Property Investors Academy student becomes a millionaire – in two years
Father-of-two Jamie Higgs has become a millionaire through investing in bricks and mortar in the last two years after receiving training from Samuel Leeds and his coaches. Jamie refinanced his house to pull out equity which he used to reinvest in another property. Having found the key to unlocking capital through the buy, refurbish, refinance strategy, he repeated this formula. Today, his portfolio is so large the 39-year-old entrepreneur has lost count of how many houses he has bought.
‘All my money is out there working hard’
Jamie, from Newport in South Wales, drove all the way to a Property Investors live event in Brighton to thank Samuel Leeds personally for all his help and advice.
“I wanted to come to the Property Millionaire Intensive just to thank him for putting me in the position I’m in of being a millionaire and for all the training, guidance and mentorship. I reached out a few times to Samuel and he has really helped. The academy and the support from the trainers and members have been fantastic.”
Samuel draws a distinction between being a property millionaire and a millionaire. A property millionaire, he says, might have ten houses worth £100,000 each but their net worth might only be £250,000 because they have mortgages on them.
Jamie’s net worth, the Property Investors’ founder points out, is just over £1m – a fact he celebrated with a fist bump when interviewing his student for his Winners on a Wednesday YouTube series.
It is Jamie’s second appearance on the channel. The family man spoke on camera a year ago about how he gave up a well-paid job just after joining the Property Investors Academy. When he was filmed, he had already replaced his income and become financially independent. Now his wife has also left her work to come on board and he employs three staff.
This has enabled him to grow his business to such an extent that when he met Samuel, he said it would take ‘a day or two’ to visit all his properties. In the end, they spent six hours touring some of Jamie’s stock, breaking off only for dinner. They couldn’t go inside them because they are all tenanted
Jamie says he now appreciates why it is difficult for a successful property entrepreneur to keep track of the size of their portfolio.
“I remember at one of Samuel’s events somebody asked him the question of how many houses he had got, and he didn’t answer with a specific number. But now I understand it’s because you’ve got different projects at different stages. Some you sell to raise capital and some sit within the portfolio.”
There is the added complication that if a large commercial unit has been split into several individual titles, it is hard to know whether that counts as one unit or more. The same difficulty applies with land being developed for housing.
Jamie says even though he is a millionaire, he hasn’t got hundreds of thousands of pounds sitting in the bank because all his money is tied up in property and is ‘out working hard.”
His portfolio includes houses and flats, as well as commercial and mixed-use properties. Hard graft has contributed to his success, aided by people he trusts. Working alongside him and his wife are a full-time sourcer and project manager. He also employs someone to look after the social media side of the business and has a small build team in Llanelli who are kept ‘constantly busy’ with projects.
At first, he was doing everything – even painting walls – but came to realise that to scale his business he needed to systemise as much as possible and pull in support.
“We’ve all got our own roles within the business. That has really helped us scale and take on more projects. From a sourcing point of view, we’ve got six live projects on and we’re doing the project management for the refurbs as well. I couldn’t do that on my own.
“If you do it all by yourself, I believe that can stifle your growth. It is an investment from the business to pay wages, but it’s definitely helped.”
‘In my job there was a cap on what I could achieve’
Jamie was on a leadership/management career path when he left his job in logistics.
“I enjoyed it but there was a cap on what I could do and achieve personally. So, I made the decision that I was going to go into property, but for that to happen I had to go all out and go for it right from the off,” he explains.
That posed a problem when it came to refinancing because at that point he had no rentals. However, he had a small amount of savings and built a power team around him, consisting of a broker, a solicitor and an accountant.
His biggest asset was his house which went up in value when a bridge toll near his home was removed. Taking advantage of this opportunity, and the fact he had savings, he decided to raise some capital and set aside a budget for training.
By refinancing his property, Jamie was able to pull out some money. Through watching Samuel’s YouTube content and attending his crash course, Jamie saw that he was offering an end-to-end service which included business and marketing support. That led to him spending a portion of his refinance cash on enrolling with the Property Investors Academy.
Jamie concedes it was a massive risk to quit his job but says there are hazards in being employed. Up until then, his life was ‘very normal’ but the threat of redundancy influenced his decision to part with the company he was working for.
“In the position I was in we went through a lot of changes in the business which meant unfortunately some people were made redundant and I thought maybe one day that’s me. I wanted to create generational wealth and leave a legacy for my kids but also not to have the worry. If something happens to me, I become incapacitated for whatever reason and I can’t work, then as the main breadwinner for the house we can’t live the life we want to live.
“With the team I’ve got in place, if I step away or something happens that still ticks along.”
There is a long-term plan to bring his children into the business as well and he is in a better position financially than two years ago – although the family’s lifestyle is similar because they have had to replace two wages.
Contrary to what one might expect of a millionaire, he doesn’t drive around in fancy cars and neither has he paid off all his debts. The lesson in that, he says, is that ‘you can live a different life with a different mindset.’
“If your mindset is: I don’t mind that I’ve got this debt in the background, the assets outweigh the debt. One of the things Samuel shared was to find out your bottom figure that you need to earn per month. We did. We were frugal with how we brought it right down. Now what about financially free? What does that number look like?”
Although the couple have had to made huge sacrifices, the alarm clock is no longer switched on to get them up in the morning.
“You do what you want as such, but I’ve got my roles and responsibilities.”
They have a routine, nevertheless, sitting down in the morning to work out the plan for the day and reviewing each other’s roles on a weekly basis as they continue to learn and prosper.
“We’re all growing together as a team. I haven’t got all the answers, nor the guys, but I definitely know I can pick up the phone and find out the answers regardless of what we’re talking about, whether it’s splitting titles, raising finance, or marketing. We’re all on a journey together.”
Jamie can never envisage the day where he stops working altogether.
“The one thing I’ve been taught from an early age is that you’ve got to graft and I’m passing that onto the children. If you don’t want to graft and just want to kick back on the beach from day one, I don’t think you’re going to be successful.
“I’m always going to work. I can’t ever see me doing zero hours a week, but it will be more of a handing over of the ship to the boys rather than just going bang I’m done.”
‘We look for the worst houses’
Jamie believes anyone can become a millionaire in business because of the vast opportunities available to make money in all kinds of ways, but it requires dedication. It has also not been an easy path, especially in the early days when he was starting out.
“It’s been a feast and famine kind of rollercoaster as you’re setting up until your monthly income gets to a point where [you can say] right I’m OK. Then if there is a delay with refinances and you’ve got things lined up, you’ve got to fill that gap.”
Jamie chose to focus on the buy, refurbish, refinance strategy because he wanted to be able to pass on his properties to his children and he had a ‘one-time pot’ to use for investing.
His recipe for success is to be a full-time problem fixer.
“We look for the worst house we can possibly find in any street. It doesn’t matter if the deal stacks. We come in and add value and then get our money back by refinancing the uplift. In some instances, we’ve actually made money, not just broken even, but then there have been other deals where we’ve left a little bit in.”
The money he pulls out from refinancing a property after it has been refurbished and is worth more is tax-free. This allows him to pay back either himself, or the company which has provided him with a bridging loan. This leaves him with a house which is effectively a no money down deal.
Jamie also offers a deal sourcing service and will look out for a property where no one knows who owns it because it has been abandoned. He then hires a private detective to track down the owner and strikes a deal to buy the freehold.
“It’s about finding properties which have problems and solving them. I took a call from a friend of mine on social media. There was a dispute with the neighbours and they wanted a quick sale.
“We stepped in and said this is the deal on the table. I think we spent about two hours on the deal. We came to a conclusion on the purchase price and they moved on quickly out of the way of the problem.”
- Education is so important. I’d never owned a business before. I knew I needed to draw on the experience and support of other people not to go into it blind.
- Do what the training guides you to do and then when you get stumped ask for support.
- Samuel said tell everyone what you do so I got a car sign written which says: we buy houses quick for cash. I also attended local events to spread the word.
Samuel Leeds’ verdict
“Jamie has built a big empire of slow pound longevity wealth. A lot of what we teach on the academy is about the fast pound – making quick money through rent-to-rents and deal sourcing whereas Jamie has focused more on the slow pound. It’s taken him a couple of years, but he’s done extremely well and worked very hard. We’ve done business together and introduced each other to some great people. I’m really excited about seeing what happens next. No doubt we’ll do a part three when Jamie becomes a multi-millionaire!
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