When it comes to Brexit estate agent Catherine Chan is firmly in support of Remain.
The managing director of Chanin Estates on the Isle of Dogs will be voting to stay in the EU on Thursday, June 23, as she believes leaving would cause the rental market to slow considerably.
She said: “Visas would become more stringent and, don’t forget, there are lots of expats working in the banking industry in Canary Wharf.
“It would make it harder for them to come into the country to get jobs.
“Although I do know people who say if leaving slowed down the market, sales prices might come down, which would mean it would be more affordable for people to live here.”
Right now, however, the rental market is booming for her fledgling business, which opened 18 months ago, as students try to secure their digs before September.
Chanin manages 50-60 houses to rent from Teddington Oval to London Bridge, Canada Water, Surrey Quays to the Isle of Dogs and the Greenwich foot tunnel makes this side of the river popular with Ravensbourne and Greenwich University students.
Catherine helps support dozens of young people as they take their first steps away from the family home.
“It’s been non-stop the last few weeks,” she said.
“It is usually their first time away from home so there is a lot of nurturing. And its usually a group of five or six so you have to make sure they all understand the whole process.
“Then you have the guarantors, so you have five sets of mums and dads to deal with as well.”
The required blend of ambition and maternal instinct comes naturally to Catherine as she juggles managing her blossoming business alongside raising her two daughters.
And she wants to show other single mums they can to do the same.
“They need to know there is opportunity and you don’t have to think there is nothing out there for you,” said the 33-year-old.
Brought up in Goodmayes, Essex she learned her work ethic from her parents who owned restaurants. She left school in Woodford after her O-Levels to go into retail sales for the Marriott hotel group.
Her first step on the estate agency ladder was as a trainee lettings negotiator with Property Liaisons and she progressed to lettings manager and then moved on to Franklyn James and then Metro Village.
She launched Chanin Estates from a serviced office in Citibank in December 2014 by herself and then found the Amsterdam Road office in December.
After an extensive four-month refurbishment she transferred there in March and in April it won in the New Office category at The Wharf Property Awards 2016.
Catherine said it was a relief and “sense of achievement and satisfaction” to finally have her own space.
She is now hoping to instil her family work ethic in her daughters, 11 and seven, who she lives with in Essex.
She said: “It’s not easy, sometimes I work 15 hour days, coming in at 8am and leaving at 11pm. And I do feel guilty sometimes.
“But the girls understand why I’m doing it and that I’m working for them as well.
“I want them to know that you have to work hard for things you want in life. Nothing gets handed to you on a silver platter.”
Her drive has seen Chanin grow to a team of three negotiators and an administrative assistant and is selling properties on behalf of Barrett Homes which Catherine said was a “big achievement”.
She is now looking towards hot spots such as the regeneration areas of Royal Docks, City Island, Royal Wharf and Stratford where there is “good appreciation” and hopes to open another branch in the next few years.
Her incentive for working so hard is the job satisfaction she gets from completing a sale or letting.
Catherine said: “I love meeting people every day and when someone gets the keys and are so happy knowing you have found someone a new home.
“Every day is different so it isn’t a boring job, you learn new things every day- and I can’t see myself doing anything else.”
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