Former waitress is financially free through Samuel Leeds property training

A young waitress was working punishing hours when she met a man and fell in love with him. Now they are having a baby. It is an everyday story, except that Jess Moss is only 19 and she and her partner Joe Madigan are financially free from property. In just one month, the couple, from Liverpool, recorded a profit of £16,000, using strategies such as rent-to-rent and selling deals. They also own a staging and management business and are now attracting overseas investors keen to cash in on their expertise.

‘The crash course was a massive eye-opener’

When Jess was a waitress, she was working up to 70 hours a week while also studying business at college. 

“I’d work 12 to 14 hours a day and not have a break nor sit down. The pay was absolutely shocking. I was on £6.50 an hour,” recalls Jess who admits she was disheartened.

Joe was a joiner at the time and similarly dissatisfied. He felt he had no direction in life with no one to guide him.

One day he took a break and went to Southport, a seaside town on Merseyside where Jess was then working. She was his waitress and he ‘chatted her up.’

Two and half years later Joe and Jess are looking forward to the birth of their first child, a boy who is due in June (2024) when Jess turns 20. They have also moved into a new house and their property business is flourishing.

Joe says he was always highly entrepreneurial, going along to car boot sales, and wanted to do something for himself but could never find a clear path of how to do it.

By contrast Jess knew exactly what she wanted to do, and that was property. “I wanted to buy mum her first house. That’s what pushed me into property when I was a kid.”

Sadly, Jess never got to fulfil her ambition as her mother passed away about a month before she and Joe attended one of Samuel Leeds’ popular £1 crash courses.

Jess says it was a ‘massive eye-opener’ as it introduced her to all kinds of strategies she never knew existed.

Joe, however, was sceptical. “When I heard about strategies like deal selling, I thought this can’t be legit. It’s too good to be true.”

He changed his mind when he started going to networking events and saw people making ‘stupid money.’ 

After the crash course Jess and Joe took up the offer of a week’s training on serviced accommodation and HMOs (houses in multiple occupation). They followed that up by joining the academy.

Jess broke her leg four days into a new part-time job which she took up while studying accountancy later on. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it allowed her to focus on her training in property and building up a business with Joe.

Jess has since given up her job and Joe has handed in his notice as they continue to expand their operation and branch out into other strategies like buy, refurbish, refinance.

‘I could be retired by 25’

In 2017, Joe says he almost died after breaking the back of his neck while riding a mountain bike. He was stuck in his room in a body brace for a year and it took a while for him to get back to work.

He had heard people in their fifties complaining of back pain and thought if he was like that then what would it be like when he was older.

“That’s what made me get more entrepreneurial because I was comfortable as a joiner.”

They took out a loan to enrol on the year-long academy programme, with Jess contributing the £6,000 she had left after paying her mum’s funeral expenses.

Joe and Jess were warned during their interview for the academy that they would be given the tools and the training to succeed but there was no guarantee that they would do well.

They were determined to make a go of it. Knowing they owed money motivated them to work hard.

Jess believes anyone can be successful in property so long as they try and are prepared to fail.

“Failure is only the way you succeed even more. A lot of people stop when they fail and that’s how they don’t become successful.

“There have been loads of things we’ve failed at. It’s been a massive learning curve for us. But we didn’t stop, and we’ve now gone up and up. We see that in the profit margins each month.”

Joe describes their journey as like having fallen in a lake and then broken through the ice, with their business ‘really kicking off’ in the past two months.

Jess supplies the figures: “On average the profit is about £7,000 to £8,000 a month. The turnover the month before that was the best month we’ve seen. Turnover was £28,000 and we profited £16,000.”

That is more than what she would earn in a year as a waitress, says Jess.

“My best friend thought I was too young to be doing this. She’s like live your life. Go on holiday. Explore the world. I said that’s what I want to do but if I work really hard for four years and scale up my business, I could be retired by the time I’m 25.”

Jess and Joe work well together. She has the grounding in business, dealing with property acquisitions and lease options. Joe’s forte is handling negotiations for rent-to-rent deals.

It helps that he is naturally ‘chilled.’ He has had landlords screaming down the phone at him when mentioning that he wants to take on a property on a company let.

One landlord claimed a tenant had grown cannabis in his property. Joe reassured him this wouldn’t happen if he was controlling the accommodation. After explaining the benefits of a rent-to-rent arrangement he managed to secure a viewing.

He points out that his company maintains the property and manages it so that it is hands-off for the owner who also has no agency fees to pay and will receive the full market rent.

There are other advantages too. If he fails to pay the landlord his rent, the agreement can be ended straight away. 

“If you give a tenant a five-year lease, hoping they’re good, if they don’t pay, you’re stuck paying the mortgage or paying their legal fees to get them out. With us it’s like a phone contract. If we don’t pay, we’re out.”

Some landlords are opposed to company lets because they have heard horror stories about parties being thrown in properties and bad guests coming in.

Joe makes it clear that they mainly accommodate contractors and people relocating to other areas and do not allow one-night stays. They also check their guests and take a deposit from them. This is in addition to having noise detectors in the property, with a system that turns off the electricity if the sound exceeds a certain level of decibels.

Jess has become adept at emphasising the gains to be had from entering into a lease option agreement. For a property owner who is struggling to make a profit on a rental property it can be a boon, especially if they are losing money, she says.

“We had one landlord whose mortgage was £950 and all they could rent the property for was £800, so it was taking a loss every single month.”

It was also worth less than what he paid for it after there was a recession.

Joe says they are helping landlords out as much as they are helping themselves. “If they’re in negative equity, they’re stuck. They can’t sell it for what it’s worth because they don’t want to take a loss on it – and they’re losing money each month on it because they don’t know the strategies of HMO and SA.”

Jess and Joe offer to rent the property for a fixed term of three to five years and maintain it during that time. Then, at the end of the term, they have an option to buy it at the price that was originally agreed, using the profits from renting it out at a higher rate for the deposit.

Prices go up and down, depending on the area, but there is a good chance the property will have gained in value by the time they come to purchase it.

Jess breaks the family curse

The two young entrepreneurs have come a long way in just over a year of being in the industry and now have foreign investors wanting to put money into their projects.

One investor from Qatar, who already had a buy-to-let in Liverpool, contacted the pair because they wanted to acquire more buy-to-lets.

“We said to them don’t do buy-to-lets. it’s a dying method. BRR is a million times better,” says Joe. “Instead of making £300 a month until you get your money back, why not pull out after a year or two and turn it into serviced accommodation.”

Jess says the investor has so far paid them £4,500 to find the deal. They will also provide the project management and stage the property which will boost their earnings even further.

It has been a rollercoaster experience for them over the last year with good and bad days. One of their biggest challenges was having to return their two rent-to-SAs in Liverpool.

They had only just set them up when it emerged there was a head lease restriction preventing them being rented out as serviced accommodation.

“We’ve had deals fall through as well, but it happens all the time,” says Joe, whose boss gave them a large storage container to put their furniture in after they had to vacate the accommodation.

They both feel their lives have changed for the better, despite being busier than ever. Jess says: “That’s because we’re doing something for ourselves, for our future. But we’re also creating something which is the most rewarding thing.”

They are also getting paid well and are taking on staff to replace themselves after speaking to their mentor Samuel Leeds on the Accelerated Coaching Performance Programme.

Right at the start of their training the couple realised the importance of networking and going to as many events as possible. They still go back to some of the crash courses now for the networking.

“Your network is your net worth, like Samuel says, and that is so true,” Jess stresses. “Out of everything he says I take that as gospel. It’s all the different people you meet. You take different notes from each other and can help one another.”

Jess is a ‘million per cent’ glad she joined the academy., as is Joe who found it enlightening. Jess also feels she has broken a family curse.

“It was a family curse. Everyone was in debt. No one owned houses. It’s the same with university. No one went to university before me.”

Joe offers a correction: “There is debt but it’s good debt now. We’ve been leveraging that as well.”

Jess agrees: “The academy was good debt.”

Jess and Joe’s tips

  • There has to be some fire in you to succeed.
  • You need to invest in your education.

Samuel Leeds verdict

“Jess and Joe have invested in themselves and are now winning big time. It’s been great working with them, having them at my house and on all the coaching programmes and the dinners. Everyone speaks super highly of them. I have huge respect for their work ethic.”

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