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Lease options and serviced accommodation

serviced accommodation Apr 20, 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 05, 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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A festive future

mindset Dec 20, 2019

It’s nearly the end of another year and the time when that ‘quiet’ time between Christmas and New Year is an excellent time to reflect on your year and make plans for the year to come.

So how was 2019 for you?  What did you achieve that made you feel good?  What was in your plan at the beginning of the year, but somehow didn’t get done?

What would you like next year to look like?  And more importantly, what will you need to do to make reality match that?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably either already in property or you’re seriously considering getting into it - and you must be aware that it’s one of the industries where the people outside it are known for being negative about it.  In order to succeed, you’ll need to be able to combat negative input.

To overcome the challenges along the way, you’ll need to develop a positive attitude to dealing with these.  It’s all about seeing a...

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Mixed use property

semi/full commercial Nov 10, 2019


 I am looking at a mixed use building currently fully let.  It consists of:

  • Ground floor let to a barbershop at £300PCM
  • 3-bed flat above (over 2 floors) let at £495PCM

My question is:

  • How would you put an indicative value on this type of unit when making an offer? It currently has a guide price of £96k and is going to auction, but didn’t sell at last auction (not sure if it didn’t meet guide or reserve)
  • How willing are commercial lenders on financing such a property?


  • Properties like this are based on a multiple of the rental income and that is influenced by based on the quality of the tenant and strength of the lease. i.e. a Tesco Express on a 20 year lease would value significantly higher than a barber on ‘whatever length’ lease.

So you have an annual rental income of £9,540. The guide price is therefore based on 10 x income and that is not unrealistic for this type of property.  If it...

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Isn’t bridging expensive?

bridging finance Oct 20, 2019

We have brokered hundreds of bridging loans, I also run the UK's best established (only?) training programme (the Ninja Investor Programme) to educate investors in the intelligent use of bridging.  But the minute you mention the word ‘bridging’, people who haven’t learned about it tend to say, ‘that’s expensive!’

Bridging interest rates are higher than most mortgage rates, BUT if the difference is not doing the deal or paying a little bit more and making a good profit then bridging isn’t expensive at all.  I’m always surprised that people prefer to borrow money from a Joint Venture partner rather than from a bridger - and then give away 50% or their hard-earned profits.  No bridger will take 50% of your profit.

The interest rate for your bridging loan depend on a number of factors that you don’t have much influence over.   When you find a deal, you want to bridge that specific deal.  The rate depends...

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Buy as a company or as an individual?

strategic planning Oct 10, 2019


I have a restaurant business, which is a limited company.  A couple of our sites are in places where finding staff can be tough, so offering live-in accommodation could really help us.  I’d like to buy a property to use as staff accommodation, what kind of mortgages are available and how much will I need for a deposit?


Staff accommodation seems to be a sensible solution to restaurants in remote places.  There is a prestigious restaurant on the Isle of Skye that does exactly that; and staff accommodation is an attractive perk in the hospitality industry.

Buying a significant asset (especially property) in the name of a trading business leaves the asset available for any potential future creditors of the business to go after.  

The smarter options would be to buy in your personal name or set up a new limited company for owning property.  Deciding which is the smarter of the two is, essentially, a tax question because you will be...

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Refurb and flip

buy to let Oct 05, 2019

Many property investors focus on buying property, adding value by refurbing and then reselling or refinancing as a buy-to-let.  It’s the core of most property investment.

Of course, there are many other strategies, but let’s look at how you make finance a refurb and flip effectively.

1:  Find a suitable property

This might be a property with a motivated buyer where you can negotiate a deal below market value.  This will benefit you in reducing the amount of capital you will have to invest.

2: Calculate refurb costs

It’s important to do this exercise carefully - no guesstimates.  The refurb needs to improve the value of the property too or you’ll lose money on the deal, especially if you plan to resell right after refurb. 

Getting your money out and repaying your loan should leave you with a healthy profit.  Work out what you want to make on the deal, then work out exactly what your refurb will cost.  When you’ve got...

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