They have been described as a power couple in property by none other than Samuel Leeds. Sadie Holness and Lamina Conteh picked up the keys to their first rental apartment within a month of joining the Property Investors Academy. Less than a year later their monthly profits from a clutch of rent-to-rents and selling deals amount to around £7,500. It was not all plain sailing, though, as the pair explained when they appeared in the 208th episode of Winners on a Wednesday on YouTube.
‘In two months, we got our money back on rent-to-SA’
Before going into property, Sadie worked her way up to become a chartered accountant. She had a good salary and the satisfaction of knowing she had done well in her career. It had sustained her for 12 years, and her future looked secure. But it was not her passion.
“I knew it was not what I wanted to be doing forever. I knew I wanted to get into something else. I’d tried other businesses before. I tried networking marketing and I’d done a bit of trading. But then I came across Samuel Leeds in lockdown.
“He had an online 365 course at the time, so I joined that. But I wasn’t in the right headspace at the time. It was only when we came down to a crash course in December 2021 and heard what was possible and what you can achieve through property that we took our journey further.”
Sadie enrolled on the Property Investors Academy in April last year and they learnt about serviced accommodation and HMOs. They also watched Samuel’s YouTube videos back-to-back.
Before joining the academy, Sadie and Lamina had been trying for a long time to secure a rent-to-serviced accommodation deal without success. It was only when they did the training and learnt the correct script to use that they managed to ‘make it happen.’
Sadie found a furnished, two-bedroom apartment overlooking a lake in Milton Keynes, where they come from, which the landlord was willing to rent to them as a company let. It didn’t match their criteria of being in a central location, but they went ahead anyway.
“Sadie said I’ve got a wild card. I don’t know if it’s going to work, but it’s a beautiful place. Let’s do it. I knew the area. We just gave it a go and it turned out to be our most profitable SA,” recalls Lamina.
The rent payable to the landlord and bills, including Council Tax and booking fees, amounted to about £2,000 a month. On top of that there was a deposit and the first month’s rent to pay which came to around £3,000.
It was a sizeable investment. However, there was a six-month break clause in place which meant they could hand the keys back if it didn’t work.
In two months, they had made their money back, says Lamina, because the flat was generating a profit of around £1,500 per month.
Having seen how much money they could make, Sadie and Lamina repeated the process, taking on more rent-to-rents, only to see their first deal unravel. The break clause, which protected them if they wanted to withdraw from the rent-to-rent agreement, worked the other way too, as they were about to find out.
Parties scupper Sadie and Lamina’s first deal
Lack of experience contributed to Sadie and Lamina losing their first rent-to-rent. Parties were thrown in the apartment and the management of the block became involved. The situation ‘escalated’ and they were forced to give it back.
It was a devasting blow. Sadie had just handed in her notice to go full time into property.
“Luckily, we had four other properties at the time. One was going but that was the big earner. That was making £1,500 – the others £800 to £900. I could have quit, but in my head it was never an option. It was just a case of I need to grind harder to get some more properties and that’s exactly what we did.”
Lamina remembers that they received the notification on the same day as a Property Investors awards ceremony and academy dinner.
“We got the email that morning saying the block management company wasn’t happy for us to run it as an SA.”
Lamina says that despite being ‘gutted’ by the setback, they still attended the event.
“Life is life. It’s never going to be a smooth sailing. Things can happen. It’s about how you deal with them. We could have moped about and said, ‘Oh no, this has happened. What are we going to do now?’ But that’s not us.”
Sadie agrees: “That’s why environment is so key. Coming to the academy dinner that evening just gave us a boost. We thought, OK let’s get back up and go again.”
Determined to learn from their mistake, they put in place a raft of measures to prevent a similar occurrence. Bookings have to be for a minimum of two nights and cameras have been installed in all six of the properties they now control.
They have also stepped up their vetting procedures. Guests are asked to produce identification and pay a deposit.
The pair, who have a young son, make sure that anyone booking to stay there lives outside the area. If they come from Milton Keynes, Sadie says that is a sign that they will be using the flat for a party.
“We always try to call to make sure they’ve checked in OK. Then you can get a feel for anything that’s up. But since then, we’ve not had any issues.”
Lamina points out that the cameras, which are connected to their phones, have really helped.
“If, for example, two people have booked it and we see more than two people coming in and certain things don’t add up, I can quickly go over there and make sure everything’s OK.”
‘The Property Investors Academy is priceless’
Sadie became a full-time property entrepreneur in September. As she readily admits, accountancy was something she fell into after leaving school.
“When I left school all my friends were off to university. It wasn’t what I wanted to do. I went down the apprenticeship route. I went straight into working and got trained up as an accountant and studied part-time, but I knew I just didn’t have a passion for it. I knew there was more out there.”
By contrast Lamina enjoys his job but says he could give it up if he wanted to as their income from property has made them financially free. He also gets a lot of pleasure from being on the Property Investors Academy.
“The academy is priceless. You get to meet people you might not meet in your everyday life. For example, our latest JV is with an academy member. He’s seen what we’re doing and has invested £5,000 into us without even knowing us properly.
“He just watched our story. He liked what it was about, and he wanted to get involved. There is nowhere else people will do that.”
The most exciting part of being in property for Sadie has also been meeting people she would not have met had she remained in accountancy. She has made new friends too.
“Being surrounded by people who are on a similar path, who just want more out of life and are giving back, has been the best thing for me.”
Initially Sadie had to set up their business, Lion Lux Properties, on her own as Lamina only became a member of the Property Investors Academy later on. It required her to be disciplined because she was also juggling motherhood with holding down a demanding job as a chartered accountant. Every minute of the day was accounted for.
“I had to timetable everything I was doing. I had to fit in building a property business into the nooks and crannies of the time I had. That was something I learned from someone in the academy who talked about building their business in one hour a day.”
Sadie extended that by using her lunchbreaks to make calls to agencies, while in the evenings when their baby was sleeping, she would follow up leads. She took her son to house viewings at weekends, although at first it worried her it might look unprofessional.
Lamina joined the academy six months later after being impressed by his partner’s energy and work rate.
“I saw everything coming together and thought I need to be a part of this.”
In an average month they make a profit of about £4,500 from their rent-to-rents. This is topped up by selling property deals to investors. One deal per month brings in an extra £3,000.
‘Leaving my job has been the best thing ever’
For Sadie the hardest aspect to the training was learning how to clinch a deal but once they achieved that there were more challenges, including how to manage their SAs and then systemise them.
Lamina recognises that an entrepreneur is always going to face problems which need to be solved and that it is important to keep going. Support is available to students on weekly Mastermind Zoom calls when they can get advice and exchange ideas.
His motivation for running a property business is their son and any children they have in future.
“We didn’t come from a rich background. I feel we’ve got to build for our children. It’s like passing the baton. Give them the best possible life that they can live so they can pass it on to their children.
“I also want to help other people. It’s not about keeping the knowledge to yourself. It’s about passing the knowledge on.”
It is a goal which Sadie shares. “When I first got into property my why was being able to get out of work so I could spend more time with him. Having property there allowed me to do that.
“Now I’m in a place where I can help other mums. I can help them get out of their jobs and show them what’s possible. By setting aside a certain amount of time you can achieve this. You can have financial freedom and spend more time with your kids.”
She credits Samuel Leeds for changing their lives, declaring they wouldn’t be where they are without his training programmes.
“Leaving my job has just been the best thing ever. Now I can enjoy property. I’m more present with my family. I would recommend it to anyone.”
Sadie and Lamina’s tips
- Get educated. Come down to a £1 crash course. That’s what we tell all our friends and family.
- Don’t think you can do it on your own. It’s good to be around like-minded people. You can motivate and give each other confidence.
- Don’t give up. We got so many ‘no’s’ from estate agents and landlords. Now we’re friends with a lot of estate agents who pass us the deals.
Samuel Leeds' verdict
“Sadie and Lamina are like a power couple within property, dominating the market and becoming financially free. They are still continuing to learn and grow, but they’ve been a massive asset to the academy just by sharing and encouraging other people.
“Many people don’t like their jobs but end up spending their whole life until they’re in their 60s or even 70s doing something they don’t like – wasting their life away because they need to pay the rent or a mortgage and afford a car.
“That’s one of the reasons I set up the academy to help people live the life they want to live. So, I’m really glad to see Lamina and Sadie living their best lives.”