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  • Entrepreneurs

    My Newbie Property Journey

    Hi all,

    I thought I would use this as a platform to document my property journey.  I am an accountant by trade.  I am highly numerical and have a strong passion to achieve financial freedom.

    I set myself a goal of purchasing my first property by the end of the year.

    My journey so far.

    2016 - I decided me and my partner wanted to purchase a property together.  My parents are property owners and were willing to do an equity release on their property to enable for me to get started, however, due to living on the outskirts of London (Watford area), even with their helps we were priced out of anything bar a shoe-box so decided not to go ahead.  Although in theory you only need a 5% deposit, in reality, we would have had to put down a 40% deposit because our combined incomes were not big enough (I have 2 jobs and my partner had one well paid one)

    September 2017 - I decided to get involved in property as an investment.  I am very entrepreneurial and have always believed in property as a good platform for security and therefore started researching all types of property investing.

    1 November 2017 - I decided to reopen the equity release mortgage to release funds for a buy to let investment, with the goal of purchasing 3-4 properties in the Birmingham / North West of England.  Although I knew on paper I could make more of a return from HMO's and/or more complex strategies, I have no experience and thought it was sensible to build up my knowledge with some regular buy-to-let's before moving on to more complex strategies.  The goal is to remortgage these properties in 2-3 years (or longer if I have to wait) and then use the increased equity to grow my own portfolio and also purchase my own property once I have an increased income, hopefully with a much smaller deposit.

    1 December 2017 - I traveled up to Liverpool (having decided to target this city as my number 1 target) and viewed my first properties.

    6 December 2017 - The cash came through from the equity release and the cash is now sitting in my bank account.  I NEED TO BUY A PROPERTY ASAP (but it needs to be a sensible purchase). So I submitted my first offers.  None of which got accepted.  They were admittedly on the lowish side, although there is plenty of choices there on the market, so I could afford to be picky about the rates.

    16 December 2017 - I traveled up again to Liverpool to view 2 more properties.  One of which had been accepted prior to a viewing.  However having viewed the property I had accepted, the tenant showed me around and had cardboard over the windows, the taps weren't working and he told me that people didn't chuck the rubbish out (they leave it on the stairs) so cockroaches share his flat.  There were also neighbors having a row opposite him which I think I heard smashing plates.  The tenant had said his heating was costing him £80/month because the windows were dreadful and I had budgeted money for refurbishment.  Although the investment was very healthy on paper, it was fraught with problems.  As soon as I had said to the tenant I was interested in buying and had said I would fix all the issues in the flat for him but I may have to increase the rent slightly to compensate, he suddenly got very aggressive, "DON'T YOU DARE INCREASE MY RENT!".  I think that put the final nail in that coffin.  Although the money was there, the time that would have been involved there I presume would have made it a far more hands-on investment, than I planned.  I want something hands off with a view to the future.  That flat was in a dreadful state given that it was only 15 years old, so I was best to walk away.

    I did, however, view another one in a block, Hatton Garden which there are a few available and it was a charming little block.  The price was quite good although it was listed originally as a 2 bed, it turned out to be a 1 bed with a mezzanine bedroom, however, could have been developed into a 2 bed.  Although there is only 1 large window which stretches 2 floors for light and expanding the 2nd floor, although could add the 2nd bedroom would mean the bedroom which stands as it is would lose any natural light.

    21 December 2017 - Having really liked the block I decided to try and arrange more viewings in the new year, just to compare options before going ahead and trying to purchase one.  However, when I phoned one estate agent, they mentioned that the managing agent of the 3 bed for sale was going to charge £25,000 for replacement of the windows and other flats would also have to pay a smaller proportional amount.

    I phoned the managing agents to find out what it would cost and was told to submit this to them in writing as they couldn't answer my question over the phone.

    27 December 2017 - Today I phoned the managing agents back as they had not responded to my email and they told me it was a £3 million project but the service charge would cover it.  The service charge is the only £140/month for a 1 bed and £170/month for a 2 bed roughly and there are probably 200 flats in the block so I find it hard to believe the service charge could cover a £3 million project, especially given that the agents had told me the offer on a 3 bed had been previously accepted a £220k and was lowered to £195k because of the £25k window costs.  Apparently the previous buyer pulled out when he found out.

    I finally got an email back from the managing agents,

    "Dear Mr Moxon

    Thank you for your enquiry.

    The project covers both common parts and residential windows and contribution will be as per terms of lease liability.

    As to the specifics Regent will be unable to provide any further information unless you have had an offer accepted and your Solicitor requests a leasehold pack.

    Yours sincerely


    I am now in a dilemma whether to just pull out from any interest in any of the flats in the block given that I can not seem to find out the costs of the windows before buying the flat, without having to keep wasting money on solicitors.

    I have been researching thoroughly for 3 months to get a good grounding before getting started, but nothing like this has ever come up in podcasts and books I have read.


    Well it should have done.

    Walk away from this 'opportunity'

    Avoid flats for all the reasons  you have come across

    The most you would need to do for a terrace property 100 years old is


    Damp course

    Loft insulation

    New roof or loft conversion instead which would add value

    New boiler

    All these items would add value to a house

    Spending money on windows for a flat at 3 million would take decades to pay for with rent.

    Buy yourself the Haynes manual for the Victoria terrace property and you will see how a house is a more manageable situation than any flat.


    I completely agree with Paul. Unless you are an experienced investor, avoid flats as they are fraught with all the problems you have identified and more. Hidden uncontrolled costs are the last thing you need. I also think buying with a tenant in-situ is risky, although I have done it before. But it's much better to choose the tenant yourself and you should be able to find plenty to choose from in the current market.

    I started out with 100 year old terraces and I have five now. These  are comparatively simple and a good way to learn and so far I have not had any serious problems, and I've learned a lot. They won't make you rich quick, but they are not bad as an investment and they have appreciated in value better than I expected.


    Hello, why not take advantage of the fund and new stamp duty rule by buying your first residential home? Something you can add a lot of value to, then remortgage that and buy a cheap please up north? Good luck


    Hi Chung.

    Stamp duty is not really a lot of money to be honest.  It's far from the major stumbling block.

    I could either have got £300k of property, all of which would have been tied down in a property down south, where I believe are already overpriced, where instead I could buy £450k of property up north where I feel there is more scope for it to increase and then because my income has increased, I will only need to put down a tiny 5% deposit because my income has been booster from my rental income.

    Trust me I have done my research there.

    In terms of flats, I am not going to rule them out completely because city centre locations are where I am targeting and they tend to be flats not terraced houses.


    These windows will be classified as  major works

    I would ask the estate agent to ask the vendor to supply a copy of his 3 x sec 20 consultation notices which will detail  the works and the tenders and his proportion etc

    Then you are armed with written  information which will enable you to make an offer if you choose to

    3 mil divided by 200 flats = 15K  per flat so one or both of the stats is wrong  if its 25K

    How many times have you visited your chosen area of investment ?


    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com

    Hi Jonathan,

    I certainly will ask the agents for this.

    I am lead to believe that each flat will have to pay a different amount as a lump sum towards these flats based on their proportion of the service charge.

    I would normally be put off from this sort of thing but Ifactored it in and it is still a good deal.

    I have been up twice so far to look around and have a really good feel for Liverpool.  What people want, what sort of tenants are in the area and the quality of the stock for sale and I feel that Hatton Garden really did seem to tick all the boxes as it is a quality block.

    It does have it's issues but I will factor that in to the offer I make and simply subtract the cost involved if necessary.

    I am taking another trip to Liverpool on Fri 12 Jan / Sat 13 Jan and have now scheduled in loads of viewings for both of those days.

    What I would like to do is get more options to choose from.

    I have taken your advice on board in regards to going for Victorian terraced houses, however I am looking for something hands off which will not require much of my time and money to refurb at this stage and I feel that flips might not suit me at this stage as I am time-poor.

    I will be looking at Victorian terraced houses later in the year when I plan on looking at Nottingham city centre.


    Hi Steven,

    Welcome to the tribe and thank you so much for taking the trouble to document your property journey so far.

    As you are finding, like most things, the practical in property is rather different in reality to the theory.

    If I was in your position, I would not be doing anything with any degree of uncertainty or risk.

    Keep it simple is my advice.

    Look for a 2 bed terrace where you can add a bit of value via a refurb or minor facelift.

    You may find this link has some additional information that will assist you to purchasing your first investment:

    Top 10 Property Tribes resources for novice landlords and BTL investors 

    There are plenty of deals out there, so take your time, and don't rush into anything.

    Good luck and please keep up-dating this thread with any new progress. Smile


    Jonathan has made a very good point about visiting your chosen area of investment. I spent two years researching this before I chose an area and I think it is really important. It's worth booking into a hotel and venturing out at different times of day and night to see what goes on, and get chatty with the hotel receptionist about the good and bad things that happen there.

    After dark some city areas become thriving hubs of nightlife and others become pitiful testaments to despair and poverty.

    Which areas are embracing the future and which ones cling to a long gone past? Which ones have used EU and government investment as a springboard for prosperity and which ones bite the hand that fed them? Don't just stick to a few streets but venture further afield to see what the surrounding areas are like too.

    As an investor you need to identify places that are on the way up, not on the way down, where increased prosperity is spreading and where your tenants will be upwardly mobile so that rent increases are in line with their own growing prosperity, not another blow towards increasing hardship.



    very good post about the issues faced in finding the ideal property! Having the deposit is just the start of the journey not the end...keep persevering and you will find what you seek


    Hi Steven,

    It's great that you decided to share your adventure towards finding the first property. For newbies like myself it's a great case study, so please keep us in the loop Smile

    I'm also searching for a property in Liverpool, but I'm looking only for houses (after reading PT Wink and 

    If you'll find some companies that you can recommend in that area (agencies, solicitors, builders etc) or the ones to avoid in your opinion, please share them as well.

    Good Luck Smile