The history of Stopwatch Property

Stopwatch Property Ltd was set up in 2017 by Sam Elliott-Smith and Simon Lane, with two operating companies to build on the directors’ joint skills and experience. Stopwatch Living Ltd provides co-living houses in Exeter and Stopwatch Developments Ltd has small to medium sized developments and conversions mainly in the South West. Our aim is to create high quality co-living houses with a top service and fast response rate as well as developing high end houses and apartments for customers in the South West of England.

With growing legislative responsibilities, being a landlord is increasingly onerous. If you are looking to step out of managing or owning your property or whole portfolio, we can buy or guarantee your rent on your properties over a number of years.

Meet the Stopwatch Property team

Stopwatch is headed up by Sam Elliott-Smith who oversees the wider team of internal and external assistants and professionals.

Simon Lane

Simon Lane

31st July 1965 – 8th Oct 2019

Simon Lane, co-director and co-founder of Stopwatch Property, tragically passed away suddenly in a traffic collision on 8th October 2019.

Simon was a talented and creative property entrepreneur, inspiring and influencing the lives of everyone he met and worked with. A real people person, Simon consciously spent time talking and listening with a purpose; depositing value, good humour and encouragement as he went. As such, his network of family, friends and business contacts is vast and wide and the collective loss is far-reaching and will be enduring.

His role in setting up and growing Stopwatch Property will have a lasting impact. He was a greatly skilled business professional with decades of experience in founding and running businesses in a range of sectors including property refurbishment, social enterprise and design and manufacturing. He managed over a hundred staff in his former manufacturing, import & export business. He had a comprehensive understanding of business departments, which led to him taking up invitations to speak at schools and colleges to young entrepreneurs and to act as a business consultant in the South West.

Following the sale of his successful business, Simon spent twelve years working on over thirty property refurbishment and development projects for both himself and his clients. These included listed conversions as well as buy-to-lets, growing his own portfolio in the process. His attention to detail and quality produced profitable results. He brought this additional practical building knowledge to Stopwatch, enabling an effective understanding and communication with the trades during projects.

Simon was a great team player and problem solver. He inspired and motivated others with his conversation, always taking the time for people wherever he went. His effective interpersonal skills and warm personality enabled him to attract and match together property deals and private investments in his normal day’s work. May he rest in peace.

Sam Elliott-Smith

Sam Elliott-Smith


Sam Elliott-Smith is a highly driven, technically skilled and focussed business professional. During her career, she worked as a marketeer for a number of years whilst in her spare time, she was renovating, developing and project managing her own residential properties including the re-design and renovation of a Victorian barn conversion.

After having her children, she retrained in heritage design, founded and ran her business for a range of clients with Grade I & II* listed buildings, including the National Trust and Lord Devon at Powderham Castle. She mainly worked with commercial clients, analysing, researching, planning, managing and executing a range of design, refurbishment and development projects. Sam also taught interior design through a series of workshops and presentations to developers and to the tourism industry.

Desiring more autonomy over the properties and projects, Sam then began investing in Exeter and started with commercial leases (rent-to-rent), creating co-living accommodation for working professionals in Exeter and followed this up with a year’s training in commercial conversions before setting up the Stopwatch group of companies with Simon Lane.

Sam’s attention to detail and analytical approach whilst being able to see the bigger picture consistently delivers high quality results, making her a natural project manager. Her warm, yet determined personality makes it easy for her to connect with all the company’s stakeholders ensuring excellent customer, investor and agent relations.