I started out in property the first time around in 2004 buying my first property a refurb that was for me to live in but ignited the buzz for investing and shortly after finishing it became a rental property. I went on to amass around £5m worth of property between 2006 and 2009.
Then the crash hit ferociously in the fall of 2008, everything changed in quite a short amount of time, up until then finance had been easy to come by and properties had only gone up in value since the late 90’s being 29 when the crash hit I hadn’t known much else other than these boom times.
Seemingly overnight everything had changed and I wasn’t sure what to do, also I didn’t really need to do too much I could reasonably comfortably live off the the income generated by my portfolio, this was helped quite a bit by the interest rate drops – at one point interest rates dropped 2% in one day making a difference of several thousand pounds in mortgage payments over my portfolio.
So I sat out the storm, waited for things to settle and once out the other side I could decide on the plan to move forward.
In hindsight that was a bit of a mistake, easing up off the gas peddle meant that I was slowing down, the momentum that I had built up over the last few years was put aside and quite frankly I became lazy, I had gotten used to the hussel and bussel of business and property on a daily basis and it was kind of nice to not be flying around at 100 miles an hour every day. So I didn’t really do a lot other than wait for the storm to pass.
In mid 2010 I got the first alarm bells that something was wrong with one of my business partners, he’d missed a payment to me and also missed mortgage payments on the properties that we owned together, It soon became apparent that he had over stretched himself and I took back control of our portfolio as well as the properties his company managed for other investors, I set to work on sorting out he problems and made great in roads with the other investors properties as well as a lot that we owned together.
Then I was hit with other problems along with finding out that the work I thought we where doing to bring that properties back up to scratch was missing and none of the work had been done. Then the other problems hit forming a perfect storm, such as a company I had quite a bit of money invested with collapsing, a property that we had owned without a mortgage appeared to have a charge on it from a private investor, looking in to this it turned out that I wasn’t mentioned on the title – an oversight on my behalf and probably a case of professional negligence on behalf of the solicitor who dealt with it – a prominent solicitors in the property investing world.
All of this didn’t finish me off but it did mean that I had to turn around the property business with limited funds.
After a year or so of struggling to get the properties turned around (with some success’s) I realised it was a bigger task than I could manage even with a full time property manager as boots on the ground helping me with the daily tenant issues. At this point a previous contact reared his head with a company he was involved with helping out landlords in tight spots, he claimed to be able to take over control of the properties with their national lettings team, deal with the council – I had been getting lots of grief from a particularly un-friendly housing standards officer who wasn’t willing to help me help him in that I housed their tenants and we all needed to work together to keep their tenants in decent accommodation whilst installing a program of improvements – the other departments in the council couldn’t work with him either and it became a complete charade.
In the end what this company did was run off with £20k of my rent money that should of gone to pay mortgages, instantly destroyed any relationship I had with the council and all the work I had put in to pacifying them for the last 2 years and landed me in court. It turns out this company where basically just con men praying on landlords with few other options.
This was the final nail in the coffin and I had no other option but to fall on my sword – on the 13 of November 2013 I declared Bankruptcy at Norwich Crown Court.
There is obviously a lot more to this story but that would take me several thousand more words, ultimately I had learnt a lot of lessons over this period and began re-building my life.
Fast forward to today (July 2017) I forcibly kept myself out of property for a few years to let the dust settle and recover a bit, but I just couldn’t stay away for ever, property seemed to keep calling me back.
At the beginning of this year I took the decision to head back in, as I said it “keeps calling me back” currently I have 3 projects, firstly my podcast – I’ve been a fan of podcasts for years and I think one of the problems with my first property endeavours was not building a community and putting myself out there as an authority. I see a lot of bad information and dodgy operators in the property sector if these people are cutting themselves a living giving bad advice then really I feel I kind of have an obligation to counter that, if I can save one person from falling prey to one of these charlatans then it’s worth it.
I also love helping people, it gives me a real buzz and I truly believe that teaching others makes you better at your craft, it forces you to think about what you do in a way that you wouldn’t normally.
The podcast to start with is documenting my return, there is more about my journey there, if your interested you can check out all the episodes at http://intelligentpropertyinvesting.com
The second project is something that I should of got going a long while ago and certainly should of been doing since 2009, it’s something that I believe is the fastest way to get going in property and the missing link to creating sustainable monthly cashflow. This is Sourcing for Investors, finding properties has never really been a problem for me, there are so many ways of finding great properties but I have always struggled with how to package it to an investor and how to build a database of investors, this has always stopped me from sourcing — really I didn’t try and when I think about it there are just as many ways of building a database of investors hungry for potent property deals! For updates on how this is going check out my podcast!
Thirdly I’m doing a PropTech start up, a proper one that’s funded and has all the bells and whistles! We’re still in pre start with this and it’s still quite secretive until we get our initial offering out but I’m doing regular updates on this on the podcast as well.
This is keeping me pretty busy and so far things are going well.