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My First Home: Rio Ferdinand

Massive goal:
Rio bought a house in
Mottingham at the age of 17

RIO FERDIAND is a jack-of-all-trades. Before becoming a professional footballer, Rio, now 40, was so good at ballet he won a scholarship to attend the Central School of Ballet. He went on to break the British transfer fee record when he joined Manchester United in 2002 for £30million. Since retiring in 2015, he’s gone on to become a pundit, presenter and broadcaster. His latest business foray is using his knowledge of the property market to become the face of Reliable Surveyors, a one-stop shop for home buyers.

Tell us about your first home…

I bought it back in 1995, in Mottingham, in south east London, when I was just 17. It was just after joining the England youth-team squad, competing in the UEFA European Championships and playing for West Ham.

Why did you buy at that age?

It was for me and my family to move into — something I had always dreamed of doing. When it finally happened, it was one of the biggest wins of my life. I wanted to take them somewhere they were going to be happy, but not too far away from home.

What was it like?

It was a four-bedroom, detached house, spread across two storeys. It was very à la mode, with a mock Tudor exterior. I lived there for eight months before moving to Wapping.

How has your football background influenced you as a businessman?

Sir Alex Ferguson taught his team, among many things, to always be one step ahead mentally, as well as physically. I apply the same ethos to business. Being prepared for anything that may come your way means that curveballs are less catastrophic in the long-run.

Is purchasing property similar to buying football players?

Put it this way, you wouldn’t buy a footballer without putting them through a medical first. Buying a house is the biggest purchase anyone will make, so you need to know everything about it before you part with your money. By choosing a reliable surveyor, we are helping you to understand the condition of the property and, in turn, help you to gauge the true cost of potential repairs and negotiate costs for faults or defects that may not be immediately obvious to the untrained eye.

Advice for first-time buyers?

View as many properties as you can, take advice from those that have been in the same situation and try not to let your heart rule over your head. Research is key, and don’t always go for the first option. Unless you carry out the correct survey, what you think is your dream home could be full of nasty surprises and end up costing an arm and a leg. The London property market needs to be shaken up.

In what way?

It goes without saying that we need to build more homes, particularly affordable housing and shared-ownership properties. Getting a foot on the ladder should be encouraged and facilitated wherever possible. Once there are more homes, the entire process needs to be streamlined to remove unnecessary red tape and complicated jargon.

Tell us more about Reliable Surveyors…

So many people, including myself, are put off purchasing a second home once they experience the long-winded process. Consolidating all services under one umbrella should streamline the process and make the lives of buyers easier, in turn, encouraging people to buy homes across the board.

All about: Mottingham

MOTTINGHAM is a district of south east London in the boroughs of Bromley and Greenwich, just south of Eltham. While it is less than half an hour from central London by car or train (on a good day, of course), this is pure suburbia, with a more relaxed pace of life, decent schools and that all-important multi-screen cinema (in Eltham), a buzzing restaurant and bar scene and plenty of snazzy new-builds. You can also choose from huge period mansion houses in the area, pretty cottages and enormous mock Tudor properties — the latter going for less than a central London apartment. Last year, most sales in Mottingham involved terraced properties, which sold for on average £343,468. Flats sold for an average price of £256,029, while semi-detached properties fetched £453,183. Mottingham has an overall average price of £397,883 (