Couple quit Dubai jobs, joins Samuel Leeds’ Academy…then buy four houses in a year

High-fliers Kirsty and James Eaton gave up well paid jobs in Dubai to become full-time property entrepreneurs back home in England – and then promptly went on a spending spree. After joining Samuel Leeds’ academy, the couple bought FOUR properties in a year – partly funded by selling their overseas home. Three are HMOs. They are also about to take on a rent-to-rent. Once all of them are up and running the predicated cash flow will be £5,000 to £6,000 a month. 

House ‘flip’ makes Kirsty and James over £120,000

It was their careers that motivated Kirsty and James first and foremost, but they always wanted to get into property. The couple took their chance when there was a slump in house prices ten years ago. Using savings, they put down a deposit on a one-bedroom apartment in west London where they were living at the time.

It was an expensive area, but the flat had been repossessed and they managed to negotiate the price down from £290,000 to £275,000. Three months later, after giving it a light refurbishment, the pair embarked on a round-the-world trip. 

Then James landed a job in Dubai as a fitness trainer. While abroad, they rented out their apartment through a letting agency and settled into their new life. James progressed into management, while Kirsty became global head of travel retail for an international luxury company, working with fashion accessories.

After five years, the expats got ‘itchy feet,’ as Kirsty puts it, to invest their money in bricks and mortar once more. 

“A lot of people said don’t do it. It’s too risky, but we’d got to the end of our tenancy agreement. I did a bit of due diligence and people I knew, who had been there all their life, said the prices you’re getting now you’ll never get again. So, we were sold on buying in Dubai,” recalls James.

After doing their research, they bought a rundown house to do up and live in. It was in an amazing location, being close to the marina and beach, says Kirsty, adding:

“As expats you have to put down a minimum 25 per cent, as you would a buy-to-let, even though we were having it as our own home. So, we scraped together everything and even took out a secondary loan to put down the deposit. We got a four-year loan and then paid it off in a year and a half. 

“We did up the house piecemeal, room by room, as we were getting savings.”

The purchase price was the equivalent of about £214,000 and they subsequently sold it for around £400,000. After their costs, it made them more than £120,000.

When they bought the house, there was so much on the market which was cheap, James wondered why no one else was capitalising on the moment. If they had had more money, they would have bought at least one more property at the time, he says.

As it turned out, James and Kirsty’s investment was timely as within six months property prices started to recover.

Their lifestyle in the United Arab Emirates was an enviable one. James paid no tax on his salary, while Kirsty travelled the world with her work. Their priorities, however, changed when their daughter was born. 

Kirsty found that although she loved her job, she wanted to be around more for her  child. So, she began thinking about how they could go full time into property.

The Covid pandemic also made them re-evaluate their lives. A lightbulb moment was listening to Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad audiobook. It made them look at their finances in a different way.

“We thought if we sell up and go back to England, we’ve got this pot of money. Houses in James’ home town in Taunton at the time were about £180,000 each for a two or three-bed terrace.

“If we could buy two of those on a buy-to-let mortgage we’d be making a net profit of £800 a month.”

Then it dawned on them they couldn’t live on that amount, says Kirsty. “We were like, how do people buy property and then become financially free?” 

That changed when she came across Samuel Leeds’ YouTube channel about property investing. “I loved his videos. I said James you have to watch this.”

Kirsty flies back from Dubai for Property Investors course

It was in 2021, when James and Kirsty were on holiday in England, that Kirsty stumbled on Samuel Leeds’ training videos.

Afterwards James flew back to Dubai, while Kirsty stayed on for the summer so that their daughter could spend time with family. During this time, she saw that the Property Investors founder was about to hold one of his £1 crash courses. The only problem was that she was due to fly back the following week and the course was taking place a week later.

In a quandary, Kirsty rang her husband and then decided to delay her flight so that she could attend the event. Her mother looked after her daughter while she spent the day hearing about the different strategies available to property investors.

“I was totally overwhelmed because it was a big event,” Kirsty remembers.

Unbeknownst to her, she was sat next to Evans Willie, a previous winner of The Eviction, Property Investors’ annual Apprentice-style competition for budding entrepreneurs. They got chatting and she learnt about his Financial Freedom Challenge with Samuel Leeds, which was his prize. In just a week, with the help of his mentor, Evans made enough money from property deals to cover all his bills.

Feeling that Samuel had ‘all the answers,’ Kirsty signed up for the Financial Freedom Intensive course followed by the Deal Selling Masterclass

“That one was in November, but I was in Dubai by then. So, I flew back to England just for that course on my own. I didn’t tell my family. I just did it in secret because I thought they would think I was mad.”

Coincidentally, they were in Dubai on a visit when she had to take a Covid test to fly back.

“They said, ‘Why are you doing that?’ I couldn’t say I’m flying home tomorrow.”

James was fully behind Kirsty, taking time off to look after their daughter while she was away. 

“I was all for it because this is what we wanted to do. The last thing we wanted to do was move back to the UK and start our careers again. We wanted to have that open playing field where we were just going to completely transform our lives essentially and do this full time.”

Even so, James was caught off guard when Kirsty called him to say she had registered for the Property Investors Academy and encouraged him to enrol too.

James admits it was a shock, but after getting over his initial surprise recognised that they would need this support after being out of the country for eight years.

“We needed that community. If we’d done it on our own, we’d have felt more vulnerable, and lonelier,” he says.

Kirsty agrees: The best thing about the academy has been the network of people and being able to ask any of the great mentors a question, or everyone else in it doing the same things. They just understand and they’re in the same boat.”

James and Kirsty are now renovating a rundown house in Hartlepool which is to be converted into a six-bed HMO with en suites in each room. They bought it for £47,500 and are spending £113,000 on doing it up. When finished, the property will be refinanced to its new value, enabling them to pull out most of their money to reinvest in another project.

“It needs a lot of work, windows and a roof, but at the end when it’s all done it should be 95 per cent money out,” says James. “We’ve been quoted anywhere between £210,000 and £230,000 on a commercial valuation which is based on the revenue generated by the property.”

Kirsty describes the house as a beautiful building and says their aim is to offer good quality accommodation targeted at the higher end of the market. Once it is ready, each room will be rented out for about £500, or even double that if they can attract contractors.

Their research has shown them that there are a lot of industries in the area and engineers, particularly, who are looking for rooms for short stays.

They learnt about the buy, refurbish, refinance, rent strategy on their training and are slowly remortgaging all their properties using the same method. 

The biggest challenge has been finding a good power team, especially brokers who are familiar with commercial valuations and the BRRR strategy. Their network on the Property Investors Academy made this task much easier because they could get recommendations.

Technically, Kirsty and James are property millionaires, but that doesn’t mean the fledgling entrepreneurs are driving around in fancy cars just yet. In fact, they are living with James’ parents while building their assets. 

Kirsty says they made a ‘huge sacrifice’ when quitting their jobs in Dubai and moving to England. It was a case, therefore, of ‘having to make it work.’ Nevertheless, she felt frustrated at all their cash being tied up in their properties.

At the Accelerated Coaching Performance Programme Samuel Leeds set them the task of finding a rent-to-rent which would generate quick cash flow. Kirsty immediately looked for a property which they could rent out as serviced accommodation on Airbnb.

“I went on Gumtree that day and I found this perfect cottage 10 minutes down the road in the countryside but it’s 10 minutes from the county town of Somerset, close to the coast.”

When Kirsty visited it, she was nervous about broaching the subject of Airbnb with the landlord. But when she did, he was happy for her to take it on through Eaton Estates UK, the company she co-founded with James, provided she could offer a guaranteed monthly rent.

She has agreed to pay the owner £975 a month. The cottage will then be rented out for £125 per night, rising to £165 at peak times. It will leave her, she hopes, with a profit of £1,000 per month after all her costs have been deducted, including bills and cleaning charges.

Since their return Kirsty and James have seen interest rates going up, with the property market beginning to favour the buyer which has helped them build their portfolio.

“When there’s a crash people get scared. They don’t buy and actually that’s the time you should buy,” Kirsty points out. “We’ve bought four properties in the year we’ve been back. 

“We’ve used the money we’ve made from the Dubai house. We also did a huge renovation on our London flat and then refinanced it, pulling some money out.

“We had quite a lot of equity because when we were living in Dubai, we were sending money back to the UK to pay down our mortgage as quickly as we could.”

Their financial freedom goal is to make at least £6,000 a month from their properties which will enable them to move into their own home.

Kirsty concludes: “If you want to be financially free from property, then you need to look at proper strategies and educate yourself. Then take the action and do it because it’s the best thing we’ve ever done.”

James and Kirsty’s tips

  • Network and educate yourself.
  • Surround yourself with the people that know and don’t try to reinvent the wheel.  Copy and paste.
  • Take action but do the education first.

Samuel Leeds’ verdict

“Kirsty and James have been a massive inspiration in the property community. They were flying from Dubai to come to my events in London. That type of doing whatever it takes is what has got them to where they are today. And they’re still young. They can keep recycling their money and growing.”

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