How I became a full time portfolio landlady, investor, mentor and developer in the UK
I graduated as a veterinarian from Universiti Putra Malaysia in 2001. I practiced as a small animal veterinarian but as much as I loved working in a veterinary hospital, the pay was low, and even at that point I realized that freedom of time and opportunity to travel was something that I values greatly. After 3 years, I hung my stethoscope, and took on a role as a drug pusher in the livestock industry, where my role was to convince farmers and feedmillers in South East Asia that if they include my company’s products, their chickens and pigs would be healthier and therefore increasing profits for the livestock producers.
Photo above taken as a student veterinarian volunteering in a zoo
In my early 30s, my then partner told me that his life plan was to work very hard on his business so that he could retire at the age of 45. That got me thinking as to what would be my retirement plan, as I realised, I could not rely on just my EPF as the amount would be insufficient for a decent lifestyle, taking into account the inflation in 30 years’ time. Plus I didn’t want to rely on my future children.
I then started researching on all the possible ways I could secure a decent retirement, and found out that property was the best way because of the power of leveraging of your money. What does this mean? If you buy RM20,000 worth of gold bar, and if price of gold goes up by 10%, you make RM 2,000. However, if you put RM20,000 as a 10% deposit for a RM200,000 house, and the price increases by 10%, that means you would have made 20,000, which is a 100% returns on your investment. Plus, throughout the mortgage term, the tenant will be the one financing the mortgage, so that in 30 years time, the property would worth at least double the value, the mortgage will be fully paid off, so that will mean my initial investment of RM20,000 would now be worth RM400,000!
So with that plan in mind, I started buying a few properties, which was as many as I could based on my savings as well as salary for mortgage.
In 2010, I met my husband and relocated to the UK to start a family. A year later my son James was born.
As I was very curious about the real estate in the UK, I invested in a property course and learned that:
There is a mortgage product called Buy to Let mortgages where you can get a home loan based on the rental income of that property, instead of your personal income.
The strategy of buying below market value properties and then refinancing it later at full market value, and obtaining the capital that was invested back out, and then recycle the process.
The importance of being able to recycle your cash!
Fortunately for me, the property prices in Malaysia have soared in that period, so between 2012-2015, I sold off my properties in Malaysia and used the profits as deposits for my Buy To Lets., and then re-mortgaging them every 2 years to extract capital from the property.
My first investment property in London. It was in Zone 5 East London, and I bought it for £163,000 (normal value £189,000), and rented it for £1,100 a month.
However in 2016, the property climate change with introduction of new taxes rules, and a tightening on lending conditions meant that the happy days of remortgaging every 2 years to buy another property was no longer feasible.
I then started looking for other alternatives and went into property development. I did a Joint Venture with another property developer to buy a corner pet fish shop which was converted into 3 flats and was sold out on the fourth day. During this time I also invested with another developer, and also have bought a site in London to build a block of 3 units of apartments.
My first development Joint Venture - a disused corner fish pet shop
After conversion into 3 flats
Being a full time property investor/ developer/ portfolio landlord, I have access to some very good investment deals, and because I am both a developer, as well as an investor, I am also able to do the numbers to uncover good investment opportunities. As my own investment funds have been committed to other projects, and it was a shame to let this opportunity go, I started sharing this opportunity with friends who have money sitting in the bank, but with no access to good deals, or no time or experience to identify these opportunities, and to work in such a way that it would be a win-win situation for everyone. I have always been passionate educating my friends about leveraging their funds using property investment to achieve passive income and financial freedom, because as Warren Buffet had said ‘If your money don’t work for you when you sleep, you will have to work for money till the day you die’.
So the purpose of this blog is to share my experience and knowledge to fellow Malaysians or any other property investors on Property Investment in the UK, so that you can learn about all the trends and the different investment opportunities here in UK that would suit your appetite for risk and returns.