FORMER professional musician Paul Hanafin is hoping to strike a chord in the property market after building a business with a new office on the high street of his hometown.

The singer-songwriter, who includes Oasis and The Beatles among his inspirations, is well-known in the Darlington area from his time performing in local venues, and teaching guitar.

But when he and his wife, Kirsty, had three children, Paul decided to launch a business that would provide the family with greater financial security.

He launched Hanafin Estates, focused on the investment property market, building up a successful portfolio of properties to rent and buy, along with a national network of investors.

(Image: Peter Barron)

Now, nine years after buying his first buy-to-let property in Ridsdale Street, Darlington, Paul has decided to “roll with it” by opening an outreach office on Duke Street in the town centre.

“It feels the right time to move onto the high street because we’ve built up a lot of experience and connections that will benefit house-buyers, vendors, and investors,” says Paul.

It’s been a long and winding road to a door on the high street for Paul, who spent his very early years in a council house on Darlington’s Skerne Park estate.

After excelling at Hurworth School and Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College, Paul achieved a first-class degree in medicinal chemistry at Newcastle University.

However, after spending six months working for a pharmaceutical company, he decided to concentrate on his passion for music, studying the art of songwriting, and becoming a familiar performer around the area.

“I’ll always love playing and writing music but, when the family came along, it focused my mind on providing a more stable way of life – and property was the solution,” he recalls.

Paul built up his knowledge by embarking on investment property courses, reading books, and watching YouTube videos, and began acquiring properties to develop for rental or sale.

Hanafin Estates was founded in 2017, with Paul also supporting other property investors, and the business managed the high-spec refurbishment of more than 100 properties.

It has been a successful journey from council estate to real estate, and he is justifiably proud of the significant contribution the business has made to his hometown, environmentally and economically.

“It means a lot to be able to bring outside investment into Darlington, and attract investors from the south so, hopefully, we can employ more staff as we grow,” says Paul, who has twice appeared on BBC One’s Homes Under the Hammer.

“So far, Hanafin Estates has been under the radar, but opening an office and building the brand is a natural evolution of the business.

“We want to be an estate agent with a twist – selling houses in the more traditional way, while also working closely with a unique network of investors to help vendors achieve quicker sales and enable more people to realise their dream of getting onto the property ladder.”