Phil Spencer tells Mark Kebble why now is a good time to remind us all about what our home really is:
“I have always felt through this mad period – 20% growth, 25% growth, crazy figures, 120% mortgages, madness – that there has developed a rather dangerous expectation that our homes, our roofs over our heads, will perform as an investment. That is quite a dangerous expectation.”
Phil Spencer leans back in his seat and takes a sip of his latte. We are close to his Wandsworth home, tucked away in one of the area’s many delightful cafes, talking about his new book, Adding Value to Your Home. The book is broken down in several easy to follow sections – DIY, extensions, gardens and gadgets, for example – that inform how you can make improvements, ensuring you enjoy living there to the max. “We should be enjoying our homes and making the most out of them, they are not just a vehicle to make money,” Phil adds. “Hopefully you do make money, but the priority is to suit you, your lifestyle and your family.”
Considering the tumultuous year we’ve all just gone through, Phil’s message is an apt one and is put across in the same easy manner that has made his TV persona such a popular one. “This year is our 10th anniversary,” he says about Location, Location, Location. “It’s still a massive surprise that we are doing it ten years later and still enjoying it. Whilst Kirstie [Allsopp] and I have fun on the programme, we take what we do very seriously. We are dealing with people’s lives, large amounts of money and their biggest decision. When things go badly we are upset, when things go well we are very pleased, when we are doing a deal we are nervous, and when it comes off we are hugely excited.”
Just as Phil and Kirstie have become a regular feature in many people’s living rooms over the years, he hopes that the new book will have the same effect. “It’s not going to date and I like to think what I’ve put in there is good solid advice for now, five years time, ten years time,” Phil looks ahead. “Whether you are improving a house to stay in or improving a house to sell it, I’d love to think that people would use it as a reference tool and enjoy their homes.” You can’t go wrong with advice like that.