Tuesday 9th November 2021
By Victoria Ogilvie Hodge
At the age of five, I wrote ‘I want to build the tallest tower in the world’ on an A5 piece of paper; now tatty, that is still exhibited on my mother’s notice board. My father is a civil engineer and I had been to his office that day for a children’s party, which had obviously left me inspired! The interest in engineering was passing, quickly taken over by my dreams of being a ballet dancer and/or a television presenter. Although neither materialised, I enjoyed studying humanities at school and modern languages; the latter I studied for my undergraduate degree at the University of Bath.
Aside from watching ‘Location, location, location’ my interest in property was not piqued until I undertook some work experience in the summer between my third and fourth year of university. I worked in commercial development and loved seeing how London was going to transform. As I emerged from university, I headed back to London, where I have lived for most of my life and pursued my goal of working in real estate.
I was lured into my first job as a lettings negotiator by the lack of jobs for graduates in 2012 and the appeal of keys to a shiny, new car. During this time, I enjoyed working in some of west London’s most beautiful neighbourhoods including Holland Park, Chelsea and Notting Hill but I felt something was always missing. I changed employment, though continued to work in the Prime Central London market; this time selling property in Mayfair and Belgravia. This is where I met my first mentor who worked at the same company, for the land and new homes side of the business. She encouraged my interest in residential development and I moved to the City office of that same firm where I was able to get involved in selling a variety of new developments emerging on the City fringe, in addition to the re-sale stock at the Barbican Estate, in which my firm were involved. The Barbican Estate is one of my favourite places in London, aside from the stunning, albeit controversial, architecture; the Estate was designed with such a social vision in mind and I was intrigued to learn about the history and ideas behind this historic, regeneration project.
In 2015, I accepted my first job at JLL. I worked in a marketing suite for one of our clients, selling off-plan apartments in a 38-storey building by Old Street roundabout. In this role, I was able to grow my understanding of residential developments; the mechanisms of funding, planning, marketing and construction. It was here that I started the long journey into obtaining my RICS chartership; transferring to JLL’s head office in Warwick Street to facilitate this ambition. My final sales related job was in the Residential Development Sales team where we sold off-plan, new homes in developments across London, in Zones 1-5. This knowledge of the London development pipeline has served me well, as in my role today, we often value the Section 106 element of various developments with which I have had involvement in the past.
I started on the JLL Graduate Scheme at nearly 30 years old and found it both a humbling and rewarding experience. It was on this programme, whilst studying for a Master’s in Real Estate, that I rotated into the Affordable Housing department and always joke that I have never rotated out – nor do I plan on doing so now that I am qualified! I have been in the Affordable Development Valuations team since September 2019 and truly relish what I do; I finally feel settled in a corner of the real estate world that just feels right for me.
I delight in working in a team dominated by women, in a department which has a large number of female Associates and Directors, alike. Not only that, but the housing sector is also playing a critical part in changing London and the surrounding areas for the better. There is, I feel, such a richness to London neighbourhoods; where some of the richest and poorest people live and work in such close proximity; and where we continue to create more mixed communities. This is a really unique quality which London has managed to grasp. My current job still allows me to be involved in the development of London as a city and see the sites which I may have valued as a development opportunity, come to fruition and add to the London skyline; whilst knowing that much-needed affordable homes are being created to house people in need and contribute to the housing target.
Get in touch!
Victoria Ogilvie Hodge, Surveyor - Affordable Housing
T +44 (0)207 852 4342
M +44 (0)7734 784871