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The ‘F’ words

ninja learning Aug 05, 2020

Property investors need to use the F words frequently to get the results they want.  And I’m not talking at swearing at the tradespeople who are getting behind with the refurb!

When you’re an inspired investor you operate with a cash buyer mind-set - and if you’ve heard me speaking anywhere you’ll be familiar with my take on this.  It’s all about breaking out of traditional ‘mortgage-buyer’ thinking.  You need a strategy to set you and your money free from being trapped in mortgage deposits so you can’t use it to buy more properties.

That’s where the ‘F’ words come into play.  There are 5 of them and they stand for:


Track down a good deal - where the property is vacant and needs a refurb.  An ideal property needs to be structurally sound, but is probably pretty run down otherwise and needs the bathroom and kitchen stripping out and replacing and a serious paint job throughout.



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Lease Option Agreements - and change of use

lease options Jul 20, 2020


If a landlord had a normal mortgage, with a Lease Option Agreement (LOA) to just rent the property rather than buying it, would they need to change their mortgage to a BTL/HMO/SA mortgage?

1) I assume they would. If they would, how have you found explaining this to the home owner?

2) What about those home owners who are on a really good rate from an old mortgage and changing would mean they don't get such a good deal?
Also with a LOA, say if the term is 5 years. Can you purchase anytime with the 5 years, so even after say 3 years?


The whole point of an LOA should be that is gives you the opportunity, but not the obligation, to purchase a property - and you can exercise that option at any point during the agreement.

But not all option agreements allow for that.

Actually there are LOAs and PLOAs. The P being the purchase part and, unless you have it written into the option contract that you have the right to purchase at a price agreed at the inception of the...

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A little planning goes a long way

If you’ve spotted an empty commercial building and can see the potential to convert it to residential accommodation, the first step is to understand the situation in relation to planning permission.

Every property has a ‘use definition’ and all commercial property has this predesignated use.

A covers retail and professional offices
B is for offices and commercial premises
C encompasses various types of accommodation
D covers all kinds of organisations where the public attend, but nobody lives there -
like museums, all kinds of school, health centres, churches, etc. Also entertainment,
health and leisure premises.

Each of these categories has sub-divisions too.

This means that the type of business that can open up in the premises is limited to the use it’s been granted by council. So, to change use, you would need to get permission from your local council.

Permitted development

In 2013 the government - as an anti-austerity measure - instituted some relaxation in...

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Growing your property portfolio


Is this possible:

  • Buy 5 houses (50-60k price range) on BTL mortgages with 25% deposits, do small refurbs out of own cash with aim to rent them out within 3 months max.
  • In 6 months’ time, refinance to pull some cash out of the deal (most will still have money in them)
  • Use the rental profits + cash from the refinancing to buy more rental properties
  • Repeat, building up a portfolio.

Question is, does this work?  Can I use BTL mortgages for this or do I have to use bridging finance? Can I refinance BTL mortgages in this price range?  Will there be limits to what I will be able to pull out of the re-mortgage bit.  (This is all assuming I take zero out of the company)


Your intention is sound, but your strategy to achieve it is a bit off beam.  I know something about this, because I have been teaching investors how to achieve exactly this outcome, and a lot more, since 2013.  Here is how to refine it to make it more achievable.

  • Using...
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Going, going, gone

strategic planning Jun 05, 2020

If you’re thinking of buying at auction, bidding is the least of your worries.  Before you set foot in the auction room you must have done your homework.

Check out the auctioneer’s catalogue and don’t go in blind.  Check the properties you’re interested in.  Find out as much as you can about them:

  • How long they’ve been on the market
  • If they’ve been offered in the mainstream market what was the last asking price
  • If there are any serious problems that will need fixing to make the property habitable – and importantly, mortgageable

Then you need to get your calculator out and work out the maximum price you can realistically pay for this property, to ensure you have profit built in after any work that needs doing. 

You’ll also need to calculate how long any refurb is likely to take and KNOW (not guess) how much it will cost to do it and how long will that take.  If you’re experienced in refurbs and...

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Lease options and serviced accommodation

serviced accommodation Apr 19, 2020


If you secure a lease option and want to turn the property into serviced accommodation (SA), does this mean the property owner would need to remortgage to get a mortgage that allows short-term lets, or would consent from the lender be enough?


No landlord you approach will have a mortgage that will permit SA usage.  It is a highly specialised form of mortgage and which would only be in place if they already operate as SA.  In addition, no standard mortgage lender will consent to SA usage, so you can assume that a new mortgage will be required.

Most lease option deals fall over at this point, as the landlord can’t be bothered with the hassle of that just so you can use their property.  If they remain interested at the point it will quickly wane once they realise both the set up costs and the higher ongoing interest rate they are going to have to pay for years to come - all so they can let you use their property for SA.

Pursuing this...

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Who will live in your properties?

buy to let Apr 04, 2020

If you’re a landlord you need tenants - not least because you’ve got a mortgage to pay or a bridging loan to pay back.  When you purchase a property do you have an idea of who will want to rent it?

If you’re doing a refurb your potential tenants may influence your choice of décor and layout.  For instance:

Student accommodation needs to be robust and easy to clean, so no fancy wallpaper and plenty of workspace will be needed in the kitchen to accommodate more than one meal being prepared at a time.  An efficient and cost-effective hot-water system is important for high demands for showers, laundry and kitchen use.

A family home can offer more up-market fixtures and fittings to make it attractive to potential occupants.  Generally, it’s wise to decorate in neutral colours to avoid alienating a possible tenant who doesn’t like a particular strong colour.

Finding your tenant

This depends on how much effort you want to put in.

  • If...
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Buying land without an option


I have a deal on a plot of land for £30k and GDV will be £410-420k, build cost will be £150k, my profit will be about £240k.

I have paid the planning consultant to check the plans and he is confident that we will get planning.  The owner of the land won’t get a lawyer to sign an option agreement; he only wants to give us word of mouth.

I have told him we both need a solicitor to do an option agreement, that after we get planning approval, he will only charge us £30k for the land. We have invested almost £500 on the deal so far and we’re not sure what to do, do we walk away?

If we get planning but have no option agreement, he can change the price on us or back out without any paperwork.


Developers use a lock out option contract to tie the seller in for a period (usually 12 months, but can be longer) so they have time to apply for planning.  If they get it, they exercise the option and buy the property...

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Tracking down unmortgageable properties

bridging finance Feb 05, 2020

A smart investor is always looking for properties that are considered unmortgageable by the mainstream mortgage lenders.  Why?  Because the sellers know they can’t expect to get full market value for a property that doesn’t qualify for a mortgage. 

That means that the pool of potential buyers is MUCH smaller.  Consequently, they know they’re going to have to negotiate and bring the price down to make the sale.  We’re not talking about knocking off a couple of thousand here - but anything between 10-50% below full market value.

So how do you find these properties?

  1. Any properties listed with the online websites (e.g. RightMove) that are listed as ‘Cash buyer only’ - particularly if there aren’t any internal photos. That usually means things are pretty bad!
  2. Check out the property auction listings. Again look for ‘cash buyer only’ notes.
  3. Keep your eyes open in your local area for properties that have been...
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How to get your offers accepted

ninja learning Jan 20, 2020


We’ve been searching for a property to flip for several months, consistently doing viewings and putting in offers.  But, our offers are always rejected.

We’ve done our due diligence so know what our maximum is to make a decent profit.  We follow up properties that we’ve offered on and have broadened our area with no luck.

How do we get vendors to accept our offers? We viewed over 50 and made offers on many without having any of them accepted by the vendor.  Any help/advice is gratefully received.


You are doing nothing wrong and plenty right, but an understanding of human behaviour will enable you to get a better perspective.   It’s human nature to over-value what you own already and under-value what you seek to own.

Whilst your calculation of what you need to pay for a property is probably accurate, it is not matching seller’s expectation of the sale price that they can achieve.

If your offers were being...

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