Designer turned property sourcer makes £17K from one deal alone!

winners on a wednesday

Designer turned property sourcer makes £17K from one deal alone!!

Italian interior designer Graziella Mintrone was made redundant during the Covid pandemic. To make ends meet she took on three jobs, working seven days a week. Then Graziella came across Samuel Leeds’ YouTube videos and decided to go into property. In the two years since then she has become a highly paid sourcer of investment opportunities. One deal alone earned her a finder’s fee of £17,000. On top of a rental income from a portfolio of houses, her new career has given her both financial and personal freedom.

‘I found Samuel’s videos while working late in an empty office’

One of Graziella’s childhood memories is of her parents asking an uncle to lend them some money so that they could buy an investment property. 

“It didn’t happen, but I remember driving past this place and them commenting, ‘You see it was worth this and now it would be worth much more.’ They were always saying it was a pity they didn’t do it.

“It stayed with me. I always remember this.”

It was that interest in property which drew her to Samuel Leeds years later.

After losing her job as an interior designer specialising in soft furnishings, Graziella found work as a delivery driver. With no van to get around, she had to use her Fiat 500 instead. 

“Everyone laughed at me when I arrived because I would stuff everything in just to make an extra 50p. It was a bit humiliating sometimes. Some families were rude,” recalls Graziella.

She also worked on a Saturday as an estate agent. Then a friend in the South Kensington area of London asked her to do a design project for her. As she had no computer, her old boss lent her the keys to the office at night so that she could prepare a presentation.

After finishing her other jobs, Graziella would head for work again after 5pm. 

“I’d be there till 10pm and sometimes 11pm working on this presentation. It was quite scary being on my own in this dark, empty office, so for company I put some videos on. They were always property ones and that’s when I saw Samuel.

“I was really excited, thinking oh my God, what’s this about and then thinking I’m not going to do these jobs forever.”

She also listened to a podcast by Russell Leeds, talking about his brother Samuel and enrolled on an online deal sourcing course with Property Investors in June 2020.

“My family said I was crazy. I used my last £1,000 but I thought it would be good because I was already sourcing properties for clients at the estate agency. It made sense.”

The first hurdle Graziella had to overcome was finding a laptop. 

“It was the only thing Samuel said we needed. I thought, oops I don’t own one. So, I had to go back to my old office at night again to use one there. But then I borrowed money from my family to get an iPad. You can do the training on an iPhone but it’s better to have an iPad when you do the exercises.”

Graziella also attended a Property Investors Crash Course six months later when she met Samuel briefly. It gave her an overview of the different strategies which can be used to make money in the housing market. 

‘My biggest deal was on a house worth £3m’

Despite launching herself as a deal sourcer during the pandemic, Graziella was confident there were opportunities to be exploited. When Airbnb stopped bookings on its platform because of Covid, some landlords feared their rental properties could lie empty for long periods. A lot of people, however, felt the London market would eventually pick up, she says.

“In mid-2020 they were about to ease restrictions and there were properties being offered below the market value. I realised you could get really good deals, so I started to look for rent-to-SAs and got a few contacts with landlords.”

Acting on the advice given by Samuel at his crash course, Graziella also joined groups where she could connect with people in well-paid jobs who might want to invest in property. 

Soon she found herself involved in high-value deals. She posted a video message to the Property Investors chairman on his Instagram account informing him she was closing in on a £13,000 fee – while also having time to make lasagna! 

Initially, Graziella admits, she didn’t know how to approach investors, but when she started talking to potential clients it got easier. 

“You might look a bit silly at the beginning. People might say they don’t understand your accent, or you mumble on phone calls. But I still knew how to do the due diligence.”

Her training had given her a solid foundation in assessing whether a property could generate a healthy profit for an investor. Armed with that knowledge, Graziella soon sold her first deal. 

When thousands of pounds started rolling into her bank account from other transactions, she joined the Property Investors Academy to round off her education.

Her biggest pay-off came when she sold a deal on a house that was worth around £3m. The agreement was that she would receive a percentage of the purchase price, plus her commission.

“I realised some people waste a bit of time. I had to be upfront because I had expenses. So, I said you pay me £2,000 in February to look [for an investment opportunity] and £2,000 in March. It was non-refundable. He paid me the rest, which was about £13,000, when we completed the sale.”

Graziella says she derives satisfaction from knowing that people trust her and that she can make someone happy. She also cherishes the freedom her new career has given her.

When she was employed, her car broke down and she found herself having to travel by train to work.

“I would look at people around me and wonder whether this was my life, commuting on a train for the next 30 years. I thought there must be something more.”

Now she is in property, she is able to organise her own time and choose who she does business with, rather than having to go to work at a set time each morning.

Graziella gave up her jobs last summer to become a full-time property entrepreneur. 

‘One of my properties earns me £2K a month’ 

In addition to her income from packaging and selling deals, Graziella owns six properties, including one in the north which she bought recently for £53,000.

The plan is to do it up and then refinance the property to its new value to release funds for further investments. 

She secured her most profitable passive income deal on a serviced accommodation unit in London which she rents out for short stays. With a 99 per cent occupancy rate, it turns over £3,000 a month, leaving her with a margin of £2,000 a month after deducting the bills.

“In December it was a bit higher. It’s crazy how easily it gets booked up.”

Having that passive income proved crucial to her when she had to go away last year to be with her family.

“Everyone around me was going to work and asking me if I had to go back to work. I said, ‘No, I’m working on my computer. I’m talking to investors.’ Sometimes they saw me on a Zoom call in a bedroom and thought I was just having a chat. I had to tell them no, this is a call with an investor. This is my job.

“It’s unreal. You can decide when you go away. You don’t have to ask like in my old job, filling a form and hoping they give you the holiday. But it’s not about the holiday. It’s the freedom that’s important. I needed to be there because someone in my family was not well. You can just go. You don’t have to justify it and you can still do the sourcing. Everything is systemised.”

Graziella returns to Italy frequently, travelling by air and train which allows her to relax while also working on her computer.

In May, she earned £15,000 from selling property deals but refunded the money on two of them when the investors changed their minds. ‘I like to keep the friendship, so I made £9,000.”

She adds: “I really enjoyed the sourcing course because you could go back into it and read the material again in your own time.”

winners on a wednesday

‘I sold two deals on Christmas Day’

Graziella signed up to the online Property Investors Academy while she was still working in the estate agency.

“I had to hide in the bathroom while I tried to book onto it. I was giving my credit card details between viewings. I thought I’m not going to give up this opportunity because I really understood wherever you earn you have to give back some to education.”

It proved to be the right decision as she has been able to make the money back through her deals. She can also claim the academy fee as a business expense.

Her greatest challenge during her property journey was staying focused. However, having students around her who became friends kept her going. Her mentor-in-chief Samuel and other coaches were also on hand when she needed help.

“Samuel generally picks up the phone and replies straight away to people. I don’t know how he deals with so many people. It is amazing.”

She was even able to get advice about a development deal from two of her mentors on Christmas Day.

“I feel so embarrassed but then a few months before that I met them and they said don’t worry, just call. They are so helpful. 

“I sold a couple of deals that day. One deal was for £15,000 but when the JV partner came to the site, he was not convinced about the costings, so they got a refund after 13 days. Then again it was a boost because Samuel told me I’d still managed to sell the deal.”

Even though Graziella has become successful, her relatives still worry that she won’t be able to pay back the mortgages on her properties.

“I try sometimes to show them what rent-to-rent is and why investing this money is a good thing, but they are still a bit scared of things. For example, I had a breakage which was going to cost me £50. They said, why don’t you sell these things. There’s so much pain with all these check-ins.

“Yes, you do have to put more effort into an SA, but I told them in five days’ time this Californian family are paying £880 to come. Residential rent won’t make that money. I said you don’t see the big picture.”

 

Graziella’s tips

 

  • You have to do the property courses to be successful. You can’t do it alone. 
  • It is important to have friends in the industry who are helping you. People doing the same things will find the same challenges, so they will give you advice.

 

Samuel Leeds’ verdict

“Graziella has gained a reputation in the academy for not only being able to sell lots of deals but charging extremely high finder’s fees. That’s because they are extremely profitable deals. She’s such an asset to the academy because she brings so much light and joy. Everybody loves her.”

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