Electrician (24) is a ‘live wire’ in property, making £5K per month…..
Not many 24-year-olds manage to get on the property ladder, never mind buy four houses – but that’s what electrician Thomas Atkinson has done. He gave up his £48,000 a year job in January to become a full-time property investor and now earns an average of £5,600 a month through deal sourcing and rents from houses he has done up and refinanced. His earnings shot through the roof after he joined the Property Investors Academy and recently, he and his fiancée Shona moved into a four-bedroom detached house on the outskirts of York.
Thomas pockets £50,000 from buy, refurbish, refinance project
Thomas’ career in property began by accident. He and his partner Shona were renovating their home, not with any intention to make money but for themselves. Then Thomas watched Samuel Leeds’ YouTube videos and realised that by improving it and pushing up the value he could refinance their house. That would give him money to invest in bricks and mortar.
“We bought the house for £154,000, spent £15,000 on it and it revalued at £210,000 in six months. So, it was an accidental buy, refurbish, refinance [scheme],” explains Thomas.
After refinancing the mortgage, he was left with £50,000 in his pocket. He invested £12,000 of that in joining the Property Investors Academy. His friends and family were highly sceptical.
“I remember signing up to the academy and coming home and mum was like, what have you done?” He laughs at the memory but then adds seriously: “I said, no trust me. I want to make it work. I believe in it.”
Thomas had good reason to take the plunge. Despite having a well-paid job, he worked away a lot and it was a ‘graft.’
“I was in Glasgow for three months and the people I was around I could see weren’t happy. They’d been doing the job I was doing for 10 years, and they had children. I could tell that they wanted to be at home with the children and it was capped what they could achieve.
“If I wanted to get further than I was, I needed to be a director which was very unlikely. The whole drive to invest in property was so that I could be there for the children when I’m older.”
Thomas recouped the cost of the academy through the equity on his first deal. He and his fiancée bought a house in Hull for £63,000. The refurbishment, legal fees and the deposit for the bridging loan came to £40,000. When the work was finished, the property was refinanced to its new value of £97,500.
“We left in £11,000, so we pulled most of our money out. Then we did it again. That deal was pretty much identical to the second one because we bought a house on the opposite street for £65,000.
“The refurb was a bit more on that because we had a proper good power team in place. The fees came to about £45,000 all in, including the bridging and deposits. We refinanced at £110,000 and left £9,000 in that. The return on investment on both was about 30 per cent.”
‘Accelerated coaching programme helped me reboot’
Word got round that Thomas was good at finding investment opportunities in the housing market and soon people were approaching him, encouraging him to bring deals to him. One of those people was another academy member, Patrick Welsh who began co-deal sourcing with him.
He sold his first deal through Patrick while still working as an electrician full-time and they split the £5,000 fee between them. An investor bought the property in York to do up and refinance.
Thomas followed this up by selling another five deals as a co-deal sourcer but then hit a lean patch. It was only when he went on the academy’s bespoke Accelerated Coaching and Mentoring Programme that his fortunes changed.
Thomas came under the scrutiny of Samuel Leeds himself who looked at his performance and goals. It was a brutal two days as students on the course were divided into two groups – those who were doing well and those who weren’t.
Samuel asked him what his problem was, and Thomas explained he hadn’t sold a deal for two months and was worried.
“Samuel looked at my diary and there wasn’t much in there. I said: I go to the gym in the morning, and I walk my dog. He said: so, you’re not actually starting your day till 10 o’ clock in the morning. I needed a shake basically to get my head back in gear. I think I was getting too comfortable.”
Working at weekends and again pondering on the fact his pay was always going to be capped, Thomas concluded he could make more money in property.
“As soon as I saw you could make a lot of money through deal sourcing, I just thought you can achieve a lot more in property. I knew how hard I worked being employed. If I put that into my own business I could do really well.”
After the accelerated coaching programme, in June, he had a ‘reboot.’
“I had to put everything back on paper and think what I was doing wrong – what was working and not. The comments from some of the mentors pushed me in the right direction. Now I’m selling deals to investors directly and it’s really worked.”
Thomas also attended the Samuel365 Mastermind session where he was able to report to Samuel that he had made £7,000 that month and field questions from other students.
“Before I did the Accelerated Coaching and Mentoring Programme, I didn’t realise how much you need to concentrate on finding investors. I was concentrating on deals and not investors.”
Through social media he built up a list of investors and specialises in selling buy, refurbish, refinance deals. He also handles the project management and has found an excellent build team in Hull.
With his first BRR project, he completed the restoration himself. This stretched him as he was still a full-time employee, living in York and commuting to Hull – although the work cost him only £15,000. Now he oversees projects while his build team takes over, charging £20,000 for a standard, three-bed terraced house.
Thomas not only identifies a property, he also negotiates the price and does his due diligence to make sure it’s a good investment financially.
“You’ve got to get your building quote right. The three figures that matter are purchase price, refurbishment cost and end value. People under-estimate the refurb and over-estimate the end value.
“If you get that wrong, suddenly it doesn’t make money and you might as well just have a turnkey investment.”
The young entrepreneur gets his figures right by having a detailed conversation with his builder, where he goes through a spreadsheet, ensuring every aspect of the work is taken into consideration.
“I make sure everything is ticked off and it will pump out a figure to make sure it’s an exact quotation to the pound of what it’s going to be. We always add on a 20 per cent contingency to make sure there’s enough of a buffer.”
Thomas adds: “I’d happily pay a sourcing fee for a great deal, even if I don’t find it. I think a sourcing fee is nothing compared to what you can make.”
Three deals earn Thomas £9K
Thomas’ average charge is £3,000 per deal. In September he sold three deals, all to the same investor. One was a buy, refurbish, refinance deal in Darlington. Thomas picked up a commission of £5,000 for that one as it included project management. The investor also bought two family lets which Thomas had sourced, making him £9,000 in total.
Thomas has finally won over his family and friends, including his mother. They all now want him to find properties for them that they can purchase and gain an income from.
The Property Investors Academy has been hugely influential in lifting him onto the coveted financial freedom rostrum. Fellow academy members have helped him along the way, particularly Patrick who advised him about co-deal sourcing.
“It’s not easy and you do need good support around you to keep pushing you through those rough patches.”
At the accelerated coaching programme, he told Patrick he was thinking of going back to being an electrician for two days a week because he couldn’t sell a deal at the time and had bills to pay. But Patrick and another coach dissuaded him.
“I would definitely have gone back to work if it wasn’t for the programme. If I was speaking it, I was going to talk it into reality. I probably would have gone back to being a full-time electrician.”
The Deal Selling Masterclass and the Buy, Refurb, Refinance courses were highlights for him on the academy. As a result, he feels confident selling deals to investors
The key to being successful with the BRR strategy, he says, is to make sure you don’t overpay for the property and to get it in a rundown state. Speaking to builders to get quotations and having a good spreadsheet are also important in estimating the refurbishment cost.
He calculates the end value by comparing the prices of similar properties on the same road. Sites like PropertyData and DealSource also provide an analysis service.
Thomas’ latest endeavour is a joint venture scheme with another academy member, Dan Bowie, for a six-bed HMO conversion in Darlington. They are about to complete the purchase of the house for £105,000. The refurbishment cost is estimated at £65,000 and the end value is expected to be £210,000. They will each leave about £10,000 in the deal, and it will cashflow about £1,200 a month which they will split between them. He has also had another offer accepted on a property in Rochdale.
He pays tribute to his partner Shona for being a ‘massive support’ through his journey in property and taking care of his emails while he is out on the road looking for deals.
“We worked really hard to buy that first house and renovate it, and then to refinance it. It wasn’t easy doing that.”
- Have the right power team around you. A good solicitor is so important.
- Believe in yourself.
- Put the work in. Hard work always pays off.
- You can watch as many videos as you possibly can but until you start building your own network and having people around you, you won’t really act on it. You need people to bounce off.
Samuel Leeds’ verdict
“Thomas started by coming to the Property Crash Course and has come back again and again, as well as joining the academy. He’s successfully sold to investors and has got a good reputation. In the Property Investors community everyone is talking positively about him. People are saying they’ve bought a deal off him, and it’s gone really well.
“Packaging a deal and selling doesn’t take that long. If you just do one a month, you can replace the average salary. Thomas is living proof of that. He’s also successfully combining the strategies of BRR, deal sourcing, HMOs and joint ventures.”
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