Full-time deal sourcer Kieran Connolly, who trained on Samuel Leeds’ academy, says he has just had his best month so far, recording a turnover of more than £60,000. For the former soldier it is a huge achievement given that a year ago he had no experience in property. Kieran is making money through a mixture of selling deals to investors and joint ventures in which he takes a slice of the profits.
‘It’s such a powerful environment to be in’
Kieran was an infantryman with the Second Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers when he was dispatched to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban. It was the peak of the war in 2009 and his battalion suffered heavy losses.
“There were about 50 of us that flew out and 11 including myself came home unharmed. That was really hard,” recalls Kieran who left the Army a year later.
It took him a decade before he started, in his words, to ‘get his stuff together.’ Then, in May 2022 he joined the Property Investors Academy.
“It changed my life. It’s such a powerful environment to be in,” he says.
The life Kieran leads now could not be more different to his upbringing. He grew up in Handsworth, one of the toughest parts of Birmingham, and left school with no qualifications.
“I didn’t pass anything in school. I got an X. I didn’t really care. I always knew I’d join the military. I just laughed it off. Obviously, I wouldn’t advise that. I just knew, though, that school and university and the nine to five weren’t for me. So, adjusting now to this type of life has been quite a contrast.”
He describes Handsworth as ‘a bad town,’ adding that a lot of the close friends he had there are now serving long jail sentences. The Army gave him the chance to get away from ‘all that.’
When the serviceman came home, however, he returned to the same circles, with the memories of his tour of duty still fresh in his mind. While serving with the now disbanded Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, he found himself in one of the worst hotspots.
“There was a lot of contact combat. We were supposed to be there for six months but the chopper that was taking us home got taken out. So, we got stuck for an extra month eating spam and noodles and [drinking] warm water that tasted like chlorine.
“I remember flying home. I looked around and I was like, I don’t recognise any of these boys. They were all substitutes. It took me a long time to get right.”
Even after Kieran enrolled on the academy, he had to be held to account after skipping Mastermind mentoring calls and some of the courses. He received a call in the daytime from a Property Investors member asking him why he was absent.
Although he had signed up for the advanced training, Kieran admits he hadn’t been taking it seriously. “I’d been out late doing stupidness and I was in bed. I was embarrassed.
“I thought I’ve got to stop. It’s one or the other now – the crossroads. Thank God I chose the right way.”
Part of his renewed sense of wanting to become successful through property was leaving behind his old life.
“When I started to separate from people that I knew weren’t any good, things changed a lot.”
For the first three months of his training, Kieran says he was making excuses. “I was still involved with another world. I was holidaying and doing everything I could to not have to do this until when that final crossroads came.”
Then he began implementing everything he had been taught and it worked ‘like a dream.’
‘I sold my car to pay the rent and the deposit’
Kieran’s breakthrough came seven months into his training when he secured a joint venture on a newly refurbished property in Queslett Road, Birmingham. “It was a beautiful property, right by an Asda.
“I had no money left. I’d invested pretty much my last into the academy. But it was a wise choice. I sold my car to pay the rent and the deposit. I knew it was a good price and it would make a lot of money. I thought someone will loan me the money.”
At one of Samuel Leeds’ courses, he met another ex-member of the forces who lent him the cash to furnish the house. Kieran has since repaid him twice over and they plan to take on more JVs.
He sold his first deal in January 2023. The fledgling entrepreneur had to keep checking his bank account to reassure himself that the payment had gone through.
“I just couldn’t believe it was real. I think a lot of people think it sounds too good to be true, like a scam, but it’s true.”
Kieran discovered that there are many wealthy people who will happily pay a deal sourcer upwards of £3,000 to find them a lucrative investment property. They may lack the time to go to viewings and do the negotiations, or simply live too far away.
“That’s where I come in. There are also people I know who don’t naturally do well on the phone or in agencies. They’ve got the knowledge but they’re not confident.”
Kieran says they need someone who can negotiate the price down and save the investor thousands of pounds.
‘I love the buzz at the Property Investors Crash Courses’
His property journey began at one of Samuel Leeds’ crash courses. He met people who were already landlords and thought if they needed help, then he was in the right place.
He also came across engineers who were earning £80,000 a year but were unhappy with their jobs, whereas everyone on the academy has a ‘big, beaming smile on their face.’
Even though the deal sourcer is now fully trained, he still attends the crash courses. “I still come if I find one in Birmingham just because of the buzz, the environment and the people. I love it.”
The businessman has even got deals through it, including a ‘great property.’
Since attending his first event, Kieran has gone on to sell a wide range of property investments from buy, refurbish, refinance projects to house ‘flips,’ rent-to-rents and serviced accommodation in and outside his home city.
In the early days, however, he struggled when looking for rental deals. “I’d turn up to a viewing and they’d say we’ll send you an application and they never did.”
When Kieran sought advice from his trainers, he was told to change the way he dressed. He had been arriving on his motorbike in his leathers.
“In all fairness to those people I wouldn’t have trusted me either with the keys to my house because of how I looked and sounded. You’d hear my bike coming from a mile away. It was not very professional.”
Nowadays he dresses smartly in a shirt with a nice pair of shoes and turns up in a car. He always wears a gold chain but that remains firmly tucked away under his shirt.
Kieran prefers not to focus on the rejections he had in the beginning, pointing out that he has had so much success it is hard to look at the losses.
A key moment for him was completing a full year of being on the Property Investors Academy in May. That was followed by his best month to date.
“The turnover was £61,000. It’s crazy when you say it out loud, but it’s been happening so fast I don’t really get a chance to reflect. Only about half of that was profit but it was good.”
In the same month, the entrepreneur also took on two joint ventures. Explaining how they work, Kieran says:
“I’ll get you say to put your money into an SA that I’ll find. There’ll usually be a premium as well. It’s expensive to JV with me. I’m doing things well. I’ve got a team with me. We’re doing all the management. It’s fully hands off.
“I’ll give the investor about 40 per cent of the profit and I’ll take 60 per cent. That gives me some left to divi up between the team and have the workload distributed amongst us.
“What I’ve started doing lately, because I wanted to get a bit more hands off with the rent-to-rents, is I’d sell another fraction of what’s remaining to another investor. So rather than just selling a deal for £3,000, I’m selling percentages and keeping a percentage too.”
In this way he has built up a portfolio of five properties, but only has liabilities on two of them.
“My very first one I kept to myself. I’ve got one for example that’s zero liability and 30 per cent of the profit. I help and advise on that one.”
Before booking a viewing of a property which he is targeting as a rent-to-rent, Kieran informs the landlord that it will be a company let and tells them about his service.
“I say there are management companies out there that do less than what we do, and they charge a fee. We’re going to stage your house. Your furniture is a gift, and it’s completely hands off. We handle everything and we pass the fees on to the clients.”
“I also explain that a company let is like a phone contract. If I don’t pay you on the day what happens with your phone bill? It gets cut off. It’s the same with us. I’ll go over my contract with them and show that it is fair, and we’ll guarantee the rent every month.”
‘It’s like having my own staff’
The support from the Property Investors Academy has been crucial to Kieran’s progress, particularly in dealing with the legalities and compliance involved in the industry.
“I’ve done all the mentors’ heads in calling them. If I hadn’t done that I would never have got this far. It’s like having my own staff. Whether it’s business planning or legality, I’ve got a department I can contact to book a mentoring call. Usually within no time someone will get back to me and give me all the advice I need.”
His success has enabled him to take on a 19-year-old admin assistant so that he can focus on his business, Ladder Properties. Kieran gives him a cut of each sale, paying him monthly commissions of £3,500 in recent months.
Hosting regular dinners with investors, who have bought deals from him, has also brought Kieran more trade. It was an idea he took from Samuel Leeds who holds academy dinners for students. Kieran enjoys the social side of it too.
Friends and family thought he was an ‘idiot’ when he paid to join the academy programme, but now they are beginning to see the fruits of his labours.
Kieran concludes: “You could charge double for the academy, and it would still be worth it. The value was outstanding and it’s uplifting to be able to help and advise people. Now I know about things, other than stripping machine guns, which are useful for the normal world.”
- Take the jump. It’s easy to make excuses not to do something you really want to do.
- The crash course is the best pound you’ll ever spend.
Samuel Leeds’ verdict
“Kieran has become a master at finding deals. He can go into estate agents and walk out with a deal. He’s had so many lease option agreements where people have said we’ll do it. Closing the deal is what he’s good at and he has blossomed in a new environment.
“I’m so glad Kieran has chosen the life of a successful businessman. I’m excited to see the inspiration and the rippling effect of positivity he has in the world, as a result of his hard-working dedication.”