Yesterday, I wrote a blog titled: Route Map for novice investors – 7 simple steps to get started in p…
I was inspired to write it because I speak to many people who have cash standing by, a BTL mortgage agreed, have been on numerous courses & seminars …. but, when it comes to buying something, they just don’t know where to start!
I remember when I was a newbie, back in 2004.
Nick and I were keen to get going, so we decided to start investing in North London as it was an area I knew well and we knew the transport links were great and that demand for tenants was high. We were nervous but excited and knew we had to take massive action to get the ball rolling!
Highbury used to be stigmatised because it was the place where all London’s rubbish got re-cycled. That had kept prices depressed. But the recycling plant was being demolished … and the Emirates Stadium would soon be in its place.
We decided to go for a one bed flat and, despite being very busy with TV projects, we booked a day with an estate agent to view several so that we could get a feel for the market and what the value for money was.
Our final visit was to a tiny flat just off Holloway Road. It was in a nice looking block, with gated entry, and allocated parking. It was 5 mins. walk from Holloway Road Tube Station and 10 mins walk from Highbury and Islington Tube station.
When we arrived at the flat, we couldn’t open the door because so much post was stuck behind it! (Clue: it had been empty for a long time).
The flat itself was filthy – never been cleaned by the look of it .. ever. The estate agent said it had been owned by a young man who had moved to Oxford to start a new job and was keen to sell. The lounge was orange and lime Yuk!!
The carpet was old and smelly and there were iron burns on it!
The bathroom …. well, you wouldn’t want to spend any time in there at all. Double YUK!!
But we saw the potential. A super little flat in a great location.
It was on the market for £165K.
We put in an offer for £147K. The estate agent was horrified and said that it was an insult. We reminded her that she was obliged to put forward our offer.
And guess what? The vendor accepted it straight away!!
We did a two week refurb, spent about £6K on redecorating to neutrals and taupes, new carpets, and a new luxury bathroom. The bathroom was internal so we had glass bricks inserted along the top to let light in. We added storage. It looked like a luxury hotel suite when we had finished.
It’s never been empty and is always the cheapest entry level flat in the area.
The perfect pied-a-terre!
What I learned:
1. Find the demand, before creating the supply.
2. Don’t be afraid to put in a cheeky offer.
3. Look for potential. (Perhaps start with “cosmetic” refurbs before embarking on huge projects?).
4. Size doesn’t matter.
5. Would I want to live there myself? (I would have happily lived in this flat!).
6. Location, location, location.
7. Parking is paramount in London.
8. Look for walkability – shops, restaurants, bars, transport links … all within a 5 min. walk.
9. It’s not that scary to do a deal.
10. Look for I.C.I … investment, communication, infrastructure.
If you are interested in hearing about other Landlord’s first deals, join the discussion on Property Tribes >>> here.
Follow me on Twitter: @4_walls
Vanessa Warwick is a former TV presenter, turned professional Landlady, consultant, and speaker. Along with her husband Nick Tadd, she founded Property Tribes, which is now the U.K.’s busiest on-line Landlord and investor community. Nick and Vanessa have just launched their new tech product, Yulpa, an on-line “property office/filo-fax” that helps you organise and manage your entire property life in one place. It comes with an iPhone app that does auto due diligence on any property being considered for purchase. They also created Property Tribes Trading Post as a place where property people can trade and list products and services for the Landlord community.
Vanessa and Nick advocate the use of technology and digital and social communications in property, and speak at events all over the U.K. as well as consulting for the BBC on property. They invest mainly in flats London and family houses in the South East and are also big advocates of holiday lets, having two upmarket holiday lets on the South Coast that achieve above-average occupancy thanks to the couple’s web efforts and vertical marketing strategies.
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