Samuel Leeds played matchmaker to bring Chris Jeavons and Darcy Burgoyne together at one of his courses. Three years on, they are engaged to be married and have moved into a mansion next door to their guru. Thanks to his training, Chris and Darcy have built a hugely successful real estate business encompassing rent-to-serviced accommodation, deal sourcing and developing. Their portfolio, which includes an apartment in the exclusive Sandbanks area on the south coast, makes them around £10,000 a month, while the last deal they sold earned them a finder’s fee of £20,000.
Chance meeting with school pal leads Chris to become a deal sourcer
Chris describes his journey into property as fun and exciting. In secondary school he became good friends with a boy who attended the same classes as him.
They weren’t the smartest kids, says Chris, but they were OK – and their friendship continued when they went to college.
His pal went off to do plumbing and Chris got a job in the care sector. A couple of years later Chris bumped into him in the pub.
He remembers their conversation well. “I said what are you doing now? I’ve seen you on Facebook and Instagram. It looks like you’re doing really well.
“He was like, ‘I do property mate.’ I said that’s for clever, rich people. He goes. ‘No, no I’ve done it’ and started telling me about Samuel Leeds’ training.”
It turned out his friend, Elliot Spencer, had become a highly successful deal seller, who had sourced a string of properties for investors to buy, earning a lucrative commission each time.
“When he said that, I did the maths, and I thought this guy’s not smart. He’s from where I’m from. We have the same friends. I can do this.”
Elliot, who has since sold more than 200 deals, convinced Chris to go along to one of Samuel’s crash courses. It ‘blew his mind,’ says Chris, and he then paid for advanced training.
Darcy was 19 and doing a degree apprenticeship with an investment bank when she saw one of Samuel Leeds’ videos on YouTube. Having always been interested in property, she attended his crash course and then also enrolled on further training.
“I learned so much in just a day for £1. I thought if I can learn this much in a day, imagine how much I can learn when I do advanced training and really take this seriously.
“I was on a big high after returning from the crash course. I was speaking to my family and saying I don’t want to be an investment banker and do a nine to five. I want to do property.”
Her family, being protective, urged her not to rush into any decision as she had a good career path ahead of her, but she decided to quit her job and her degree.
“I was doing very well in it at the time, but I thought if I’m going to commit, I want to be hundred percent. I’m not a half-half sort of person. I’m either all in or I’m not.
“I had many arguments with my parents. Now I understand it came from a place of love and care, but at the time I didn’t see that.”
As events were to prove, they need not have worried. Darcy worked hard, especially as she had time to dedicate herself to her education with Samuel Leeds. She was calling agents and landlords every day and going to lots of viewings.
She found her niche in serviced accommodation and started building up a portfolio after attending the advanced rent-to-rent SA and HMO training.
“Samuel being the brilliant teacher he is said straight away here’s the script. Go and call people. I was like, what on earth!
“Anyway, I did the task and got five viewings within half an hour. One of those viewings was my first SA deal.”
Samuel introduced her to Chris after inviting her to help out at some of his events. Now they are about to be married and, with their business booming, have moved into a big, beautiful white house just across the road from Samuel’s home in Beaconsfield.
‘Our first guest in Sandbanks was Samuel Leeds’ boxing coach!’
The starting point for Chris was selling deals to investors. Explaining how the strategy works, he says: “Deal selling is where you find a good property. You actively go there and secure it for a certain price, and you then pass that deal on to an investor, somebody with money essentially, for a fee of £3,000 usually, depending on the size of the deal.”
The last deal they sold earned them a commission of £20,000, plus a box ticket for Chris to watch Wolverhampton Wanderers’ matches.
“Originally, we wanted £30,000, so the guy threw that in because he knew I liked Wolves and football.”
The deal was to buy six apartments by Chester Racecourse which had already been running as serviced accommodation for several years and were making £120,000 per annum.
Darcy says: “We saw all the figures. We verified them and did a lot of groundwork on it. We negotiated the price down to £900,000 in the end. The seller wanted £1.1m.”
“At the time we thought this is a killer deal. We would have had it, had we not been tied up and too busy in other things.”
Their training taught them not to waste an opportunity and so they sold it to an investor who lives in the area.
Having the right education and being in the right circles enabled Darcy and Chris to secure the off-market property and find a buyer with relative ease. Their commission reflected the discount they negotiated, the value of the property and the rental income it generates.
They require a potential investor to pay a percentage of their fee upfront, and to sign a non-disclosure agreement before allowing the client to view a property. The advance payment is refundable within 14 days if for any reason the investor wants to pull out of the purchase. This is stated in their contract and is legally binding.
The rent-to-rent side of their business is also thriving. Darcy’s first rent-to-SA was a two-bed apartment near to Gunwharf Quays, a designer shopping outlet in Portsmouth. They still rent it out now.
Darcy says it brings in about £1,000 a month which is largely a passive income as she was taught on her training how to systemise the operation.
“We have a great cleaning team in place. I call them my superheroes. They’re my eyes and ears.”
They also use software, provided by Uplisting, which helps them to manage their short stay bookings across multiple platforms, including Airbnb and booking.com
“It automates pretty much 99 per cent of things,” Darcy adds.
Their latest rent-to-serviced accommodation is a two-bed beachside apartment in Sandbanks which was fully booked throughout the summer.
Unbeknown to them, their first guest was Samuel’s boxing coach who was preparing Samuel for his charity fight with rival property trainer Rob Moore.
The boxing trainer was impressed with the apartment but told Samuel he felt the place wasn’t quite ready because the television was still in the box, and he needed towels.
Chris had been keen to get the apartment up and running quickly, and therefore the TV had not yet been installed. When Chris and Darcy found out their guest was Samuel’s trainer, they were concerned he would slate their accommodation.
“We thought Samuel’s going to tell us off because we haven’t done a good job!” admits Chris.
Happily, the boxer left them a favourable review. The pair pay £1,800 a month to rent the place. During the peak summer season, they were charging guests £400 a night to stay there and are now receiving more bookings for November and December.
Depending on the time of year, their rent-to-rents make them £10,000 a month and sometimes more.
Bungalows project is set to make a profit of over £800,000
Despite her youth, Darcy has never seen her age as an issue. Now aged 22, she says: “I never thought of it as I’m only 19. I’m a young girl. No, I’m an adult I know what I want to do with my life. I know now how I can get it. So, I just need to do it.”
Her attitude has been the same when women have asked her if she has found it hard being a female entrepreneur in property.
“I always say to them straight away you’re coming up with that excuse. You’re not going to get where you want to get.”
It is one of the qualities Chris admires in his partner that she quickly moves past setbacks.
“There have been times when we haven’t got the deal we wanted or didn’t get the investor. Every time, if something doesn’t go well, Darcy will take a moment. I can see she’s dejected but then she’ll just go, ‘Well every millionaire’s had failures. I’ve just got to keep going.’ That’s an incredible mindset and one of her best qualities.”
After investing in projects with Samuel Leeds, they are now focusing their efforts on the development side of their business. Darcy says they learned so much from Samuel and his brother Russell Leeds about how property developments work.
As a result, Darcy and Chris felt confident to take on a scheme of their own and found an off-market piece of land which they negotiated down heavily from £1m to £665,000.
Darcy says: “Chris did what he does best and negotiated the heck out of it. That was a massive win for us.”
They have been granted planning permission to build six bungalows on the land. With a projected build cost of about £1.2m and an end value of £2.7m, the development will generate a profit of well over £800,000, they hope.
Agents have told them there are already interested buyers, and they also know three people who want to purchase the houses.
The entrepreneurs are also eyeing up another off-market site close to where they live.
“It’s an old house on a big piece of land and all down the street they’ve demolished the house and built two on the land instead. All the houses along that street are worth a minimum of £2m,” Darcy enthuses.
With so many achievements under their belt, Chris and Darcy are keen to give back whenever they can. They return to events regularly to network and act as training advisers.
Their adventure in property has also seen them travel to Uganda to support the charity work undertaken in the country by the Samuel Leeds Foundation, including rebuilding a school.
After a 30-hour flight and a delay in Egypt, they were tired. But that was soon forgotten when they arrived at the school to see the work that had been done.
“We were welcomed because of what Samuel had done for them already and we were associated with him. There were 1,000 children dancing around. We felt like kings. That moment is something I’ll never forget,” recalls Chris.
The trip inspired them so much that they donated money towards the building of a second school, which is now completed, and they plan to return in November 2023.
Chris and Darcy’s tips
- Don’t just wait and assume something good is going to happen. You have to be the one that makes things happen.
- The most dangerous thing you can do for yourself is nothing.
- Property is a numbers game. The person that makes the most phone calls is always the person that wins.
“Darcy and Chris have proved to be an excellent match for each other in business and in life. They have combined their different specialisms well and created a business that is very successful. They’ve got cash flow from their rent-to-rents and deal selling, and can complete one development a year, like the one they’re taking on, and live really comfortably.”