The Throstle Lane project is now fully complete, tenanted and making rental income.
There’s some transformation shots of the works included in this post, because everyone loves seeing the before and after differences!
The final tally of the refurbishment cost for this house has been my most expensive project refurbishment yet… but there was a vast amount of things to put right in order to make the property safe and lettable.
The missing lintel structural wall defect fix and gaping hole in the roof definitely played their part in stretching the budget!
However, there are always unknowns and unforeseen extra works which pop up in any property project – the only thing you can be guaranteed of is to expect the unexpected!
So it is always better to pay the cost of getting things fixed right at the start to ensure a safe, watertight home for the tenant, and thus lessen the likelihood of problems arising once the property is occupied.
The tenant family are settling in nicely and really enjoying their new home – which has been a fabulous fresh start in a new area of Leeds for them.
Leeds City Council are paying the tenant’s rent as she is a single mother claiming benefits – and to lessen the risk for me, they are paying the rent direct to myself every four weeks. A win-win for all!
This superb story has been made possible by the kindness of the private investors for trusting me with their funds:
# A dilapidated property brought back into use
# A tenant family housed
# A great return to be generated on the private investment funding
# …and a superb example of social responsibility beneficial impact in the local area.
What’s not to love?!?
If you’d also like to be involved in a future project where your funds can be deployed in a socially responsible investment creating great homes for local families, get in touch for a discussion.
Ever since I can remember, I have loved the smell of a new carpet. Call me weird, but there’s something distinctly pleasant about laying down on a new carpet and breathing in its delightful fresh scent.
So you can imagine how excited I get on carpet day – that is, the day of the refurbishment project when the fitter turns up with his vanful of wares – ie the carpet you chose the week before.
I readily “roll out the red carpet” for him, and by the way, it really is worth paying extra to have them professionally fitted. I have tried the DIY carpet fitter role myself, and it just ends up looking like a bodge job.
Bizarrely, no matter how much other refurb work you do in the house, it still always looks unfinished until the floor coverings go down. This covers up a multitude of sins; mainly old floorboards covered with scruffy paint splashes for the decoration.
So fitting the carpets is pretty much the last stage in the project schedule, meaning the end is nigh; your house renovation is nearly finished!
But, some people get their rug in a twist over what sort of carpet to buy for a rental property. If that’s you, don’t worry: I wouldn’t let anyone pull the rug from under you – I’ve got you covered! (groannn…)
Let me take you on a magic carpet ride to Carpet Choice Kingdom…
Points to consider when choosing a carpet for a rental property:
1. Pick one that’s tough and hard wearing. You don’t want to be replacing it quite imminently. 2. Make sure it is felt-backed, as it feels softer underfoot. 3. Bleachproof is best, as the inevitable always happens! So at least give the tenants a chance at getting their stains out. 4. Pick a neutral colour, but not too light – it hides minor stains. 5. Pick a pattern at your peril! They date quite quickly, and often have the effect of making a room look smaller. 6. Underlay, underlay?! Arriba!! It depends on your budget and the smoothness of the floorboards underneath, so I don’t think it’s always a necessity. Make a judgement yourself – and don’t let the carpet salesmen walk all over you! 7. Finally, get a pile fabric instead of a loop style carpet. The reason for this is that if a tenant has a pet, if their claws catch on a loop, it snags and rips an entire thread out of the carpet, meaning you’re left with a long, unrepairable threadbare snag line.
And that’s it!
I’m sure you’re not too floored by these revelations, but I hope you hoovered them all up and that these tips help!
PS – Don’t be shy about protecting your new carpet – you want your expensive asset to last as long as possible after all.I have no qualms at asking potential new tenants to remove their shoes on house viewings. If they get stroppy about that, then perhaps they’ve done you a favour in showing you that they’re not the type of respectful tenant you’d want living in your investment anyway! PPS – I can only apologise for my excessive use of carpet-related puns in this blog. I’m sure, like an old carpet, you’re a little worn out by them, but I’m on a roll; I just can’t help myself! I got all these terrible puns from my other carpet-loving friend. Polly Esther. Definitely it now, take care… and carpet diem x
But What About The Refurbishment Project During This Covid Chaos?
My last update mentioned the good progress we were making on the project at Throstle Lane in Leeds.
If you’ve not yet seen the pictures, it’s a dated ex-council house, where I was undertaking the buy – refurbish – rent out – refurbish model. The intention is to keep the property long term, and it has been bought with private investment funds, to give the investors a fixed return on their capital.
It was going all well… I had a Selco delivery booked for a large amount of large and heavy materials – and then BOOM, Coronavirus hit.
I’m not sure if you’ve heard of this Covid-19 virus that’s sweeping the globe? It’s only been mentioned in the media once or twice…?!!
Effectively, the country has ground to a halt, whilst we all combat this terrible and dangerous disease. Life as we know it is on hold…
But what does this mean for the project?
Well, having studied carefully the Government guidelines and advice, and thought about the pros and cons of pausing the project, I decided to continue with the refurbishment as best and as safely as I can. Refurbishing a house is obviously not the sort of work that one can do from a desk at home.
Gladly, I am not an imbecile, so I have found it reasonably simple to assess the risks, put into place a safe risk assessment plan to manage them, and have cracked on.
After all, there’s a family waiting for this house. And also, time is money, and when it’s somebody else’s money at risk, I’m not prepared to let them down either. And plus, I’m an eternal optimist; I know this dreadful pandemic will be beaten soon, and then we can all get on with our lives and resume some sort of normality.
Some of my planned contractors, labourers and painters have had to be cancelled, due to keeping the guidance of us all keeping socially distant. So that just left on the project the handyman, and er, me.
Luckily my handyman is a recluse anyway, so he poses no risk of interacting with others outside of work hours. The other bonus is that he is superbly multi-skilled, and has already done a vast amount of work himself within the house.
Now the bad news: me…
I’ll be honest, I’m generally just a supervisor on my refurb projects.
I have no manual skills, I am appalling at DIY, and I am physically as gormless and clumsy as they come.
Generally with DIY or garden work in my own house, I start a task, get bored within minutes, regret starting it and not just outsourcing it, and then get stroppy and frustrated and then do a half-arsed slapdash rush job. It’s no coincidence that all my rental properties are in a far better condition than my own house!
But, needs must in this time of shortage, so I have had to dry my eyes, get my hands dirty, and gerronwi’it. I’ve got to keep the end in mind: ie this project is going to be a home for a family, so I can’t let that future family down.
Thus, I have been assisting with the following:
– sweeping and removing rubbish (hey, start slow, earn those labouring stripes!)
– scrabbling about for materials, because my Selco delivery got cancelled. I’ve been desperate for plaster for two weeks now, as all the major suppliers are either closed or out of stock! My own shed has been heavily raided for resources; a supreme bit of luck that I had some kitchen worktops that fitted perfectly!
– mixed some mortar for the roof patching work! Hoiking heavy bags of sand and cement about for it: not so much fun for a weak pathetic Leeds lass with no muscles.
– painting: walls I’m ok with a paint pad, but ceilings are the work of the devil, I can’t see where I’ve already painted!
– helping with dot and dab plasterboarding! Until the handyman realised within seconds I was crap at it and took the trowel off me!
– and the bit I’m most impressed with myself with: apprentice glazier! After the new supporting brickwork lintel had been fitted above the living room window, we took out the window to fill in a large gap above the frame, and I’ll be honest, I was terrified about doing this, knowing how gormless I am.
But although the thought of potentially dropping the very large glass window pane unit terrified me, what scared me more was knowing if I did drop and break it, it would cost me more money to have to buy a new one! So I calmed my panic, composed myself and helped remove and replace that glass with the smoothness and sleekness of a, erm, newborn baby giraffe…
But no glass was smashed, woohoo!
So yes, I have done far more manual work on this project than any of the others. My hands are red raw, and every single day last week I gained a new cut or injury on them, the most unpleasant one being when the naughty saw bit me…
But on the plus side: – I’m doing lots of daily Fitbit steps! – Thus I’m not putting on additional weight during this quarantine! – I’m keeping my labour costs down. – And best of all, the house is getting completed, albeit bit by bit, and slower than expected.
But better to go slow, than have to stop. Remember that the tortoise still won that race!
Upstairs is pretty much finished, all the living room artex has now been plasterboarded over, awaiting some elusive bags of plaster, and we’ve just made a start on the kitchen units, which is always an exciting bit to do.
Don’t forget, if you’d like to see the progress of the refurbishment, then the album for it is on my Facebook page here:
And although I’m not currently viewing any properties for future projects because of the social distancing rules, as soon as they are lifted, I’ll be back on it.
So if you’d like to consider being a potential investor for the future, do get in touch for a discussion on what I can offer you return-wise on your capital – which I guarantee is better than the banks’ abysmal interest rates!
It’s been a few weeks since I posted, because I’ve been busy entertaining myself with the latest refurbishment project in Leeds.
This is a residential house in my area, an 8 minute drive from my front door, and a prime property for a family, a large, roomy ex-council end terrace with front and rear gardens.
The house was very dated, seemingly not having been touched for at least thirty years, due to the deterioration of inside and the décor – which included an old 70s/80s style stone feature fireplace and a 60s style kitchen cabinet!
There were two bedrooms initially, but with clever use of an insulated stud wall, and making good use of the large bedroom with two windows facing each other, this house now has three bedrooms. The new rooms are still decent sizes; and the interior structure of the floor plan has worked out way better in real life than I visualised it in my head, so I am very pleased with the way it has turned out.
As we’re patching the house back up, we’re finding that due to the age of it, more ‘contingency’ work is cropping up – but this is usual in such a dated property, and nothing to panic about.
These unexpected items include a lot of rebuilding of interior walls, as much of the old blown plaster was just coming off in chunks, so we’ve had to go back to brick in lots of areas. The roof also took an unexpected bashing in the recent storms, and many slates have had to be replaced, but that is patching up nicely to become watertight again.
My biggest concern though is the living room window. On looking at every other house surrounding my property, it is clear that when the council replaced everybody’s old wooden windows with new PVC ones, none of the houses had a supportive lintel put in. So my property, along with everybody else’s external brickwork above the window, has dropped, and that is what needs fixing.
The structural engineer has been out to survey what needs doing, the builder has been informed and booked in, so that’s the only major job I’m concerned about – fingers crossed!
On the whole though, the project is going well. First fix electrics have been done, and the rooms are starting to come together and emerge as liveable spaces!
As for the figures for this project, here’s they are:
Asking price on open market: £77,000
Purchase Price: £60,000.
Refurbishment budget: contingency having to be kicked in, so I’ll let you know in due course! But hopefully no more than £12,000, which includes the structural work, roof repairs, full rewire, complete new central heating system and boiler, loads of bonding and replastering, new kitchen, new bathroom, décor and flooring throughout, waste management (including some fly tipped rubbish and cannabis farm which somebody else kindly donated to my drive!) and then finally sort out that jungle of a garden!
Estimation revaluation: £105,000.
I own a near-identical property same street around the corner, 22 doors down, which revalued up at this figure – plus another round the corner sold recently for the same price, so I am confident it will achieve the new value after refurbishment.
This project has been purchased with the assistance of private investor funding.
They are helping me bring the property back into use for a local tenant family to rent out as their long-term home.
In return, the investor is getting a great fixed return on their investment, returned within twelve months – as soon as the property has been refinanced for the uplifted equity value.
If you would also like to invest in a property project for a hands-free passive income – and you love the idea of socially responsible investment in developing homes to enhance the socio-economic welfare of low income families – then do get in contact with me to discuss future projects which need investment.
Today I’m going to tell you a story that spans more than thirty years.
A story of a child’s unfulfilled frustration and disappointment.
A tale of never-ending hope.
But to begin our story, let me take you back to the mid-1980s…
Our story begins in Leeds, with an only child, a shy little poor girl from a single-mother family: me.
I’d always dreamed of having a better life.
Of being as lucky and wealthy as the rest of the kids in my class.
Of actually being able to have some money of my own.
So when the National Westminster Bank ran a campaign which encouraged children to save money in their own account, I saw my chance to make a start.
The incentive to save was strong; you received a new ‘piggy bank’ for coins in the form of pottery pigs every time you reached the next saving milestone.
I opened an account with my £5, received the first pig: Woody the baby, and got cracking collecting my coins.
In time, I saved £25, and Natwest sent me Annabel the pig through the post. This was great.
I kept going, saving my limited pocket money, and finally reached £50, put my savings in the bank, and the next pig Maxwell arrived to reward me for my efforts.
All was going well.
I kept saving hard for the last two pigs; you needed £75 to get Lady Hillary and then £100 meant you received Sir Nathaniel Westminster and thus completed the set.
And then we hit a stumbling block.
Which meant I never ended up getting the last two pigs.
I don’t quite remember exactly what went wrong, because I was young and it is over thirty years ago. But although my saving continued to go well, alas, mine and my mother’s lives did not.
I did have my money saved up for the next pig, but sadly, the savings never reached the bank – because I had to keep lending my mum them to pay for food and living costs. And this pattern kept repeating.
So I never completed my planned set of piggy banks, and then the campaign offer ended in 1988, meaning my set was to remain incomplete forever.
Somehow shit just goes wrong in life – and I hold no resentment against my mum; children can’t be fed on fresh air, she did what she had to do.
I felt sad and disappointed about this, but I also learnt a valuable lesson about life’s priorities and financial management.
But have you ever felt such burning disappointment of failure?
So strong that it still causes you bitterness thirty years later?
That is how I felt about my incomplete set of pigs.
Meanwhile my three little piggies followed me around as I grew up, surviving 8 house moves into adulthood, but always having pride of place in my bedroom.
A reminder of what I achieved, and of what could have been.
And although circumstances meant it wasn’t my fault, those three little piggy children were seemingly nagging and taunting me of how I should have done better.
I should have tried harder. Somehow.
And I know this probably sounds ridiculous to you, readers: getting annoyed over some piggy banks?
But for me, they represented one major feeling: failure.
If you’ve met me in real life, you’ll know that I hate failure.
Leaving things incomplete.
Not finishing things, not doing what I said I would.
It just does not sit right with me – and so I always do my best to achieve things.
And just like in childhood, many things often go wrong for me, no matter how hard I try – but I continue to try, because it’s a better option than giving up.
Failure’s only permanent once you stop trying.
So bearing this in mind, I decided a couple of years ago to try and complete the set.
I looked in charity shops, on eBay, and continued to witter on to my friends about these pigs.
But because Wade Pottery didn’t make as many versions of Lady Hillary and Sir Nathaniel – they were in fewer demand because not many children reached the coveted £100 – these pigs were few and far between.
And if you reached the full set, then like me, you probably wouldn’t have wanted to part with them either. And those people that did want to sell them were charging an extortionate amount for them.
So time, patience and persistence were required.
On Christmas Day 2019, I was absolutely delighted to unwrap the final two pigs Lady Hillary and Sir Nathaniel.
A gift from my friend Nicola, who, having known of my pig-wittering for nearly three decades, had managed to source them somewhere.
I’ll be no-holds-barred brutally honest here: I was utterly fucking delighted.
This was a big deal to me.
Sometimes, although you know it will make no logical sense to onlookers, there’s some things in life that mean a great deal to you – and Nicola helping me complete my set is one of those occasions.
So I’ve wanted to write this blog since Christmas day.
And, as I rightly predicted I would, I have beefed all over the keyboard.
I can’t even tell you why.
Delight of completion, thirty years of disappointment over, the finishing touch to success, maybe?
My five pigs, all together now as a happy family, a complete set.
And I’m superbly chuffed about it.
So, what’s the moral of the story?
What lessons can we learn from this little piggy anecdote?
Money management is a key skill to master in life.
Sometimes life goes wrong. We have to gerronwi’it anyway.
Things don’t always get completed as quickly or successfully as you would like. Expect the unexpected.
Time, patience, and persistence will eventually pay off – even if it is thirty years later.
Only death is unfixable. Everything else can be fixed, in time.
If something is important to you, you’ll find a way to make it happen.
Don’t ever, ever, ever give up on what you want. X
Thanks for reading!
If you’d like to know more about the history of Natwest’s pigs, see here.
I’ll tell you: they make the sellers bump up the price of items and services unnecessarily!
I’ve seen it this week in the local shopping centre.
We’re a few days before Christmas and shoppers were falling over themselves to buy, in short, utter tat. Christmas presents items such as soap sets, make up, aftershaves, tacky toys, novelty gifts etc.
It’s always baffled me why the price of these goods massively increases just because the manufacturers have boxed them up in jazzy snazzy festive boxes aimed for the Christmas market.
Look at the actual products inside people: you’re telling me it’s worth the bumped-up value just because it’s in a nice glittery box?!
Ditto New Year’s Eve – where many pubs, free for 364 days of the year, now sell you tickets on the door just to let you in to buy their beverages – what’s all that about?!
And as for the word ‘wedding’ – ooof, it’s a free reign licence to sting you!
But my gripe today is when contractors bump up the price of a job just because they hear the word LANDLORD.
There is some bizarre assumption by the world as a whole that most landlords are super rich, greedy money-grabbing fatcats.
I am not most landlords.
And although I acknowledge that there are some people in property world exactly like that, in my experience, most of the property landlords I know locally are just hard working people doing their best to provide a service, and they’re not super-wealthy.
Even though we’d like to be!!
But sadly, this urban myth remains prevalent amongst contractors, who persist in giving you ridiculous prices for services, just because they know you’re a landlord.
I have this running joke, when my friends and other people say “Oh, you must be rich, you’ve got all these houses!”
To which I reply “I’m not rich, BECAUSE I’ve got all these houses!”
Boilers don’t fix themselves you know! All maintenance and repairs works must be paid for – and sadly the Maintenance Monster rears its head in rental properties way too often for my liking!
Now when I talk about fair prices or fleecing, this is not about me being super tight, or mean, or pennypinching (oh ok, I am a bit, I’m Yorkshire, but we all are up here!)
I’m not saying that contractors aren’t worth their price.
Some definitely are – and they’ll know I appreciate their good work and fair fees because I’m loyal; if they look after me, I’ll use their services again and again.
Several times recently I have had discussions with contractors, where they were nice guys, I liked them and wanted to give them the business – but then they went and gave me a stupid quote.
And then things get awkward when you have to tell them: ‘OWWWW MUCH?!?! That’s double what I’ve ever paid before, sorry, but you’re not getting the job.
I know people still need to make a profit, and they’ve got their own business to run and their own families to feed.
I get that.
But I also know what things are worth, because of my experience and prices I’ve paid for things before.
Yes, I might be a landlord, but I’m not a gullible moron who wants to set fire to my money just because you’re greedy.
So yes, sadly, I do find it difficult to undergo any refurbishment work from fair people for a fair price.
Add into the mix that I’m female and the amount of piss-taking pricing and patronising doubles.
(Don’t believe me? Ask any other female property investor!)
I just want a good job done by good guys in a decent timescale for a fair price – without being ripped off – is that too much to ask?!!
It’s sheep that follow someone blindly, and end up getting fleeced – so you need a fair price, not a fleecing.
Here’s a couple of tips when looking for contractors to do work:
Find some local firms who provide the service you need. Meeting them in person is good, such as at networking meetings, or ask for referrals from people you know who have used their services.
Check them out online, look at their social media, examples of work, testimonials.
Arrange for each of your shortlisted contractors to come and do a site visit. Not all at the same time though!
Ps – some of these contractors won’t even turn up.
I’m not joking…
If they don’t even ring you to explain with a genuine excuse for their absence, remove them from your list
4.Bear in mind their attitude, personality and demeanour on the site visit.
If you hate them automatically, your gut instinct is giving you a stark warning to avoid avoid avoid!
Like the recent patronising guy who kept calling me ‘flower’… Imagine the drama I’d have had getting him to do what I needed without a load of hassle and fuss?!
5. Await quotes. This can be anything from 2 hours to never.
Yes really. Some people you will never hear from again.
I’m still waiting for a quote from a guy 18 months ago who spent two hours travelling and pricing up a job!
(Makes interesting fun seeing him dance about to avoid me when he attends the same networking meeting…
…hey, maybe he just decided he hates me, and that’s ok too!)
6. Assess all the quotes for the best. This might not necessarily be the cheapest.
Stupid quotes can also be removed at this point.
In my head, that’s basically the contractor saying: “I don’t like you, I don’t want to work with you, so I’m going to rip you off”. So that’s those guys doing you a favour, they’ve heard the word LANDLORD and those pounds signs start flashing in their eyes. Not today, and not with me, my friend!
7. Pick your favourite contractor with their fair quote.
Book them in for the job. Ideally, it’s someone you know, like and trust.
8. Let them do the job!
Oversee their work, address any queries that arise, but no need to micromanage. They’re competent experts, not schoolkid apprentices.
9. I’m going to add this in, as it seems to be a rising problem for contractors…
Once they’ve done their job to a great standard – pay them!!! There’s been a horrendous rise lately in service providers not being paid for the work they’ve done, or people withholding their payment for ages – and that’s simply not fair.
If they’ve done you a great job, delivered what you asked, why would you not pay them immediately?
And if you can’t afford to do that, then you shouldn’t be booking them in for work until you can.
10. Appreciate their efforts. Make sure they know you’re thankful for their super work. Leave them online testimonials. Refer them to other people you know. Use their services over and over again.
So there we have it… we all love a fair price, but we hate a fleecing!
And yes, for the record, I am a Libra starsign – the sign of the justice scales, of fairness and equality – so woe betide anyone who tries to upset that balance!
Back in the misty depths of time, not quite as far back as ancient Babylon, but a few decades back to that awesome period known as the 1980s…
In this era there lived in mythical beast: Margaret Thatcher.
Love or hate her, this Iron Lady was responsible for passing a scheme in the Housing Act in 1980, meaning that tenants of council houses now had the Right to Buy the home they rented from their local housing association.
By some strange twist of fate another mythical beast/legend occurred in this same year: me!
It is therefore a beautiful coincidence that those ex-local authority properties we find in council housing estates are my favourite type of property to buy – and I’ll tell you why:
Since 1980’s Right to Buy policy was introduced, 6.5 million council houses became tenant-owned in the UK. As a result ,nowadays there is plenty of this stock type to go at as more and more of them come on the market for re-sale
Ex-council houses are generally very large and roomy – just what an ideal tenant family would like to rent!
They generally have gardens with them, often large ones at that. We know that outdoor space is desirable for those looking to rent, especially those with kiddies who need somewhere to run around and burn off steam
Ex-council houses are generally in good nick, as before sale it was down to the council to manage the upkeep and maintenance of them. You might find them a little outdated, but not very often will you find that they are dangerous.
They are well-constructed, but beware: some types are made of prefabricated concrete, but a lot of the time these beauties are made of my favourite traditional red brick which has lasted decades. Strong and sturdy, that’s what we like!
They are very good value for money, typically much cheaper than your other local residential estates.
“But who would I rent such a house to?” I hear you say.
Just normal families, from the local area!
And if you’ve got some pre-conceived stereotypical idea that all people who live on council estates are scruffy scumbags with a range of issues and problems, who would find himself at home on the Jeremy Kyle show… then you couldn’t be further from the truth.
What if I told you that I was brought up in council housing?
When I mention this fact to people, occasionally, with select, narrow minded people, a look of disdain spreads across their face, as if I am going to mug them or stab them.
They give the impression that somehow I should feel ashamed of my past – which I don’t, and have no reason to. Where you’ve come from is no correlation to where you choose you’re going.
The last time I checked I definitely didn’t have 15 kids, a pending jail sentence and a drug addiction!
Those of you that have met me in real life will also know that I wouldn’t be seen dead in a chavvy tracksuit, and I am pleased to report that I have all my own teeth. The stereotype simply isn’t applicable to everyone.
DID YOU KNOW…
…along with 17% OF ALL HOUSEHOLDS IN THE UK…
…the following successful celebrities all lived on council estates in their life? JK ROWLING – DAVID ICKE – ELLIE GOULDING – ELTON JOHN – CRAIG DAVID – ALISON MOYET – JOE WICKS – CHERYL COLE – MICK JAGGER – LILY ALLEN – ALEXANDRA BURKE – SUSAN BOYLE – ANT AND DEC – DUNCAN BANNATYNE – JAMES McAVOY – LEWIS HAMILTON – ALAN SUGAR
My single mother brought me up in a very nice Council house, which she kept IMMACULATE.
And hey ho, being settled in a nice house meant that I was able to progress in life, and escape the socioeconomic issues that were placed on us.
Being poor is not a crime.
But discriminating someone for it is.
And part of “My Why” is that because I personally benefitted by living rented council housing, I feel a moral obligation to assist with providing houses to kids that were just like me. Families that need a solid footing in life to enable them to improve their situation and their future.
Let me be clear on this: if you’ve had a tenant in the past who has caused you problems, it is not because they were a council tenant, or on benefits – it is because they were a wretch.
Good people exist even in the lower demographics of society, and I think, as successful business owners, it is our duty help those that want to help themselves.
Many residents of council estates are proud people who want to better themselves – and Thatcher’s Right to Buy scheme meant that those who worked hard could get on the housing ladder, and thus fulfil that great British Dream of owning your own house.
But isn’t there a shortage of housing?
Buying all the council houses means there’s less houses for those in need surely?
The ones we’re buying have already been bought at least once before. They’ll never get to go back and be council properties again. And yes, that has caused a massive strain on the availability of rental housing, but we as property investors haven’t caused that. If anything, we’re doing the councils a favour by bringing rental accommodation back into use, especially if you choose to house families on benefits.
What about rental demand for an ex-council house?
Here in Leeds there are 24,000 households on the housing register and yet they can only let around 5,000 properties a year. People are on a waiting list to bid for properties as they become available, and a quick glance on the Leeds Homes website tells me the wait to be able to bid for a two-bedroomed house can be anywhere from 3 months – right up to 58 months.
And so, we know why ex-local authority houses make excellent properties, we know there is strong demand to fill them, we know we can rent them to nice normal families, and you know why I personally think we should be helping.
Go out and buy some ex-council houses and help those families thrive!
Here are my top five reasons why being in property is great!
Here we go…
Number 1: You get to help people.
First and foremost, you are providing homes for tenants. There’s a real shortage of rental accommodation, and if you can help provide that service, it benefits both parties.
A great reason to start with!
Number 2: You play the role of magician!
There’s something very special about making a superb transformation.
You take an utter grotbox of a house, throw a little magic dust / good contractors / cash and effort at it, et voilá: one great refurbished house!
It feels good to be able to bring dilapidated housing stock back into use.
Nobody wants to see them rot and go to rack and ruin anyway – not in my beautiful Leeds!
Number 3: You only have to do the real hard work once.
I love single let housing.
Once you’ve done the hard work; ie refurbished them to a good standard and rented them out to a lovely tenant, there’s actually very little to do.
Yes, there might be the occasional inspection to do, or a couple of times a year the tenant will ring with a maintenance problem that’s arisen to be fixed… but on the whole, these rentals just keep ticking away nicely.
What’s not to love?!?
Number 4: Property gives you the freedom to do whatever you like!
Looking after a rental portfolio doesn’t actually take up a lot of time, meaning you have a good amount of freedom to choose how you spend your time.
And I love doing whatever I like!
Number 5: Investors lend you money towards property projects, and you give them a superb return for it.
In this particular case study in Leeds, we used a legal loan agreement for the investor to lend me funds to purchase this house.
I refurbished the property to a good standard, uplifted the value, and placed a tenant family in it as their long-term home.
Then I put a mortgage on the house, and drew out most of the uplifted equity.
This enabled me to repay the investor back his capital, plus a very healthy return – which was much better than anything he could have received in interest from high street banks!
Investment funds in this project were returned in 9 months and 3 days. 🗓
The investor made a superb profit passively; I helped him, and he helped me, and we both helped that tenant family!
If you’d have cash sitting in a bank making poor returns – get in touch to discuss employing funds in a project like this to make you a far better return on investment.
Kellyann Martin is a Property Investment Strategist based in Leeds.
So as it’s October 31st, I will share with you some Halloween Horrors… of Property!
There are many scary things about property that keep us terrified and awake at night… and some are just downright horrors!
First one: mysterious happenings in the middle of the night! 😱
During a property’s refurbishment, sometimes spooky things happen when you’re not there… 🤔
Here’s some examples of things I’ve experienced – and how to avoid them rising from the dead again on future projects! ⚰️
👻 Curse: a magic apparition of a load of old junk added to my scrap pile 😤 ✝️ To break the spell: avoid this by collating all your junk materials, old bathrooms etc, INSIDE until the day the skip arrives. Then whang all the junk in at once and get them to lift the skip the same day, to avoid demon neighbours inflicting their curses and junk on you! 👍
🎃 Curse: paranormal activity, in the form of your rubbish bins magically disappearing overnight! 😤 ✝️ break the spell by fetching your bins inside the property, or they will go missing. Why? Because often some impish neighbours will fancy an extra bin – and many councils now charge for replacement bins. 🤨
👹 Curse: on one project, some utter evil devil had dumped a monster-sized bag of, erm, stinking doggy ectoplasm in my garden, for me to kindly dispose of 💩😱😤 ✝️ BEGONE SATAN!!! Sometimes in property – and life – very shitty things happen – quite literally. No cure for this curse, sometimes people are just fiends and wretches out to inflict hurt and suffering on you. To deal with this though, you have to adopt a strong PMA (positive mental attitude) for bad things, to keep those demonic vibes at bay. So think positively about such demonic acts – use your strength and will to tell them: “the power of Christ compels you… to not be so powerful so that your horrible nonsense won’t get to me!!!”
Remember, things can only upset you if you allow them to! 💪😁✝️
Next Tale from the Crypt…
Sometimes when you get the keys to a property, you will find that the house is possessed – by all sorts of creatures, dead or alive!
Bugs, woodlice, silverfish, mice, birds, and our old Halloween favourite, those beastly spiders! 🕷🕷🕷
However, all those fail in comparison when I remember the Longroyd project, with the Bugs of Doom…
This particular house was the deceased estate of a little old lady.
All the carpets had been stripped out – but little did we know, that lurking in the floorboards, ready to pounce, was THE CURSE OF THE INDESTRUCTIBLE KILLER FLEAS!! 😩☠️👾☠️👾
We all got bit by these fleabag masses; itchy, horrid biting creatures; urrrgh, I shudder just remembering them.
And then worst of all, because they get in your clothes, I inadvertently brought them home with me – and despite never before being infected, in all her years… I ended up giving my own Pusscat fleas… 😱😱😱
I WAS THE SPREADER OF EVIL! 👺👾🙀😿😾
That house took me four flea bombs and a mass amount of cleaning to rid that satanic scourge, and then the same again in my own house.
So I’m not a fan of house possessions, by horrible creepy crawly poltergeists!
If you have similar ‘unwanted tenant’ squatters – purge your property thoroughly with an exorcism: with hard cleaning graft, prayers and strong chemicals. It’s the only way to rid yourself of such demons!!
Moving on, another cautionary tale that strikes immense fear into my being…
The very thought of it brings me out in a cold sweat, and undertaking the necessary evil of it is like a dagger to my heart… 🔪🥶🥵🤯🤮
What I am talking about?
If you’re from Yorkshire, I know you’ll already know what I’m about to say…
… the biggest horror in property is THE CURSE OF THE BURNING PURSE!!! 😩😫😭😭😭💷🔥
Property costs money, in all sorts of fiendish ways: ❌ purchase ❌ stamp duty ❌ insurance ❌ legal fees ❌ gas safety ❌ refurbishment ❌ operating expenses ❌ maintenance ❌ utilities ❌ voids ❌ repairs ❌ naughty tenants ❌ 🆘
The scariest thing in the world for a Yorkshireman is having money extracted from our weary paws.
We hate the evil, bloodsucking flesh-eating bogeyman known as the Grim Reaper Taxman!
And as for the eerie cackling call of the House Repairs Goblin, he terrifies us with his creepy visits way too often!
Still when you have families living in your property – many of them angels, and not werewolves – you’ve got to do what’s right to protect them from evil.
So you unnervingly summons your petrified purse / wallet from beneath the grave, dust off the cobwebs, and see what decomposing funds lurk within.
Then zombie-like and crying, you perform a spell, which mostly involves setting fire to your money.
After this chilling sorcery, magic apparitions then appear – more recently in my case, in the form of a new light fitting, a new door handle, and a new electric cooker 😩💷🔥
So beware all ye wannabe property investors – have ye got the stomach to cope with such grizzly, ghastly and horrifying money-sucking phantoms?!? 😭🤮
And Yorkshire folk: normally your purse has to be prised from your corpse’s cold, dead fingers… can you perform some supernatural hocus pocus and… ACTUALLY SPEND SOME MONEY?!?
Terrifying stuff, I know, it scares me too…
Be afraid… be very afraid… 😱😱😱
Finally, this last topic is the scariest yet.
It can either be a trick or a treat, depending on how you prepare yourself.
The most terrifying thing in property are… bloodsucking vampires.
What do I mean by this?
I mean that there are some horrible people in this industry that are out to bleed you dry for all they can get.
Examples of these demons include: ☠️ beastly cowboy builders ☠️ bungling scarecrow solicitors ☠️ bloodsucking bridging firms ☠️ vampires who want to extract all your time, knowledge and education for free ☠️ horrible trolls out to hurt and criticise you ☠️ incompetent zombie workmen ☠️ repulsive RIP-off merchants ☠️ petrifying Ponzi schemes ☠️ shady sharks out to strip you of your money ☠️ outrageous ogres who make all sorts of unbelievable claims about ROI ☠️ untrustworthy shyster wolves who don’t return your investment funds.
I’m not pulling any punches here. It’s a spine-chilling warning. The most terrifying part about this post is that it’s all true.
These nasty people do exist, and they walk amongst us – often smiling and beguiling us with their witchcraft.
I myself have experienced several of the above, and I know that many of my investor friends have too.
So what can we do to ensure we get a little less trick, and a lot more treat?
Here are some tips, to renounce the evil: ✝️ Don’t work with people you don’t know, like or trust 🥰 ✝️ Do your due diligence on people – are they who they say they are? How do you know? Can they show you evidence and proof? 🧐 ✝️ Google them! Reviews, testimonials, online presence, Companies House, images, news… EVERYTHING! Sometimes it’s in your own interest to be a bit stalker-ish… 🤔🧟♀️ ✝️ You are a grown adult of your own free will. If someone is putting you under pressure to part with cash, your internal alarm bells should be ringing 🚫 ✝️ Trust your gut instinct. If anything feels wrong, for any reason – don’t do it 👊👌👍
Phew! Terrifying stuff!
But forewarned is forearmed. Use these tips above as your vampire-slaying kit. Add in some garlic if you like! Avenge these property monsters!
Although I’d leave the knives and weapons at home… or at least until the Halloween moonlight hits… 😏🔪
Have a spooky and safe Halloween everyone! x x x
Kellyann Martin is a Property Investment Strategist based in Leeds.
For more details on working with Kellyann, visit the website
I’m writing this because of a little occurrence that happened yesterday, which I haven’t been able to stop thinking about.
I had put my car in for the MOT in the morning and so had to get the bus into Leeds. I was booked in to attend a workshop.
Whilst I was on the bus, it went through one of my property investment patches, one of the poorer areas.
A young lass on the seat behind me began having a phone conversation. Now I didn’t have much choice but to listen to this girl’s conversation, and as it panned out, I began to feel sorry for her.
She was on the phone to what appeared to be some sort of loan or debt repayment company – explaining how she was baffled that a payment of £19 had been missed and that she couldn’t afford the double payments of £38 plus a £12 late payment charge.
I listened, and felt bad for her – especially as during her conversation she triggered all my emotional key phrases, such as “I’m a single mum”, “I can’t afford that”, and “If I pay you all that I’m going to be left short this week”.
This phone call had lasted ten minutes by now while she argued her case.
I had a discreet look round at her, bearing in mind I hadn’t seen her up to now, just heard her phone call.
She was a young lass in her early 20s, plainly and casually dressed. She looked quite tidy, not rough or drug-addicted, nor too extravagant, jazzy or flashy – just a normal young girl who appeared to be having some hardship.
I ummed and aahed to myself, and decided that I would try and help her.
I looked in my purse. I’m a bit like the Queen these days in that I don’t often carry real money anymore (in fact did you know that only 30% of transactions in the UK now are cash? But that’s another story…)
However, I had a 5 pound note in my purse.
It wasn’t much, but it would make me feel better knowing that she’d have enough cash to make sure she had food for her kid.
I thought about my plan to give her this fiver.
What if she was insulted?
In the past, I’ve had people feel sorry for me, when I was a skint kid with a poor single mother – and I know how that humiliation burns.
Her conversation continued, and she mentioned to the person on the other end of the line that she was annoyed that she was having to have this embarrassing conversation on a public bus.
I felt her humiliation for her, the last thing anyone wants to be doing is airing private problems in front of everyone.
The bus arrived at the main stop on Leeds and everyone started to disembark. She got up, continuing her phone call, and I immediately got up after her, discreetly touched her on the arm and tried to give her the fiver.
What happened next baffled, confused and surprised me.
She laughed, moved the phone away from her face and said, “Oh it’s alright, don’t worry, I’m lying to them”. And then a farcical scenario occurred, where I didn’t believe her, tried to give her the money anyway and she laughed and refused.
I got off the bus absolutely bewildered.
I contemplated this.
I thought how convincing her story was.
And how I, normally cynical and savvy, had believed what I had heard from her.
Am I going soft?
How could I have not spotted that she wasn’t genuine?
I’m normally so good at spotting fibs and incongruencies; my gut instincts are very strong.
And then I was baffled: she had easily lied to a stranger on the phone that she didn’t know, but then told the truth to someone right in front of her, when they offered the help of money.
I laughed at this juxtaposition.
Was she lying to them?
Or just lying to me?
And if them; are things really so bad that being short of £19 is an issue?
What would have happened if I’d had a twenty-pound note to offer?
I genuinely thought that she needed help, and tried to give her it. We don’t see people as they are, but as we are.
What would you have done in that situation?
And how would you have reacted to her revelation?
I went on to my workshop, which was about private investment.
It became absolutely clear to me that you really need to know someone very well when making an investment.
How can you ever be sure you trust someone with your money?
And know for certain that they’re not a wretch?
I’ve met people before, and within half an hour of meeting them, they’ve offered to lend me money. This makes me very nervous and dubious, and I tell them, “But you hardly know me!”.
It makes me concerned how easily other people agree to things so quickly. I’m nervous for them: not because I’m a wretch who will rip them off – but because there are other people out there who will.
I want people to know me first before they invest with me.
Because although I know that I’m trustworthy, it’s very important to me that I know that other people know that I am trustworthy as well.
I’m not content with just taking someone’s money to invest if I think they’re uneasy about me.
After all, anyone could say anything on the internet, and perhaps, like me, you could be fooled by a one-sided conversation.
My point is this: meet people in person before investing anything: time, effort, or money.
Get to know them.
Watch what they do and how they behave, over a period of time.
Get proof that they are what they say they are.
Because I would absolutely hate to think that someone has taken advantage of your good nature.
Even if it is only a fiver…
Kellyann is a full time property investor and investment strategist, based in Leeds, West Yorkshire.
For further details of her work, and how she can help you, please visit: