those loans within a couple of hours. So it’s really straightforward. It’s an online application, you tick a few boxes and you’ve got 50,000 pounds in your bank account a few hours later. It’s interest and costs free for 12 months. And then it’s a five year loan at two and a half percent. No security, no personal guarantees. It’s about 1800 pound repayments a month from the 13th month onwards. Which, in my view, especially in the current scenario where cash is king, it’s almost mad as not to take a loan like that if you can get it.

John Howard:

Paul, people are going to… It’s okay for educated, and I don’t want to sound dismissive of other people, but for people who can take a loan out, it’s very tempting. If you can get the business loan, I accept that. Totally. But when you start having to pay back 1800 pounds a month out of your business, a lot of people won’t be able to do that. And I think in the long term, it’s okay for smart guys like yourself and other people, I understand that.

John Howard:

The other thing I’d say it’s a little bit like my wife who says to me, “Darling, I’m just going to buy that dress.” And you go, “Why do you need another dress, darling?” She said, “Well, it’s 50% off.” Yeah. But it’s still expensive if you don’t need the dress in the first place, of course, every lady needs a new dress, of course. But, that’s just an example.

Lucia France:

But why, sorry, I just… Why would she not need a new dress?

Stefano Lucatello:

John, evidently, you can’t manage your wife’s affairs. You need to cut all her credit cards up in two.

John Howard:

Luckily my wife has her own money, she can sort her own affairs. [crosstalk 00:20:24].

Lucia France:

As well, if it’s her money, she can spend it on what she wishes.

John Howard:

Exactly. But of course I do like to contribute.

Lucia France:

Of course. Well then you can add the 25% and you go 50/50.

John Howard:

Well, we don’t do 50/50. I normally…

Stefano Lucatello:

I think this is a discussion for another time.

Lucia France:

Yes, possibly. [crosstalk 00:20:44].

John Howard:

I’m just giving an example, if you don’t need it, there’s no point taking it. It’s all I’m saying.

Stefano Lucatello:

You don’t need it because you’re so rich.

Lucia France:

I don’t know [crosstalk 00:20:53].

John Howard:

Well, that’s not the case at all.

Lucia France:

You might need a dress for all kinds of occasions.

Stefano Lucatello:

John always looks good in a dress.

John Howard:

But you’ve got to pay it back and that’s the key.

Lucia France:

Next episode. Everyone’s going to wear a dress. Stefano, we’ve got some fun mail for you here.

Stefano Lucatello:

Yeah.

Lucia France:

Stefano, I’m a big fan of yours, as we all are here.

Stefano Lucatello:

Yeah, you own some money then.

John Howard:

Yeah.

Lucia France:

And I would love to know what is the most challenging legal situation you’ve ever had to deal with, with a property abroad?

John Howard:

That’s an interesting question.

Lucia France:

Good question.

Stefano Lucatello:

I’ve had a few over the years. I think one of the most challenging is dealing with a property or a series of properties in Southern Italy where certain people of ill repute were involved and having to negotiate terms and having to extricate English clients from purchases that they had made in the South of Italy and organized crime. So we have to use intermediaries and mediators and all sorts of other events that can’t be discussed online to get people out of very difficult situations. Apart from that, there have been situations where people have bought with their eyes closed. And it usually boils down to the same thing. People not having done the proper due diligence, people not having done the proper investigations, people thinking, in one case, an English lawyer who thought he knew it all doing everything wrong and then coming back to me some months later and saying…

John Howard:

Sorry.

Stefano Lucatello:

… “Got it wrong, I accept I got it wrong. Can you help me?” And I charged him 10 times what it… I would say it will cost you 10 times more to come back to me to the second time than it would do to instruct me initially. There are all sorts of things that have happened. It depends which locations. We’ve had loads of problems in Egypt over the years and Turkey and countries, which are third world countries, Northern Cyprus, we’ve got all sorts of things. Titles not being owned by people who said they own them and selling them, people buying property from peoples purportedly owning them. One of the biggest problems we’ve ever had was one case where, and I think I’ve alluded to this in another episode, where the land was owned by one person or entity and the property built on it was owned by another, the people bought it and then found that they were being held to ransom by the freeholder as it were, the person who owned the land underneath the house and having to extricate them from that.

Stefano Lucatello:

But we’ve had all sorts over the years. I don’t think there’s many situations I’ve not encountered either on a off plan bill. We’ve done loads of off plan in Morocco, in Tunisia, in Egypt. And those in Northern Africa, especially bring with them a series of consequences and problems that perhaps English people are not ready for. And the we as international law specialists know about, and always warn people about before hand.

Lucia France:

So Stefano, obviously I know you can’t talk about the details of it, but when you say you had to use intermediaries in terms of the, I don’t know, like gangs or mafia or whatever you want to call it, is that a case of that their client would have to pay somebody off then? Or how does that work?

Stefano Lucatello:

Well, it ended up that we had to involve the Italian police, the mafia, the anti-mafia police, and they negotiated at the highest level with certain groups, certain members of certain families. And it ended up that… No, in the end, it didn’t end up that our clients have to pay any more money. What was happening was that these groups in the South of Italy in Calabria were putting up for sale on imaginary websites. And this is why I always say to people, if you can’t touch it and kick it, and it doesn’t hurt you when you kick it, it’s not there, as far as I’m concerned. And when you see glossy websites, it’s not always the case that what you see is true. So what happened was that they were taking photographs, would you believe, of stuff that had been half built, had been left for 15 years.

Stefano Lucatello:

And what they’d done is they had re imaged and CGI ed the images of these buildings, and they were selling them purportedly as new builds and ready, finished, and this, that, and the other. And these people hadn’t even gone out there, they just put the money into this pot and continued paying stage payments, all the rest of it. And at the end of the day, there was nothing there. Well, there was half…

John Howard:

Unbelievable, isn’t it, what some people will do.

Stefano Lucatello:

Well, it’s what I’m saying… In England, you wouldn’t buy something from Paul unless you actually go and see the drawings and unless you’ve got evidence that it exists or it’s going to exist, and you’ve got the backups and the guarantees. These people were being led on by a group of Italo-Spanish. It was an Italian and the Spanish exercise. And they just poured money into, they’ve been conned by the literature and they’d put money into this pot. And it then became a huge multimillion pound scam, which was evidenced in court cases in England as well, because there was an Italian law firm that was involved in London, and we were onto the law society and the SRA and all sorts of things. It became a mafia, big thing. And they was closed down in England, became the subject matter of indemnity insurance claims to millions and millions of pounds against this Italian law firm. And it became an absolute nightmare.

Lucia France:

And how were the properties being marketed? Was it just a website people came across the website and then just bought them?

Stefano Lucatello:

What they did it was they built a proposed show house in one of the villages down in Southern Italy. And they’d taken people out to show them what was going to happen. And people are taking that on board and said, “Right.”

John Howard:

Yeah.

Stefano Lucatello:

On the basis of these plans and this show house. [crosstalk 00:27:05]

Lucia France:

Wow.

Paul Mahoney:

There’s lots of overseas properties off plan and that sort of thing that are marketed that just look too good to be true. I think that’s a good sort of rule to live by, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

John Howard:

Yeah, definitely.

Lucia France:

Yeah, absolutely.

John Howard:

I agree.

Lucia France:

Absolutely.

Stefano Lucatello:

Well, that’s why you need a good lawyer like us [crosstalk 00:27:27].

John Howard:

Stefano it’s absolutely essential, absolutely essential.

Stefano Lucatello:

But people… John, you say that, people don’t understand that. People think that we are taking money as an international law firm, we’re taking money but not doing anything. And when I say… I had a guy ring me up yesterday, he wants to buy an [foreign language 00:27:45] which is an agricultural property in Northern Italy, in Umbria. And he said to me, “Well, tell me, are you a solicitor?” “Yes.” “What do you do? How can you help me? How can you do it?” And I spent half an hour almost justifying myself. Well, we find ourselves as lawyers trying to justify the services that we can do [crosstalk 00:28:04].

John Howard:

And that shouldn’t be the case. That’s wrong, isn’t it?

Stefano Lucatello:

Yeah, absolutely.

John Howard:

And that shouldn’t be the case. It’s ridiculous.

Paul Mahoney:

That does tie back to the point that we made in the previous episode. So far as conveyancing quite often is commoditized now. And you have the sausage factories that pump out conveyancing advice. But as you say, your far better off paying a few hundred extra pounds to get good advice than just a template.

Lucia France:

Yeah.

John Howard:

Surround yourself with the very best people you can find.

Lucia France:

Sound advice. Like we’re doing here.

John Howard:

Absolutely.

Stefano Lucatello:

Absolutely. The A Team.

Lucia France:

Exactly. We’ve got another question here, this is to everybody. So we’ll go through everybody’s answers. If it wasn’t property, what did you think that you were going to do growing up and what made you change your mind?

John Howard:

That’s a great [crosstalk 00:28:54].

Stefano Lucatello:

I was going to become a Formula One driver and drive for Ferrari.

Lucia France:

Brilliant. Why Ferrari?

John Howard:

Very good answer.

Stefano Lucatello:

Why Ferrari? [crosstalk 00:29:02] It’s the only team to support. I’m partly Ferrari mad. Everything I have is red.

John Howard:

Have you got a Ferrari?

Stefano Lucatello:

I have a Ferrari 400i, which was a classic and I rebuilt it with a friend of mine who was an engineer and learnt all about Ferrari’s and then sold it some years ago. And I have a Maserati now, which is wonder. And a Jaguar.

John Howard:

Well, very good.

Lucia France:

Very nice.

Paul Mahoney:

You’re getting paid too much Stefano.

Lucia France:

What’s your answer for that one, John?

John Howard:

Well, what I used… I’ve always been fanatical about football and as you know I was the director of Cambridge United for two years. And they say every football director is a frustrated footballer, and I wasn’t good enough. And I went for the trials at different clubs and on my school report, it said when I was 12 years old, John must understand there’s more to life than just football. So there we go. So I wasn’t good enough. And then I managed to make some money and become a director. I was the director of Cambridge United at 25, 26 years old, which is very young, but I’m very proud of that.

Lucia France:

Did you originally think you’d be involved in property at all then?

John Howard:

No. I wanted to be a… I thought I was going to be a professional footballer.

Stefano Lucatello:

You know the only reason why he got involved because he thought he could buy the ground and redevelop it for lots of property.

John Howard:

I did buy the ground eventually. You’re quite right, but it did take 18 years and I bought it to save the club, at leased it back to them for 50 years.

Stefano Lucatello:

There you go.

Lucia France:

And what about yourself, Paul?

Paul Mahoney:

Not too dissimilar to John actually, I’ve played a lot of rugby when I was a kid. So I always thought I was going to be a professional rugby player. And similar type reports. I went to quite a famous rugby school in Australia called Joeys and used to fall asleep in class and things because we were training twice a day, every day. So yeah. [crosstalk 00:31:03].

Stefano Lucatello:

Paul was that league or union?

Paul Mahoney:

Union.

Stefano Lucatello:

It’s the wrong code mate. Leagues the only one.

John Howard:

[crosstalk 00:31:09] It’s the right code and interestingly Paul, I played for a Norfolk under sixteens, Norfolk County Rugby. But they got a bit big for me after that. But of course, what we do forget is that Paul must’ve done some work at school because he did go on to get two degrees. So he’s the most intelligent Australian, basically, there is.

Lucia France:

What made you change then from rugby? What was it about property that drew you in eventually?

Paul Mahoney:

I wasn’t good enough, property was a fallback.

Lucia France:

Okay. Fair enough. Fair enough.

Stefano Lucatello:

It was a way to catch the girls.

Paul Mahoney:

[crosstalk 00:31:53] A lot of the guys I played with went on to be very successful. Couple of… Three of the guys from school went on to play for the Wallabies. And about five of the guys from my university team did the same. [crosstalk 00:32:05].

Stefano Lucatello:

Paul, I have a client who is in Adelaide and he was one of the most famous Australian rules players.

Paul Mahoney:

Okay.

Stefano Lucatello:

I’ll tell you his name after we’ve gone off air.

Lucia France:

Yeah. We better keep that a secret for now. Right guys. Thank you so much for all of your contributions today. John Howard, Stefano Lucatello and Paul Mahoney. I’ve been Lucia France. This is A Question of Property. And if you’d like to email us, please do, ask@aquestionofproperty.co.uk, or of course subscribe to any the channels where you are watching it now. You can always write the comments underneath and we’ll be able to see that too. You guys have all got your own channels?

John Howard:

Yep. We all got on YouTube, yep.

Lucia France:

Yeah, okay, excellent. So just to let us know that way. We hope you’ve enjoyed watching today’s episode and we’ll see you again next time. Thank you.

A Question of Property

A Question of Property – Ep 20 – Paul Mahoney, Stefano Lucatello & John Howard
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