Young tycoon and TV star faces collapse of £2.5m property project

Young tycoon and TV star faces collapse of £2.5m property project


By Stephanie Baxter

Bailiff-turned-TV star Jamie Waller, who is best known for helping people with their debt dilemmas on BBC1 show Beat the Bailiff, is finding himself in his own financial nightmare after his multimillion-pound property project hit a brick wall. 

The 31-year-old, who has become Britain’s most famous debt collector and even has his own Facebook fan group, has been building what he hoped to be a £2.5 million six-bedroom house in the market town of Faringdon, Oxfordshire, but construction has been suspended after the banks refused to lend him more money.


Before the 2008 property crash, Jamie made an agreement with his bank to borrow 70 per cent of the property’s estimated value in instalments as the project progressed.


But after the crash, his bank revised the projected value of the house and lowered the loan amount, from which point Jamie began to run out of money.


Jamie, who manages his own debt recovery company, JBW Group, and was featured this year in the prestigious Who’s Who list of young business leaders, can either sell his ‘half-baked’ project for just half of the price he originally expected, or invest more money to wait for the property market to recover.


“But neither of those options will bring me the money I had hoped to make here,” Jamie told the Daily Mail newspaper.


“And I went through a long planning battle just to get to this stage, so it’s going to be quite hard to give it up, but it would cost me another £300,000 to finish and I’m not sure it’s worth it.”


Jamie bought the £440,000 five-acre plot – which used to be an RAF water-pumping station – at a property auction back in 2006. Although it came with planning permission for a three-bedroom house, Jamie had bigger ideas.


Jamie’s original drawings for the £2.5 million property show plans for a main three-bedroom house on two storeys, a single-storey block of three bedrooms and an indoor swimming pool that would be all be linked together after completion.


Jamie, who only last week was talking to Money Week about how his company made £10 million profits in sales last year, said he wants to sell, but that he won’t accept less than £1.3 million.


With £400,000 spent on building works, the house is complete with a large kitchen diner and luxurious vaulted bedroom ceilings.  


However, where there should be a swimming pool there is just a huge hole under a steel frame in the garden, and three bedrooms are currently an outbuilding that isn’t connected to the main house.


Sarah Benson, director of the Faringdon branch of Perry Bishop and Chambers estate agents, said: “Buyers will sometimes take advantage of unfinished properties and try to buy them cheaply.


"With this kind of situation it’s generally best to maintain the property and sit tight and wait until the property market recovers.


“There is definitely a market for large properties in Faringdon, and at the moment there are several attractive ones up for sale.”


Jamie said he hopes to sell privately, and interested parties can contact him through his debt collecting company, JBW Group.

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