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Five years after he represented Australia at the London Olympics, pentathlete Ed Fernon has decided to venture into property development to once again prove that commitment and a good goal-setting psyche can help anyone make their aspirations a reality – from sports to property.
Ed started his journey as a property developer without any prior experience in the field, which is often regarded by many as complicated and overwhelming.
However, like a true athlete, his desire to rise up to the challenge only grew stronger the more people tell him it’s going to be hard or even impossible.
“[In property development], I think, you’re able to put your own mark on things. For example, Escarpments Estate, what we’re doing there in Katoomba, a lot of people have said, ‘Oh you can’t do a luxury development. The market just doesn’t want that product.’ I mean, I love going against what people tell me,” he said.
The athlete-turned-investor added: “We’ve really tried to create a high-end product which is against the trend and against the grain. A lot of the agents, previously, when they were looking at it, were saying, ‘Oh, you know, you shouldn’t do that because some people only want a medium to low-end finish in the Mountains ‘cause they don’t have the money.’ But I think once we’ve provided that product a huge amount of interest and people, who weren’t normally looking, are now suddenly engaged and want that property.”
Essentially, Ed and his team are creating a new category of properties in the area—a bold move for someone who humbly admits his lack of experience in property development.
Despite being new to the field, he continues to be hands-on in the development of his projects, learning all he needs to know along the way through the help of experts, professionals and his fellow investors.
“I’ve been highly involved, as well as my business partner there who’s funding that ... with the sales campaign. I think a lot of the older people, in particular, they’re buying off-the-plan [but] they don’t really know what they’re purchasing. They’re a bit unsure and they’re, I guess, risk-averse in that sense,” he explained.
Ed shared further: “What we’ve done, and the first time it’s been done in the Blue Mountains, is create a whole virtual reality space so older people can come into the display suite, put on the virtual reality goggles and the gaming goggles, which sometimes looks quite funny with some of the older people, but they can look around and they can walk through their new property and they can see the finishes for themselves. I mean, photos and renders are good but it’s better when someone can walk through and have the experience themselves.”
Like many property developers, the chance to innovate is what attracted Ed to start a new venture, together with the opportunity to help people find a property that will ultimately make their lives better.
His advice to those who are looking to go down the same path: Don’t let people laughing at your goals keep you from actually reaching for your dreams and making them come true.
“I think, if people aren’t laughing at your goals, they’re not big enough. I also think a lot of the people who start in property investment, they’re quite risk-averse they don’t want to make a mistake, but at some stage it’s just being able to take that leap of faith and to be able to engage,” Ed concluded.
Tune in to Ed Fernon’s episode in The Smart Property Investment Show to know more about his whirlwind journey from a university dorm room to the 2012 London Olympics, and on to a successful career in property development.