My Property Journey

My Introduction to Property Investment
I was introduced to Property Investment in Bristol in 1996, by my husband. He had just rented out a house he had bought. By 1997, house prices had fallen dramatically and Buy-To-Let mortgages were still very much in their infancy, however he re-mortgaging equity out of this first house, to build a property portfolio in North Bristol. By the time our careers moved us to Maidenhead, he had accumulated a total of five properties.

To establish ourselves on the housing market in Maidenhead we did what we now see as a ‘cardinal sin’, between us we sold three houses, leaving the other three properties to bring in a healthy passive income each month.

In 2003 my husband was made redundant from his corporate role in Prudential, and became a trainee Mortgage Broker on a commission only basis. The income received from our properties was a welcome relief. Then in 2005 he established our family business Alton Mortgages Ltd.

Errors of Judgement
In 2006 we decided it was time to invest again.
This time however, complacency was our enemy; our homework and due diligence was non-existent, as we foolishly trusted the glossy sales literature produced by the large impersonal property investment companies. We got ourselves caught up in the off plan buy-to-let ‘hype’, and subsequently purchased an inner-city flat in Manchester, a town centre flat in Maidenhead and a 2 bed maisonette in South Shields. . The quoted off-plan rental figures and valuations never materialised and in particular in Manchester, supply out stripped demand for tenants, due to the sheer volume of flats Completing simultaneously. We were lucky each property just ‘washed its face’.

The lessons learnt from these ‘poor’ investments have however been instrumental in shaping our strategy for investing in property today!

Bad Timing
Over this same period our Mortgage Business had two highly successful years, and we felt financially secure enough for me to resign from corporate life, to achieve more flexibility to support our young family. I studied to be a Mortgage Broker and after 12 years as an employee of Xerox I left the relative security of my senior managerial role to join my husband in the family business.

 

Just a few weeks later the Credit Crunch started to bite, mortgages dropped off dramatically and my days as a Mortgage Broker were short lived. The mortgage network we were linked to went Bankrupt, swallowing a large quantity of our money and it was worrying times for us as a family.
It was however exactly the ‘wake up call’ we needed, we realised we had become too reliant on income which funnelled through one source, and over which we had limited control. Being self-employed we had also become heavily dependent on ‘active income’ i.e. getting paid for the work we did, which was fine until the work wasn’t there anymore.

All this time the income from our property (our passive income) continued to be paid monthly.

The Light Bulb Moment

 

However, the true ‘light bulb’ moment only came when I read ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki, and grasped the difference between an asset and a liability. It was at that moment we decided to focus on building an asset rich portfolio which pumped money into our family every month, whether we were working or not. In line, with this new ‘asset building’ strategy, we also became Utility Warehouse Independent Distributors, as the distributorship is a willable, saleable asset with the ability to produce another residual income stream.

Education – the key to success
Regarding property investing we recognised the world had changed dramatically, and we wanted to learn from our mistakes, so re-educating ourselves was the key to our success. I became a student of Mark Homer and Rob Moore at Progressive Property www.progressiveproperty.co.uk. Having spent both time and money on their courses, I realised to stay successful property education is a continuum and so I became a member of their VIP / Graduate course, which I still attend monthly.

Investing for our Future
Through Alton Mortgages we had made connections in the city of Nottingham and having re-mortgaged equity out of our home we wanted to build a strong asset base, which maximised our income from property, and therefore our return on capital.

Armed with my updated knowledge we realised that the 10% – 12% gross rental yields achieved in Nottingham represented a fantastic opportunity and far exceeded that which I could achieve in Berkshire. Our limited pot of money could also purchase eight properties compared to only two in Berkshire, spreading our risk while maximising our income. So I made the commitment to visit Nottingham every week. I built relationships, which included Estate Agents, a Letting Agent and a Refurbishment team. All of whom have now become key players in our portfolio building strategy.

We started investing again in January 2010 and at the time of writing this are currently in the process of purchasing our tenth property for our family – eight of which have been Repossessions. Our portfolio will then stand at sixteen properties. We have plans to grow this further.

Alton Property Partners
Having gained the investment experience, built strong connections (with access to repossessions) and a reliable, trustworthy refurbishment team, it was a natural progression to set up Alton Property Partners to benefit others wishing to invest in property. Particularly those prevented from taking advantage of the current ‘buyers market’ due to existing time commitments, or nervousness over making a mistake if they go it alone.

Alton Property Partners offers a ‘one stop’ personalised property investment service. Investors benefit from my time, knowledge and connections and my husband’s Mortgage Business to fast track their property investment plans. My passion for this business, coupled with my personal drive, has already resulted in me working to secure ten investment properties for others; all have been purchased Below Market Value and cash-flow positively.

The skills I developed in my twelve years at Xerox (Sales, Service, Finance and Project Management) have all come together in Alton Property Partners, and I am thoroughly enjoying the journey of helping other families to achieve their financial goals.

Call me now to find out how I can help you achieve your property investing goals. Or Click on the ‘Contact Me’ button and I will be back to you shortly.