If you think 30-somethings haven’t got a hope of establishing a property portfolio in today’s competitive and expensive housing market then a few minutes in the company of Terri Baxandall may change your mind.
She and her husband Will are about to buy their ninth buy-to-let and are hoping to give up their day jobs and become full-time property investors, developers and landlords within two years – which will be just shy of six years after setting off on their investment journey.
Their voyage from ‘zero’ to ‘hero’ will raise eyebrows among traditional buy-to-let landlords; they paid for a course via a property academy fronted by TV star Martin Roberts and use alternative funding sources to buy their properties.
Terri, 32, who works part-time as a dental nurse, says they paid a significant sum to complete the course after attending earlier introduction events.
Her partner Will, 33, works full-time in site management for a new-build developer.
“We didn’t have a passion or anything like that,” she says. “Instead, we went to a free two-hour seminar about investing in property and it grew from there.”
Terri says the courses cost ‘a lot of money’ but that she believes it was the best thing they ever did despite still owing money for the original training.
“I think now we wouldn’t pay to do the courses because there’s a lot more information available online that wasn’t available then,” she adds.
“But because the course cost so much, we thought ‘this needs to work’ and we committed to it more than we would have done otherwise.”
Originally living on the Isle of Wight, they moved to Portsmouth to get better jobs and buy their first home, but soon realised they couldn’t crack the city’s buy-to-let market.
They then made the bold decision to make their first investments in Rotherham and went there ‘every weekend’ in order to get to know its housing market and property professionals, later relocating to Newark (an hour away) as their portfolio grew.
“Our first Rotherham property cost £26,000 in January 2019 but it needed a lot of work, much of which we did after sacking the builder,” she adds. “But it made us appreciate the cost and speed benefits of doing our own refurb work. Also, we realised it meant we could buy properties other investors wouldn’t touch.”
Terri urges others not to think that she and Will have’ made money fast’ and to remember that education is key – both to get the model right and from a regulatory perspective – in order to have a ‘viable business’.
“You still need to know what’s going on,” she adds. “And ours is a long-term plan, not a get-rich-quick scheme; at the moment we put all our profits back into the business.”
The couple has also taken an unusual approach to finance. This has included buying properties, doing them up and then refinancing them but they also court private investors – and their social media fees on Instagram and Facebook plug their proven returns on investment.
“The people who lend us the money know, like and trust us, but it takes time to gather these kinds of investors around you, and to prove you know what you’re doing,” she says.
Terry and Will’s investment activities can be seen on their Instagram account.