Andrew and Christina Wallace - Franchise Partners
Joined PPP: August 2014
Previous Career: Chartered Civil Engineer
Portfolio Location: Watford
Biggest Benefit: Security
"We sold our family home to invest in property"
For the once risk-averse Andrew and Christina Wallace, the thought of selling their beloved family home of more than 20 years to become professional property investors would have seemed absurd. Yet, in the summer of 2014, that’s exactly what they did.
Like many people who’ve enjoyed successful corporate careers, they were in desperate need of a change. The long hours of the working week were squeezing family life into shorter and shorter weekends. They wanted a challenge again, but also security. They toyed with several business ideas but failed to take any action. That was until their son, who worked in an estate agent, came home with Steve Bolton’s book, Successful Property Investing.
“I was immediately sold on the whole ethos of Platinum Property Partners and their way of investing in property,” said Andrew. “We’d been looking at ways I could escape the rat race for years, but nothing had seemed right. We’d never considered franchising because it had always sounded as if you were buying a job.” Convinced that this was what they had been looking for, Andrew and Christina moved fast. They attended a Discovery Day and met some of the existing franchise partners.
The only caveat was the money they would need to build a meaningful portfolio of high-end HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation). Living in North Finchley, property prices were above average and they’d need at least £400,000 to get started. Andrew said: “We knew that if we really wanted to replace our income and achieve our ideal lifestyle, we needed to take this risk and sell our home. We had hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of equity in our home, but we realised it was ‘dead money’ unless we sold the house and made our equity ‘work’ for us.”
Christina added: “It was a lovely Edwardian house that our four children had grown up in. But for us, it made complete sense - to move our bricks and mortar from our own home to a portfolio of investment properties in a cheaper area that gave us massive returns.”
So, after developing their first 7-bedroom HMO, which was originally a 3-bed house, they sold up and moved into a rented house in Muswell Hill. A further two HMOs followed – an 8-bedroom property, then a year later, a further 8-bedroom property which has just recently been tenanted. “All of the properties are in the Watford area, running at 99% occupancy, and the returns have been even better than expected - 22% ROI and £35,000 annual profit per property on average.”
“Just knowing how to utilise space and understanding all the planning and licensing regulations that come with larger HMOs have made our properties so much more profitable,” said Andrew. “These extra bedrooms have paid for the franchise fee, the rent on our own home and still given us a healthy income to live off, which we couldn’t have done without Platinum Property Partners.”
Two years after joining Platinum Property Partners, Andrew gave up his full-time job and now both him and Christina are working on branching out into other areas of property investment. “It’s down to PPP that we have the confidence to do this now. There’s always someone there to help you make the right decisions at every step and somewhere you can get information from immediately.”
Their journey is far from over and they still want to buy their own home, develop a couple of properties and travel more, but it’s great to know Platinum Property Partners has helped them on their way to the life and business they’d dreamed of.
Ben Gould - Franchise Partner
Joined PPP: January 2017
Previous career: Family business
Portfolio Location: Bridgwater
Biggest Benefit: Freedom
"Finally achieving the real buy-to-let dream"
Ben Gould explains why Platinum Property Partners gave him and his parents, Mike and Jane, a secure way to invest in property that would give them an income in the short-term and security in the long-term…
What did you do before buying your own franchise?
The family business was a mortgage brokerage which we ran until 2008 when we switched to helping businesses who were experiencing financial difficulties or facing insolvency. It was hands on and you were only as good as your last sale, so we were constantly looking for new customers and ways to expand. We wanted to do something different that would benefit us for the long term.
Why did you choose to join Platinum Property Partners?
We were looking at several options and property was one of them. We’ve always had a few properties - I rented out a property that I owned, inherited a property from my grandmother and we bought a couple of houses. The buy-to-let dream was always way into the future though, hoping the properties would be worth a fortune in the long term - because the reality was that they never made any money in the short term.
The Platinum model turned this on its head. It suddenly became important to know how to make money from property today and they had a proven process for it. We’d be able to earn an income that would give us time freedom to focus on other things and create a legacy. I have two children that I want to put through private education and give them financial security when they’re older. I also want to go back to university and this would give me the chance to do that.
I also loved the people, the availability of help and advice and the confidence that their support would give me.
How have you found the past year?
The first year has been a bit of a whirlwind, there’s a lot to learn. Buying a property is complicated - sometimes it feels as if you’re just writing big cheques and it takes time. The guidance from Platinum has been fantastic, especially the mentoring and support from other Partners. What struck me when I went to the Discovery Day was their openness and honesty about the business, so I was in no doubt what the first year would be like and I’m now at a point where I know it works. It’s been a great success.
What have you achieved so far?
I’ve got one fully tenanted 7-bed HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) and another 8-bed HMO currently undergoing refurbishment. I’ve used a builder that has done other Platinum properties. The first is in the town centre and caters for a younger and more flexible type of tenant – those who spend most of their time out of the house or are working in the area as contractors.
The second is much more homely and will appeal to people who want to have a sense of belonging somewhere. Through Platinum, I was not only able to learn the rules and regulations around lettings, but how to find the right tenants in order to create a harmonious household.
Has there been a defining moment?
One was certainly when the HMO officer told me that the property was amazing and the best finish of an HMO in the town. Then it was successfully letting the first room and hearing from the tenant how great the property was. Both proved to me that what I was doing was appreciated and would work. I’d never have known how to cost-effectively achieve such high quality without Platinum.
What are your plans and goals for the future?
The plan over the next four years is to gradually grow the portfolio to around 40 rooms and have a mix of style of property, fit and I can already see that is achievable. That will then enable me to have a rental manager to deal with the day-to-day hands on, which has always been the objective - to find a balance between having more time and having a substantial income.
Bill Mann - Franchise Partner
Joined PPP: March 2013
Previous Career: IT
Portfolio Location: Essex
Biggest Benefit: £100k+ salary replaced within a year
"Proof that a Platinum property franchise is flexible"
Bill Mann is proof that if you take what you learn through Platinum Property Partners’ model and adapt it to your own goals, you can have a hugely profitable property business suited to your own personal and professional aspirations.
Back in 2013, Bill was working in IT as a Senior Vice President for Visa Europe earning £100k+ a year. He’d always thought about starting his own business and investing in property and in 2011, when Bill sadly lost his wife to cancer, he looked into investing some of his capital into single occupancy buy-to-lets.
“I thought I would just buy a couple of properties locally and rent them out using the services of a letting agent,” said Bill. “But when I weighed up the numbers, it was hardly worth my while and having all that capital tied up for little return.”
Through his work, he’d met an existing franchise partner, Jon Downing, and decided to find out more about PPP. He did his research before attending a Discovery Day and soon realised that HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) could offer lucrative returns and would be a relatively safe investment strategy to follow.
Very quickly he was impressed by both the quality of the product and the people that made up the existing franchise partner network, head office team and Power Team of service providers.
In March 2013, he joined and while working full-time, quickly built a portfolio of three 6-bedroom HMOs around the Upminster area of Essex within a year – the third taking only 9 weeks from completion to fully tenanted.
By this time, he’d replaced his salary. Voluntary redundancy followed and with no financial need to go back to work, Bill took the opportunity to focus on his properties.
“On a quiet week, when all I’m doing is the bookkeeping, I’ll spend just one hour on the property business; on a busier week, when there’s maintenance issues to sort and tenant viewings or check-ins, I might work two full days.”
Lower mortgage debt, smaller properties and inexpensive refurbs
A further three HMOs followed and in comparison, to many franchise partners, Bill took the approach to buy well-kept properties that needed little refurbishment and conversion work. On one property, he spent less than £20,000. Bill is proof that by being flexible with the model, you can still generate excellent returns.
Bill explains: “I wanted properties that didn’t require massive refurbs, so I could keep things simple and not spend a huge amount. The first three properties were all relatively straightforward, as was property number four.”
“My fifth property was a three-storey, 3-bedroom town house and I opted to turn it into a 5-bedroom HMO by converting the garage and the lounge. So, the bedrooms were large with private bathrooms and rented easily.
“The latest property, which is my greatest achievement, was a five-year-old property with 5 bedrooms over three floors. There was a large lounge and large kitchen diner, and I simply turned the lounge into a bedroom. It also already had a pressurised unvented water system and fire doors, so it was ready to go for under £20,000.”
“Despite paying higher prices for my properties, spending less on refurbishment and only borrowing at 65% loan-to-value (LTV), I have achieved between 15% and 27% returns across the portfolio and my monthly gross income is £11,000.”
He also still made the money back that he spent on refurbishment, plus a development profit on each property.
Even though Bill built half of his portfolio while working full time and manages every aspect of the business himself, he has still achieved the financial freedom to take control of his life.
Bill concluded: “The flexibility of the model and the control it has given me have been the best benefits of joining PPP. As for the franchise fee, I didn’t know I’d ever get the value, but without a doubt, I’ve made my investment back several times over.”