02/05/2023

60 seconds with...Chris Collins

A home ownership officer, sat inside a home ownership property, smiling. He is wearing a black shirt and trousers

Chris Collins, Home Ownership Officer, was featured in the latest edition of Inside Housing magazine. Take a look at the interview below. 

 

Tell us about your job.

I support our general leaseholders and shared owners with all sorts of enquiries, from service charge budgets and audits, to dealing with the buying, selling and staircasing of their homes. Interacting with residents is an important part of my role and I love talking with people.

I’m a well-being champion at Hightown. This has been a fantastic opportunity to meet with staff and build relationships.

I am also on Hightown’s charity committee, working on ideas to raise money for a worthy cause. We have been holding fundraisers for The Trussell Trust as the nominated charity for this year.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I had all sorts of ideas throughout my early years, particularly when having to choose which subjects to do for my GCSEs.

For a long time, I wanted to be a police officer, then it was an accountant, then a chef, and at one point even a window cleaner.

History and French were interesting choices after all of that, but I did enjoy the food technology option.

Tell us about how you first came to work in housing.

When I first started out, it was the classic Saturday boy in a local estate agency.

My work revolved around the private sector, learning the ropes, and eventually finding my feet in property management.

Being able to match buyers to their dream home was exciting but organising the repair of a tenant’s broken boiler was a better match for me. I have always been good at reassuring people and keeping them calm.

What’s your proudest work moment or biggest achievement so far?

Early on when I started at Hightown, I was promoted from an assistant to an officer role before I had passed my probationary period. I was immensely proud of this.

And what has been your hardest moment?

Being made redundant is never fun, especially with small independent companies and particularly tight-knit teams, but the opportunity to work at Hightown showed me how there is a positive future in housing.

Who has been the most important person in your career so far – and why?

My manager, Lindsay Fenn, is a fountain of knowledge. I aspire to be the same and learn as much as I can to be the best that I can.

And I want to give a shout-out to my partner, Emma, who has been a rock. The love and support through the years has been unbelievable.

If you could change one thing about the sector, what would it be?

Getting onto the housing ladder is becoming increasingly difficult nowadays, particularly for those aspiring to own a property at some point in their life.

Being a first-time buyer myself, I would love to see properties being made more affordable for people from all walks of life.

What’s the best piece of work advice you’ve ever been given?

A previous manager once said: if you are making a phone call or sending an email to someone, always think about how that person might perceive your message. It’s a small thing, but one that can make a significant difference and hopefully lead to a positive outcome.

 

Chris Collins