Property Investors Academy student becomes financially free with first deal
The scrapping of the tolls on the Severn Bridges in 2018 led Jamie Nicholas on a road to a new career. It pushed up the value of his house and allowed him to pull out some equity which he used to become a member of the Property Investors Academy. Two years on and he has got off to a flying start after becoming financially independent from his first deal.
From living someone else’s dream to becoming a Wednesday Winner
It’s a familiar experience for anyone who has worked in an office. You’re looking out of the window and wishing you were somewhere else. Jamie Nicholas has his own version of this scenario.
“It was a Friday afternoon when I was looking out of the window. The sun was blazing, and I was somewhere I didn’t really want to be in the sense there were other things I wanted to do.
“I didn’t want to miss any of my sons’ sport. I wanted to be free to watch both of them enjoy their sport. I just thought there’s got to be more to life.”
Jamie was working at the time as a leader in logistics, having worked his way up the ladder from starting out in a warehouse at 18 to having a good job which was well paid.
“I did enjoy it. I’d worked hard and never had a day off, but I wanted to get out of the rat race because I was living someone else’s dream. I was setting goals for myself, but I was on a train that was never going to get me to that destination. I was always going to fall short.”
The catalyst for change came when the tolls on the two bridges over the River Severn, which connect England to Wales, were removed in December 2018. The value of his house in Newport in South Wales went up and so he decided to lever some finance on his asset.
He wanted to become a property investor, and so spent a few months watching Samuel Leeds’ YouTube videos. Then, in May 2019, he attended the Property Investors Crash Course with his wife.
“I’d looked at a few other trainers. All I had from them was a call saying pay me some money and I’ll send you some videos. That’s not what I was looking for. When we went to the crash course that was it for me. I was in. There was real high energy in the room. I’d already budgeted some money for training, so I used that to join the Property Investors Academy.”
He gave up his job in July and took advantage of some gardening leave to become compliant as a deal sourcer. He also attended the academy’s Rent-to-Rent course and networked ‘like crazy’ in his local area to find mentors.
“It was a calculated risk, but I was in a good place with my family. My wife was super supportive. I knew I probably had about 12 months to get everything going and start to get some income.”
Initially Jamie was looking for properties to package and sell to gain a quick cashflow. He co-sourced one deal with another Property Investors Academy member which earned him a fee of £3,000. But after going on the academy’s Pull Out All Your Money course, Jamie realised that if he could add value to a property that might be a better strategy to pursue.
“I remember saying to Samuel if this works and I can get out of the rat race, I’ll be forever in his debt and I’ll be doing a Winners on a Wednesday video. Now I’ve done exactly that!”
Flats with gardens attract tenants straight away during lockdown
On his way back home from the Property Investors Crash Course, Jamie called a friend who was already successful in property and asked him if they could have a chat over a coffee. When they met up, Jamie told him his budget and said that he was looking for properties which he could renovate to increase their value.
Jamie was at the Rent-to-Rent course on a Friday when his friend rang him.
“He was saying, Jamie I think I’ve got a deal for you in Newport. It doesn’t fit my strategy. It’s a commercial/residential property which is very tired and needs work. The only issue is the landlord is in Spain.”
By the next day Jamie was on a flight to Spain to negotiate the deal. “I wanted to speak to the landlord face to face. I thought by doing that, we could come to a deal. Everything I’d learnt about on the Pull All Your Money Out course and also the knowledge I had from the academy about doing buy, refurbish and refinance projects was sinking in.”
It so happened the landlord was from the same area and they had acquaintances in common. Jamie was also helped by being aware of local property prices.
He recognised it was a perfect deal because he could add value to the property which consisted of two shops with flats above. They agreed a price of £275,000 and in December 2019 the renovation work began.
Friends and family helped out. All the materials for the refurbishment were provided on an account with a friend so that Jamie didn’t have to pay for them until the refinancing stage.
Everyone knew he was 100 per cent committed to the project, he says. He was even painting the shop on Christmas Eve.
In total, he put in £85,000 of his own money and took out a bridging loan of £230,000, while the renovation cost £27,000.
When the work was finished, Jamie was careful to get the timing of the revaluation right so that there was no uncertainty still over Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. He had been advised the valuer might ‘keep a bit back’ if Brexit was still up in the air, so he arranged the valuation after the UK left the EU in January 2020.
His caution was repaid. The valuation came out at £425,000 and he then refinanced the property. The returns have been impressive.
“We got 70 per cent of £425,000 and pulled out £297,500. We left £15,000 in the deal. It grosses £42,000 a year in rents and the net profit is about £24,000.”
Jamie admits it was ‘scary’ having a bridging loan during the coronavirus pandemic but rolled up the interest to defer the repayment. “Interest on a bridging loan is quite high but it’s a very useful tool to get you what you want.”
The fact that it was a commercial purchase enabled him to split the titles on completion and add gardens which proved to be an instant draw during the lockdown.
“There are three one-bedroom flats and each one has got its own private garden. Having an outside space during that time was really good. I had 50 to 60 enquiries per unit and they all rented out within 24 hours.
“The two commercial units were rented within 48 hours. It was an amazing deal.”
‘I want to leave a legacy to my children so they can avoid the rat race’
When Jamie made the transition from being in a job to running his own property business, he used his leave to learn about tax, cashflow and setting up a limited company.
Now he is a full-time property investor but is still educating himself all the time to further his knowledge of investing in the housing market. He spends a few hours each day with a specialist mortgage broker to pick up tips from deals coming in. He also attends as many property events as possible, networks, makes Zoom calls and supports his wife in her business.
His 17-year-old son has been learning about property too. He joined his father’s business when he left school which coincided with Jamie setting out on his new career.
“We’ve all read Rich Dad Poor Dad and you get that eureka moment where you think I’ve been doing this wrong. I said to my son you don’t have to get a job or go to uni. You can come on this journey with me and we can learn together. He gets financial reward for it as part of the limited company.
“He’s a good boy and switched on. I want him to have the freedom to follow his dream. I’ll offer my 13-year-old son the same opportunity as well. I want to allow my children and their children to do what they want to do, rather than go into the rat race.”
Leaving a legacy for his family is Jamie’s principle reason for going into property, but he also wants to be able to help his mother-in-law who is not very well.
‘The bigger the problems the more value you can add’
Jamie is currently in the process of renovating two flats in Llanelli which he bought for £50,000. Estate agents have told him they will fetch between £145,000 to £185,000 once the work is complete. He expects to sell them for £160,000.
“The renovation will cost around £40,000 and I should be able to pull all my money out. The bigger the problem, the more negotiating you can do and the more value you can add.”
The Buy, Refurbish and Refinance Masterclass course on the Property Investors Academy has given him the know-how to pull off such a deal.
Jamie says he is lucky to be in the right area where capital appreciation and rents are good, Houses can still be picked up for as little as £50,000 and he will be looking for more commercial/residential opportunities along the M4 corridor and elsewhere.
He describes the support from the Property Investors Academy as ‘great.’ He receives a monthly business call with a mentor in a Mastermind group of five and still has some courses to get under his belt.
“I’m not expecting to be a millionaire in a few years, I’m just on a steady road, building each time slowly with new projects and using funds all the way through to continue to invest.”
- If you want to become a property investor but don’t know where to start, look at Samuel Leeds’ YouTube videos. It’s free content.
- Educate yourself as much as you can. Don’t just dive in. Make sure you understand your strategy.
- Look at the YouTube videos first and then go to the Property Investors Crash Course. If you go for it, go for it and choose your strategy.
- Look for someone who’s just ahead of you as an investor. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You just do exactly what they do.
Samuel Leeds’ verdict
“The reason Jamie has done so well is because he understood the importance of gaining property knowledge and put aside money from refinancing his house to invest in training. He pulled off a corker of a deal with his first investment. It not only made him financially free but gave him over £100,000 of equity which is incredible.
“To achieve that deal he flew to Spain to negotiate with the landlord. That’s the kind of thing that separates successful and unsuccessful people. He’s put in lots of hours to get where he is. He’s unstoppable.”
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