haus & haus was formed in 2013 between myself, Luke Remington and Simon Baker. From there we have evolved to around ninety people and growing.
It’s been a hectic few years! I worked in property in the UK, in Manchester City Centre, but the market was very flat in 2010. I knew a few people that worked in Dubai who were doing well for themselves, so that is what spurred my move. Without them, I would have thought twice – I was settled and comfortable with a nice home, lifestyle and job. I had never visited Dubai before I started work here, so it was a bit of a risk.
In terms of my family background, my father has got his own business and my mother worked in the healthcare industry. Both my parents are incredibly hardworking. My father built a successful company through great customer service and that really inspired me.
Believe it or not, my first job was as a professional cyclist. At the age of seventeen I was multiple national champion in the UK and was lucky to be racing internationally, sponsored and travelling the world. I lived in France at the age of nineteen, road racing at Elite level – it is a very tough sport. I was extremely disciplined, which meant that when I started work I found being regimented and focused created similar results.
“I’ve got a high work capacity, so coming to this competitive market was exciting as I am extremely focused when I want something. Dubai lends itself to people that try.”
James Perry, Managing Director at haus & haus
The UAE property market is really dynamic,and it’s easy to sell Dubai because it’s such a great place to live. The pace is very fast and there’s a lot going on. Obviously, the sentiment has softened in the last few years, but it doesn’t matter too much what the prices are doing in terms of going up or down because there’s always activity and that’s the main thing. If you are prepared to work, the business is there.
I believe the industry has misconceptions. When I speak to people looking to enter the market, some of them are still sold the dream that if you make the move in two months you’ll be driving around in a Ferrari. My interview style is probably the polar opposite, because I want to retain people for the long term – I am very straight about what the job and market entails.
Being a great leader depends on your style. You have to be human and not pretend to be somebody, or something, that you’re not. It doesn’t matter who I’m speaking to – whether it’s the cleaner or the CEO of another company – I treat everybody the same; that’s how I’ve been brought up.
I believe my work rate is what has made the difference in my career. I’ve got a high work capacity, so coming to this competitive market was exciting as I am extremely focused when I want something. Dubai lends itself to people that try. I’m a Virgo… a perfectionist.
I’m not big on social media, but good books keep me motivated. The most recent one I’ve read is called Trillion Dollar Coach about Bill Campbell who was a legendary coach and business executive that mentored Steve Jobs and other prominent tech figures. Basically, he was just a no-nonsense regular guy – and operated very much under cover. He wasn’t into putting himself in the public eye, and I think given this day and age that’s even more admirable.
My opinion is that hard work gets you 95 percent of where you want to be in life, and desire is probably the other five percent – knowing where you want to go and why you are doing what you’re doing. If you haven’t got that future goal or ambition, then it’s easy to get disheartened.
This article was originally published in the Prestige Magazine, Propertyfinder’s own bi-monthly journal (Issue 43: November/December 2019, pages 54/54)