Overworked employee quits his job thanks to Samuel Leeds’ property tips
As a retail manager Carl Pilkington worked long hours, including some 24-hour shifts, until he discovered property through seeing Samuel Leeds on TV and online. Now Carl spends about an hour a month on his business after establishing a rent-to-rent portfolio which grosses £92,000 a year. He set it up while on furlough during the pandemic and soon afterwards quit the job he hated.
‘Every night I googled how to make more money’
Before becoming a property entrepreneur Carl worked ‘all hours under the sun’ to make ends meet, leaving him little time to spend with his family. He felt miserable and a failure, particularly after going through a divorce and trying unsuccessfully to start various enterprises.
As Carl describes it, “I was that man googling how to make more money and a passive income. I was doing it every night, trying to look for that lightbulb moment, [thinking] there’s got to be something more, another way.”
Then one night he was watching the BBC when a programme came on that transformed his fortunes. It was called The Week the Landlords Moved In and featured Property Investors’ multi-millionaire founder Samuel Leeds.
The series challenged successful landlords to spend a week living in one of their own rentals, on their tenant’s budget, to get a taste of life on the other side of the fence. Carl was fascinated and impressed by what he saw.
“That was the first time I ever considered property as a business. A landlord to me was someone who’d had his grandma’s house left to him and now he rents it out. It wasn’t a business.
“That show opened my eyes. There were these guys on there with all these houses, all running around in nice cars. I remember watching Samuel on it and there was one line that changed my life. He said, ‘I spend about five minutes a month working on my property business.’
“I sat up in my chair and just literally went, I have to do this. I don’t know how but this is what I’ve been looking for the past five to 10 years. My mood suddenly changed. I knew exactly what I wanted to do.”
Carl dived into Samuel’s YouTube property videos, immersing himself in this ‘new world’ he had found by accident. The only problem was that he had no savings to buy a house and no idea where to begin.
Still working horrendously long hours for an average wage, Carl was also on his own at this point, having to shoulder all the expense of having children, bills and loans to pay off.
Then two years ago, while watching another one of Samuel’s videos as part of his ongoing research into property investing, he came across the rent-to-rent strategy.
“That was another big lightbulb moment. I thought, that’s how I’m going to do it.”
Three rent-to-rents bring in £3,500 a month profit
Carl’s definition of rent-to-rent is simple. “I pay the landlord a set fee every month to look after his property. He gives me free run to do as much as I want with his property. I’ll refurbish it, if it needs it. I’ll tenant it and manage the tenants. I’ll take what’s left after he’s got his fee.
“He’s got an easy life. It’s trouble-free for him. He doesn’t have to think about this property. He gets a guaranteed lump sum every month from me.”
Based in West Yorkshire, Carl controls three houses grossing £7,500 to £8,000 a month. The profit, after all the bills have been paid, is around £3,500 a month. He manages the properties with his partner Becky who he met three years ago. She has been a huge driving force in the business, he says.
“She wanted to do property her whole life but never really got into it. Then, when we met, we got our heads together and both said yes, we want to do it.”
However, just as they made this momentous decision, Covid hit. It left them in a quandary as they knew they wanted to pursue the rent-to-rent strategy but that involved tenants living together in a house share – at a time when no one wanted to be near anybody else.
After giving it some thought, they pressed ahead anyway, having got some money together to launch themselves in property. Then, just after the first lockdown last year, they formed a company.
They secured their first rent-to-rent deal in July 2020 on a five-bedroom house in Sheffield, while they were both on furlough. It had been a student let but when the restrictions came into force due to the coronavirus the students returned home, leaving the property empty.
“The landlord wanted to retire and didn’t want the hassle of it any more,” explains Carl.
“We came along and offered him a guaranteed rent and it was totally hands-off. He could sit at home and just get his money every month.”
The house had recently been painted and had a new kitchen fitted, as well as carpets. So, all Carl and Becky had to do was bring in some furniture and decorate it. They agreed to pay the landlord £825 a month and were excited when they signed the agreement.
The ‘scary bit’ was to come when for two days no one responded to their advertisement for the rooms because they knew they would still have to pay the monthly fee to the owner. But then they started getting calls and had the house fully rented out within three weeks.
The five rooms – one with an en suite – make a profit of around £900 a month after their expenses.
Ex-student lets rented to professionals
Carl was thrilled when he landed his second deal a month later on a six-bed HMO in Huddersfield. Again, it was an ex-student let but a completely different type of property, he says.
“It’s got nice big rooms and three bathrooms. The first one is quite modern, very clean and white with a fresh feel to it. This one is a very big, old character house and was already furnished.
“We spent about £500 on the property from taking it off the landlord and renting it out. We pay £850 a month to the landlord and it’s pulling in almost £1,200 a month profit.”
They also manage a seven-bed house in Bolton. All three are within an hour’s travel of their home and are rented out to professional people for periods of up to six months.
“After that they either relocate with work or stay because they love the house. So far most of them have stayed,” adds Carl.
The rent-to-rent agreement with the owner of the property is for five years with an option to extend beyond that, if he is happy with how it has been managed.
“We have a really good relationship with the landlords which is important because two out of the three of them have more houses, so maybe we could get those too if they come along.”
When the couple decided to go into property, Becky was working as an account manager for a label printing company and Carl still had his retail job. Whilst both had done lots of research and read books about investing in the housing market, neither had any actual experience.
Becky solved the issue by getting a job in a large lettings agency before being given temporary leave last March because of the Covid-19 crisis. Carl was called back last August after five months off work but only stayed for a fortnight because of his partner. By now she was heavily pregnant and had found out she had had a hole in her heart since birth. After Becky collapsed at home, Carl left his job to be with her in case she fell ill again.
The story had a happy ending after she gave birth to their daughter Holly with no further health complications.
“I thought we’ve got enough money coming in at the moment to tide us over, so I quit. Now I’ve got a seven and a half-month-old bouncing baby girl who I’ve had the best time with. Who gets that amount of time off with a baby as a new dad? You get two weeks normally. It’s been fantastic and that was because of property. It’s changed my life completely and it’s exciting because you can go as far as you want with it.”
He cites his children as giving him the motivation to succeed.
“I want my kids to grow up and, when they get to working age, have the choice as to what they do – to become an entrepreneur, for example, and get into property. You don’t have to go to work and get an hourly paid job. There are other options.
“I wish I’d known that myself a few years ago. I did 107 hours in a week once at work and I’ve done 24-hour shifts. Now I choose to work about an hour a week. It’s not quite five minutes a month, because I like to keep on top of the adverts with fresh photos, but I probably could if I chose to.”
Carl has even completed a diploma in clinical hypnotherapy, thanks to the extra time he now has on his hands – something which would have been unthinkable a few years ago.
- If you’ve been binge-watching Samuel’s videos for years and not pulled the trigger, do whatever you think you need to do to cross that last hurdle. If you don’t have enough knowledge, do what you think you need to do, such as going on a Property Investors Crash Course and getting a job at a lettings agency.
- If you spend the rest of your life doing a job you don’t like, you’re just existing. Ask yourself what you are going to leave to your kids What example are you setting? There are all sorts of questions and if they’re powerful enough they’ll force you into action.
Samuel Leeds’ verdict
“The first thing Carl said to me when he came to my house to be interviewed for my YouTube Winners on a Wednesday series was you changed my life. That’s so satisfying to know because it’s my mission to help people become financially free through property.
“You could say Carl was lucky because furlough gave him an opportunity, but lots of people have had the same opportunity during this period. The difference is Carl was prepared and then took the plunge, despite people around him saying it was a bad time to go into property because of Covid. His strategy was saying to a landlord with an empty student let pass it to me on a corporate agreement and I’ll rent it as a professional HMO. I’m really impressed with what he’s done.”
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