Property millionaire Billy Kooner says he has tripled his income and doubled the size of his portfolio since joining Samuel Leeds’ academy six months ago. By learning about creative strategies, Billy has also been able to set up his daughter in her own home. He is planning to enrol her on the academy too as she is now working with him in his rent-to-serviced accommodation and HMO business.
‘I love the academy and the networking is so powerful’
Billy has been a property investor for around 25 years. To put it into context, he purchased his first buy-to-let when Samuel was just six years old and then slowly built up a portfolio.
His father before him was a property entrepreneur, starting out in 1978 with student let accommodations. As Billy puts it, they were ‘HMOs when there weren’t HMOs.’ It would be some years before the term ‘house in multiple occupation’ was coined and enshrined in law.
However, it introduced Billy as he was growing up to the idea of people from more than one household living together and he saw the regulations surrounding HMOs being introduced.
It was perhaps no surprise then, when he was studying for his GCSEs and was asked what he wanted to do after leaving school, his reply was ‘property developer.’ At the time there was no education in the subject, he says.
“All I knew was you work, save up to buy a house and then rent it out. That was the only strategy that was going. We were doing that through the early 2000s. We slowed down after the 2007 crash.”
“My life changed. I love the academy. I was born to be on the academy. I say this to my daughter. Why couldn’t I have met Samuel Leeds ten years ago when he was starting out because I needed that education.”
Billy knew the basics but other strategies like rent-to-rents, serviced accommodation, lease options and deal packaging were all new to him. He also learnt how to convert a two-bedroom house into a four-bed HMO.
“Learning all this stuff was amazing and then the networking you get is so powerful.”
He prioritises calls from academy members, ready to help them at all times of the day if they need his advice as an investor who has been in the ‘game’ for many years.
“That’s the environment Samuel has created for everybody to come into. Everybody’s there to help each other. That doesn’t really happen in any other walk of life where people are sharing their trade secrets and experiences. I answered one call at six o’clock in the morning.”
Billy becomes the ‘king of lease options’
Samuel calls Billy the ‘king of lease options’ because he is constantly announcing on weekly Mastermind Zoom calls with other students that he has negotiated another agreement.
Billy describes the lease option method as ‘the mythical creature everyone is after.’
“It’s difficult to go out hunting for one. I’ve just accidentally fallen across them.”
It is not entirely accidental, he adds, because he knows what to look out for due to his training on the Property Investors Academy and the Lease Option Bootcamp.
“I know the signs, the distress signals from landlords or vendors, seeing what they need at that time and then offering that option.”
His first lease option agreement was with a landlord who bought a flat for £100,000 in 2005 and then found himself in negative equity following the financial crisis two years later. It meant his mortgage was higher than the value of the apartment. Even if he sold it, there would still be the mortgage to pay off.
“It was one of those situations where he had nothing left in it and he was just looking to offload it. I happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right knowledge.”
Billy agreed to take over the mortgage payments, as well as the bills, with an option to buy the flat over the next seven years for £80,000. He expects the value to go back up to £100,000 by the end of the agreement period – especially if the kitchen and bathroom are updated by then as planned.
He also fixed the mortgage recently at £248 a month, protecting him against high interest rates.
There is another bonus. His daughter, who was previously living in a house share, has moved in.
“That was a really good deal. She’s helping me with the SAs and working with me six to seven days a week, so she’s earning and learning.”
She is renting one of the rooms for £248 a month, while a second bedroom will be rented out for £550 a month. With the monthly bills on the property coming to about £450, which includes gas, electricity, water and broadband, this will make her financially free.
“The Americans call it house hacking. She lives there for free and now she’s got a home.”
‘Deal on six-bed HMO will give me a free house’
Most of Billy’s properties are in Wolverhampton where he comes from. The latest addition to his rent-to-rent portfolio is a six-bed HMO which also has a lease option agreement attached to it.
“How that one came about is the landlord doesn’t want to deal with HMO tenants. He is a house builder by trade.
“We went there to offer him a management agreement to take on the HMO. During the conversation I asked him if he would consider selling it and he said yes.”
The landlord told him it was worth £235,000 and was surprised when Billy offered him his asking price without any negotiation. At that point Billy explained he would purchase the property but in seven years’ time. In the meantime, he would rent it out.
This will enable him to save the rental income and use that as a deposit on the property when the lease agreement ends, effectively giving him a free house.
“We’re still negotiating how we’re going to structure it because if we get it on a management agreement, I’ve just got to pay £1,000 and I’ve got six rooms all with en suites. The minimum profit on that is £1,000 a month.”
Deal selling has given Billy another income stream. In fact, it has already paid for the £12,000 academy fee, he says.
“I’ve sold four deals. They were deals I didn’t have the time to take on and convert to SAs. So, it was like let’s just package and sell that on.”
The businessman is also helping his daughter to get her foot on the property ladder while at the same time focusing on acquiring more rent-to-SAs. He is showing her how to source and furnish a rent-to-rent property and set it up on platforms like Airbnb and booking.com with channel managers and housekeepers.
“Rent-to-rent is a good strategy, especially for my daughter coming into it who doesn’t have any money or the same experiences as me. She can now continue to grow her rent-to-rent portfolio which is going to give her that income which she can save to buy her first house.”
It is his daughter who motivates him to continue doing well. When she was eight, she struggled to retain information and had private tuition to help her.
“It would go in one ear and two minutes later it would be gone. She’d stand there crying, saying dad, ‘I’m sorry I just don’t get it.’ It used to break my heart. I promised her, ‘I will get you to university. That’s my job as a dad.’
“She went to university and got a degree, but if I knew what I know now about all these strategies I would have said, ‘Don’t worry about it. When you’re 18, I’m going to get you on the academy. You’ll be a property millionaire by the time you’re 20.”
The highlight of his journey so far was setting her up in the lease option flat and ‘seeing the smile on her face.’
“She’s got a place now she can call home. She’s the landlord of this lease option. She’s now going to have a tenant who she’s responsible for looking after and she’s got guests she looks after. That’s her job.”
His job, he says, is to enjoy the trappings of the academy, which are all the functions, the dinners and the networking events.
“I love that side of it. I still come to all the £1 events which are local to me. Sometimes I’m crewing. Sometimes I just turn up and say hello to everybody at the team and have a laugh and a joke with them. They’ve become like family.”
He agrees with his guru Samuel that when you are constantly around people who are winning their success rubs off on you.
“Something my cousin said to me, who was a millionaire himself, when I was 20 years old was surround yourself with like-minded people. I’ve always surrounded myself with millionaires.”
‘Property Investors’ training has given me a new lease of life’
Even before joining the Property Investors Academy, Billy says he had a decent passive income but that it was ‘a boring place to be.’
Then, when his daughter wanted to learn about property, he decided it was a good time to sign up for the academy. Now he feels ‘young again’ and is enjoying working with his daughter.
“It’s a new lease of life for me now. I feel like a 21-year-old myself, running around talking to landlords and calling up agents.”
He has also accepted an invitation from Samuel to accompany him on a trip to Uganda where the Property Investors founder is funding a new school and a hospital wing. Samuel also recently opened a school hall which has been named after him.
Like his mentor, Billy is keen to become involved in charitable work.
“Where I see myself in a couple of years from now would be doing more charitable work like Samuel does, whether it’s in India or Africa – giving back in some way and creating a legacy where even after you’ve died you’ve left something where the world can remember you.”
He is keen to seek direction from Samuel on what to do when he has finished making money.
“There are only so many restaurants you can go to, so many holidays you can have, so many cars you can buy. There’s got to be some meaning in your life. You’ve got to be giving back something somewhere that’s going to give you that fulfilment where you can sleep comfortably at night knowing you’ve put some good back out there.”
He concludes: “I’m working 12 hours a day, seven days a week, not just on the SAs but networking, helping out with academy members, having conversations and chasing agents.
“I live and breathe property which is why this is a second lease of life to me, and it all started with a £1 event.”
- I don’t sell properties. I just wait for capital appreciation. Even if you pay £20,000 over the odds today for a property, you know in five or 10 years that’s going to grow. There’s going to be capital there for you to pull out. There’s never a wrong time to get into property.
- The £1 course is a no-brainer. Samuel puts so much into that event. It lasts seven to eight hours. Then, if you want to go on further education, do it. Invest in yourself.
Samuel Leeds’ verdict
“Billy has been a massive asset to the academy. He’s received a lot and it’s been life changing for him, but he’s taken a lot of people just starting out under his wing. He’s been a mentor to people as well as being mentored which we’re really grateful for.”