I like the fact that my role allows me to be creative. We can take old buildings and really flip them around.”
My name is Leah Miller, I’m a 23 year old Property Developer and founder of LCM Home – a business that aims to raise the standard of co-living by converting period and characterful commercial and residential properties into beautiful modern homes for young professionals and families.
Although I’ve been in the industry for 2 and a half years, I’ve had a passion and fascination for property and renovation from an early age.
"Honestly, ‘Homes Under the Hammer’ is what made me want to get into property."
I was always so fascinated with the renovation process, as well as the process of when the estate agent would tell the people how much they would sell or rent their property for. I initially thought that property would be something I did as a hobby alongside another job, but as I got a bit older, I realised that I can actually turn this into a full-time business.
What route did you take to becoming a Property Developer?
I did a business degree at university at Birmingham City University. I got into property development specifically by reading various courses and going to seminars. I think self education is really key if you want to become a property developer. Networking with others in that space is really great because you can just ask them a few questions and they will help you get ahead.
How does your work affect people’s lives and the world around us?
At LCM Home, we like to create luxury co-living spaces for young professionals. This industry has previously had a very bad reputation, and we decided that we want to change that and really up the standards of co living. We really do everything that we can to go above and beyond for our tenants.
Everyday as a Property Developer is so different as you can imagine, depending on what projects we've got going on. Currently, we are trying to find our next property to buy, so we are spending a lot of time looking on Rightmove, but then also booking viewings. We tend to book 3-4 viewings on the same day.
One of my favourite projects that we've done so far is an old office conversion. It was originally an office building which we converted into a 8 bedroom 8 bathroom co-living project. The whole transformation was so beautiful and we did it to a really high standard. It was such a big project but it's definitely one that I'll always be super proud of.
What are some challenges you personally face at work?
Definitely a challenge in this industry is having to rely on other people. I feel like a lot of things are just so out of your control, such as how long the solicitor is going to take to do something or if there is a maintenance issue in the building. There's definitely just a lot of unexpected challenges.
"I like the fact that my role allows me to be creative. We can take old buildings and really flip them around. Seeing the transformation process is just incredible and it feels so good to be able to restore an old building to a new glory! This is especially true when we do ‘back to brick’ refurbishments, because it's almost like starting with a blank canvas."
What are some main skills you’ve picked up within your role/work experience?
I seem to have taken over the role of interior designer until we can actually get someone else in, so this is something I’ve picked up, on top of property management skills and managing tenants. I've also learnt a lot about planning applications and the whole planning process as we do our own, as well as branding at LCM home. This job has also taught me a lot about patience, haha!
I think because of my age people are definitely shocked, but I also think it's really great because I think it inspires other people to go for it. Being a young girl in my early 20s, they can think ‘I could do this as well’, so hopefully I inspire other people.
What is it like to be a woman working in your area or profession?
It can definitely be difficult managing trades. Sometimes people constantly dismiss what you're doing, as if they’re unable to properly listen to or understand you - as a woman - like they would listen to a man. However, I do think women have a real advantage, as we can cater to a female market easier, being women. I always like to think how I would feel living in a property and ask what I would want from it. I think that females are great at creating homes, which is important in this industry.
What advice would you give a young woman thinking about a career in your role?
I would definitely say go for it - It's one of the best things I've ever done. You don't need to be afraid and you don't need to think that anything is going to hold you back. Just go for it - get educated and learn about the property industry.
What do you aim to do next in your career as a Property Developer?
In the future, I would like to create bigger co-living projects that have exciting amenities such as gyms, yoga studios and large working areas. I also want to start developing for fun; I’d love to do a barn conversion as a passion project!
I have a YouTube channel where I share about my property journey, as well as my lifestyle in general. I love being able to share what I'm doing in my journey and what’s worked for me in order to help other people through theirs.