Grocer trained by Samuel Leeds makes AMAZING £800,000 from one deal

For many years Kamran Iyyaz owned a grocery business in Glasgow. He also had an income from a small portfolio of buy-to-lets. Then Kamran decided he wanted to take on ‘bigger things.’ After attending one of Samuel Leeds’ crash courses in 2019 and signing up to the academy, he went on to make a profit of £800,000 from his first commercial deal. Now he is a full-time property developer with several major projects on the go, including a shopping mall which has attracted interest from a leading supermarket chain.

Office block conversion earns Kamran Property Developer of the Year award

As a property developer Kamran has had to deal with objections from planners, snags with builders and delays caused by Covid. Despite this, he never gives up. 

“The mindset you have to adopt to problems is don’t give up. Work at it and you will find a solution. Sometimes it’s the little steps that resolve the bigger problems. You have to be determined.”

He believes there are three solutions to every problem. “There’s one solution that’s probably quite difficult, a second solution that might be easier and then there is one solution that’s just phenomenal. It just takes a bit of time finding the one that’s phenomenal,” explains Kamran.

This positive, can-do mindset was put to the ultimate test when Kamran went in search of his first deal straight after attending the crash course. He headed to Doncaster to view ‘a little HMO.’ It didn’t match up to his expectations and he felt disappointed, having travelled a long way to see it. So, the agents who had shown him the property suggested he look at ‘something else.’ 

They told Kamran a friend owned a large commercial property which was in walking distance. Kamran agreed to go along. It turned out to be a disused council office block.

Still finding his feet in the industry, Kamran quickly concluded he was out of his depth and told the vendor so.

“I was overwhelmed by the size of it. I said, ‘I’m a bit out of my comfort zone here. You’re wanting £312,000 for this. I haven’t got that money and how am I going to raise it?’ He said, ‘You’ve got a bit of experience. We all start off somewhere if you’re interested.”

Kamran looked at the building and wondered what he could do with it. He was even more confused by the plans because of the different options for developing the site. 

Telling the seller it was out of his league, he walked away only to have a change of heart. Realising he had the back-up of his academy coaches Kamran rang back the owner to say he would buy the premises. However, he still had no idea how to pay for it.

The solution lay with his trainers. They put him in touch with a mortgage adviser who helped him to refinance his five buy-to-lets, which released capital for the investment. As he was new to property developing at the time, the businessman took the precaution of asking one of his mentors to check his figures before pressing ahead. 

“He was so impressed he wanted to invest in it himself,” says Kamran who also borrowed money from family and friends to start the process. 

Outline planning permission had already been granted for a mixed residential/commercial use of the site. Then the pandemic kicked in and there were issues with the supply of materials and labour which caused delays. At the same time building costs were rising.

“It had a big effect on me. It was a lot of pressure, but I thought no, I’m not going to give up here.”

There were further complications when the entrepreneur applied for planning consent to put penthouse apartments on top of the building. It lay in the curtilage of a listed building and a development of this kind had not been undertaken before in the area. He was up against it, particularly when the local conservation officer opposed the idea. 

Kamran refused to be defeated. He regarded the flats as ‘the cherry on the cake.’ So, he persuaded the officer to look at the building with his architect. 

The roof was mainly flat, but there was a section where it dropped down by about four feet. 

“When I took them onto the roof, I said why can’t I build something and drop it in there?”

Kamran’s proposal was to cut a large hole in the building and drop a two-tier precast concrete staircase into it to connect the penthouses with the internal building. The officer liked the concept, but it still took six months to get permission because of Covid, he says.

The former grocer trained as a plumber and had worked on a lot of listed period houses in the past. He therefore had some knowledge about buildings. He also had a structural engineer advising him.

It the end it took more than two years to complete the project which fell six months behind schedule. The office complex was converted into a 3,000 sq. ft. retail unit, while the building opposite was turned into a 15-bed HMO. Councillors also granted him planning permission for the penthouse element of the scheme.

He encountered scepticism from some landlords who warned him he would never be able to rent out his rooms in Doncaster because the HMO market was saturated. However, he went down the co-living route, providing high end accommodation for professionals.

An agent in the area helped him to find tenants who were willing in Kamran’s words to pay a lot more over the market rate for a premium product.

The cost of the refurbishment came to about £600,000. With the purchase price, it amounted to a hefty outlay. But his vision paid off. The end valuation came in at £1.7m and the loan to value was 75 per cent when it came to remortgaging the property. It enabled Kamran to pull out £1.27m which was more money than he originally put in.

At one point he was by himself and lived on the site doing some of the work. He also had to make frequent trips from his home north of the border which involved a four-hour drive. Even taking these factors into account, he believes the effort was worth it ‘110 per cent.’

“That deal made a profit of about £800,000. Obviously, you leave some money in the pot with the refinance. I wasn’t too concerned. I was just happy to complete the project.”

He adds: “The rent roll across the entire building is about £16,000 including the retail unit.”

In total, there are 21 rooms spread over four flats, with two tenants on a 21-year lease.

The scheme won Kamran the academy’s Property Developer of the Year Award and he has continued to prosper, with more money-making plans in the pipeline.

Morrisons Daily eyes up one of Kamran’s sites

Kamran reinvested the money he made on the Doncaster development into buying two large properties. One of these acquisitions in the north of England is in fact three buildings consisting of two end terraced houses with a commercial unit in the middle.

The plan is to convert the two houses into one-bedroom, self-contained luxury apartments and to develop a large car park which has become a dumping ground. 

“The council would love to see something done with it which is where we step in. Hopefully we’ll be able to improve that site.”

Kamran has also purchased a shopping mall, again with a large car park, for £275,000. Commercial units are cheap, but the skill for him lies in finding the right tenant and location.

He is looking at a variety of uses for the building, including having a coffee shop and a spa, and has been approached by leading retailers interested in renting one of the units.

“One is Morrisons Daily which is expanding all over the UK,” he reveals. 

The connection with Morrisons came through an agent who was showing him around another commercial property and said there had been interest from the retailer in the site.

After working for 33 years in retail, the ex-academy student is also happy to consider enquiries from independent operators. 

The surveyor Kamran has been dealing with wanted to know how he got into property and was ‘blown away’ by what the entrepreneur was thinking of doing.

“My business partner George was there. The surveyor was intrigued by our property journey. I told him about my journey with Samuel Leeds and my training. He went away in his break and went on to Samuel’s website and had a look at some of his content. He said he spent his whole lunchtime just online.”

Kamran also has a land deal lined up in Scotland and is waiting for the right moment to submit a planning application. He has been busy too with his family. He helped his mother move from the family home of over 40 years in Glasgow’s West End to a property nearer to him which he renovated. And he has assisted other relatives with another project.

Before joining the academy Kamran had what he describes as a basic portfolio of buy-to-lets in a beautiful area of Scotland. He considered pulling out his equity but found there was little information out there at the time to help him.

“I wanted to scale up and do bigger things, but I didn’t have the confidence to do it. I thought I need to get some knowledge. With the experience I’ve got already I want to be a professional property developer.

“When I went to the crash course, I thought this is amazing. I loved the environment and being around people who were really motivated in property. I ended up on the stage. I got one of the best deals and that’s where it started. I joined the academy straight away.”

What drives him on is the desire to help relieve poverty with the money he makes from property and to build homes for people in countries lacking adequate services. He has accepted an invitation from Samuel Leeds to go to Uganda to see the work of his charity, which has been providing new health facilities and classrooms. Kamran is also looking forward to a long overdue holiday. 

“I sold my business in October 2023. When I was on this property journey, I still had a retail business. I used to be up at five in the morning. I worked four days there with my staff and then I would make my way to Doncaster and stay on site three days a week.

“Retail is difficult. I’m happy to be out of it and full time in property now.”

Kamran’s tips

  • There’s always a solution. Coming across problems and learning how to deal with them is the key.
  • People who are interested in property can find some great content out there. Have a look and get educated. Come to the crash course.

Samuel Leeds’ verdict

“A lot of people who are successful in property keep their cards close their chest. They would never appear on my Winners on a Wednesday YouTube show like Kamran did and share what they’re doing. One of the things I love about Kamran is that he’s got a really giving heart. He’s helped so many people on the academy, passing on his information and helping his family.”

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