Property Investors trained couple head for a new life in the sun…
In the past two years Darren Andrews and Ella Attrill have pulled off property deals worth millions of pounds after learning the tricks of the trade from Samuel Leeds’ academy. Their latest project alone, which involved the renovation of a house in Hampshire, has made a profit of £115,000 and they also have a portfolio of rent-to-rents and serviced accommodation units. With their new-found wealth, Ella and Darren will soon be moving to Majorca with their young daughter, although they have no plans to retire just yet.
Boarded up property becomes a ‘perfect Instagram house’
A Bentley and a Range Rover sit on the drive of Darren and Ella’s home in Andover which they have recently refurbished and sold.
Darren, who used to own a sports car dealership before going into property, has other vehicles. As he readily admits, he is ‘a bit car mad.’ Years ago, he used to buy them on finance, but these days he pays for them with cash.
Ella’s passion is her horses, a hobby she can also well afford thanks to the money they have made through their wheeling and dealing.
As soon as the sale of their house goes through in the next few months, the pair will be heading for the sunshine of Spain’s Balearic Islands. They bought the derelict, boarded up property for £165,000, spending £125,000 on the refurbishment which included re-rendering the walls to give it a smart new look.
The before and after pictures so impressed Property Investors founder Samuel Leeds that he confessed to feeling slightly jealous because it was the ‘perfect Instagram house.’ It prompted him to post the images them on his account to show other students what can be achieved.
Clever property developing kept Darren and Ella’s costs down. The sale will incur no tax because they have been living in the semi-detached house. Nor have they paid any stamp duty because it was uninhabitable when they purchased it.
Once the work was finished, they considered various options, including turning it into house share. They even installed HMO door handles, as well as a hot tub in case they wanted to rent it out as serviced accommodation.
“We could have used every exit strategy [possible], explains Darren. “Someone wanted to rent it for 24 months under a corporate let for his staff. Then we thought we’d let it to a family. Then we had the valuers come round to tell us the figures and money talks. They both said £415,000 which we got six days later.
“We even had someone else offer us £420,000. They said they were away on holiday and missed the open day. We could have got in a bidding war if we’d gone for more, but we took the £415,000 and we can now reinvest that money into whatever we want to do.”
With interest, the total cost of the project came to £300,000 which will leave a margin of £115,000 after paying back their investors.
It has been a busy time for the couple who combine working full time in property with bringing up their five-year-old daughter. Ellen and Darren joined the Property Investors Academy in December 2019 and have now completed ten projects.
Their first one made them £25,000. Others have netted £60,000 and more. However, the life of an entrepreneur is not all plain sailing, as they discovered when they bought a huge office block in Blackpool for conversion into apartments and shops.
“They can’t all go to plan of course,” says Darren. “We didn’t make £200,000 like we wanted to. But the point with that project was it was mid Covid. We got the keys and three days later they locked the country down quite literally. We were on a fixed price, fixed term with the builder and then obviously you had all the materials go through the roof.”
There were also problems with labourers going off sick with the coronavirus, but Darren and Ellen were determined to see it through to avoid gaining a bad reputation. After paying back the loans from their investors with interest, they at least broke even.
They constantly borrow money for new ventures, even though they could afford to do them on their own. It enables them to take on several deals simultaneously and helps their cashflow if they need to pay someone.
Recently they sealed a deal in Weymouth with a joint venture partner.
“It’s a 50-50 JV deal. They put in all the money for the purchase of the property and the refurb,” says Ellen.
Once the work is done, the investor will get his money back plus 50 per cent of the profit in return for Ellen and Darren putting in the ‘legwork.’
“We’re not sure what we’re doing with it yet, but they essentially get half a property whether we flip it or refinance it and rent it out as an SA,” she adds.
The partner previously had his money invested in Premium Bonds and also put some of his capital into the redevelopment of their Andover house.
‘We saw we could make more money through property’
Darren and Ellen had already ‘flipped’ three houses before signing up to the academy. At the time property was a sideline as they were running separate businesses.
While Darren had his dealership, Ellen ran a veterinary physiotherapy practice. Together they were earning more than £150,000 a year and had a comfortable lifestyle. Then Ellen saw one of Samuel Leeds’ YouTube videos about refinancing property and using the funds to invest in other schemes.
At the time they had just carried out a loft conversion to add an extra two rooms to their three-bedroom house which they were selling. Instead of proceeding with the sale, Ellen persuaded Darren to remortgage the property which enabled them to pull out all their money.
After watching more of Samuel’s free content, Darren and Ella enrolled on the Property Investors Crash Course. After the first day, they were so impressed by the energy and practical nature of the teaching they signed up for every single programme run by the academy.
Subsequently, they gave up their businesses because they saw the potential to make more money through property and formed a company called Della Estates. They then branched out into other strategies which would give them a passive income.
Their portfolio includes rent-to-rents in Derby and Bournemouth, which Ellen describes as ‘a cash cow.’ One of their two rentals is a studio apartment in Bournemouth. The income from it fluctuates depending on the time of year, Ellen points out.
“It’s quite seasonal that one. In the summer it can do £1,400. In winter it drops down a little bit, so in the year it’s £1,000 to £1,200 [per month].”
The Derby property is a ‘cool,’ four-bedroom house,’ with pool tables, hot tubs and dartboards, says Darren.
“We’ve got SAs in Weymouth as well but they’re not rent-to-rents,” adds Ellen.
One of the units is a penthouse apartment. It also has a hot tub on the roof terrace, along with a private garden, and makes about £2,000 a month.
Education has been key in helping Darren and Ella to build on their early successes when they were buying houses which they did up and sold at a profit.
“We knew how much we could do on our own. We thought if we can do that, what can we do with training. That’s why we decided to join the Property Investors Academy,” says Ella.
They both agree with their mentor Samuel that if you invest in yourself, it is much easier to ask people to invest in your deals.
“And you know what you’re talking about. You can dig yourself out of holes like Blackpool and still come out on top,” says Darren who has also been able to ask Samuel for advice.
“It’s been easy working with Samuel on the academy. Even today, with the money he is worth, I can drop him a message on Whatsapp and get help if I’m stuck with something. He’ll still answer me. I thank him for that because he’s so humble. We now do that for others as well starting out.”
They signed up a friend to the academy and recommend it to their family and other friends who continually ask them questions about property investing.
“We say, ‘Go and do this. You’re in a rut. You keep asking us constantly how do I do this? What does BRR stand for? Get on Samuel’s YouTube channel. Check it out and then sign up for the academy and do it,” he adds.
Darren and Ella, who both grew up on a council estate, have been amazed by how far they have come in two years. Ella says: “I just couldn’t imagine my life to be like this now.”
She puts their success down to ‘pure grit.’ “We just got our heads down and got on with it. We want a nice life. We want to move abroad.”
Darren rejects any suggestion that he is about to retire when they settle in Majorca.
“I keep saying I’m going to retire, play golf and get on the beach and everyone says Darren that’s not you.”
Like Samuel, he enjoys the game of chasing property deals, as does Ella, although right now she is looking forward to a well-earned rest before pursuing their next investment.
“I think I want a bit of downtime just to appreciate everything we’ve done over the last couple of years. What’s the point if you can’t appreciate what you’ve done and enjoy it?”
- Get off the fence and just take some action. That’s what’s going to get you from a to b.
- Get clear on your goals and just go for it.
- You’ve got to be a good problem solver. There are a lot of moving parts and some of them are out of your control. That’s why this business can be difficult.
- Although you should go and do it, you still need to know what you’re doing. That’s why we put our money where our mouth was and said let’s get on the academy. You’ll learn along the way, have access to a power team and make connections.
- The art of good business is being a good middleman. That’s the hardest thing to overcome.
Samuel Leeds’ verdict
“Darren and Ellen came on my Winners on a Wednesday YouTube show two years ago and since then they’ve done millions of pounds worth of property deals. They’ve worked so hard to get where they are now. I really appreciate them not just because they’ve done so well but also for giving back to the community and agreeing to come on the show a second time to share their story and inspire people.”