After just five months of being on Samuel Leeds’ academy, identical twins Gavin and Mitch Vaughan are already making £25,000 a month on average from property. The bulk of their income comes from sourcing deals for investors. The rest comes from renting out other people’s properties as serviced accommodation in London and Hertfordshire.
‘Our 25th sourcing deal has just gone through.’
Practically everything about Gavin and Mitch is the same. It is hard to distinguish one from the other and their backgrounds are pretty much identical too.
The brothers got off to a rocky start in life after being kicked out of school at the age of 17 when they got to their A-levels.
“We both got taken into the same office and the head teacher said one of you got three U’s. One of you got three U’s and an E, so you’re both being kicked out. We left school on the same day and ended up doing recruitment together,” recalls Gavin.
Mitch enjoyed the cut and thrust of his job, describing it as the starting point of his sales journey. After a year, however, he got bored and went travelling. In the meantime, Gavin progressed in recruitment but was only earning £150 a week and living at home. So, he left to join Mitch and an older brother who were both in Australia.
A three-month holiday turned into a four-year trip until the twins decided to come back to England. Gavin began researching how they could a make living together. With the cost of living high, especially in London, he realised they needed a business.
While abroad, they had been doing a lot of poorly paid sales work. With time on his hands, Gavin looked at the various options. He noticed that the owners of the products they had been selling were paid on a subscription basis. So, he searched for something which would pay them well and generate a monthly cash flow.
Having always wanted to get into property, he concluded this would meet the brief and allow them to build wealth. His next task was to find a mentor. It was then that he came across a video on YouTube about a financial freedom challenge which Samuel Leeds had undertaken with Evans Willie, a winner of The Eviction – Property Investors’ annual Apprentice-style competition for budding real estate entrepreneurs.
In just a week, Samuel had helped Evans become financially independent through a series of shrewd property transactions. Gavin remembers being immediately hooked by the video.
“When Mitch got back from work, he asked me what I was watching. I said I don’t know but just watch it. It’s incredible what he’s just done. I had to rewatch it with Mitch from the beginning and then it started to make sense.
“When we got back, we came to the £1 crash course.”
As the twins were new to the industry, they signed up afterwards for the Property Investors Academy run by the company’s multi-millionaire founder Samuel Leeds.
Mitch had stayed in many luxury Airbnbs on his travels, including one in the middle of a jungle, and loved the service he had received. It was an obvious choice, therefore, to go down the serviced accommodation route.
With only limited funds to launch their business, the pair searched for a property which they could rent and then let out at a profit.
Success came at lightning speed. Within a week of joining the academy, Gavin and Mitch had secured their first rent-to-rent, followed by another one two weeks later and then two more after a fortnight.
They got into deal sourcing by accident after Mitch became ill. As they lived together at the time, it was a foregone conclusion that Gavin would also fall sick. Faced with being unable to do viewings, the duo opted to look for property investment opportunities they could sell.
“It was either we make no money in December or how can we pivot and make money throughout the Christmas period coming into the New Year,” says Gavin.
Despite both of them being ill, they sold eight properties. “The last two we secured were in a development in Hemel Hempstead. We’d already seen it and done the numbers. It was a brand-new development which meant all the other flats were available. So, all we did was package every single apartment in the development and we sold them from our sofa.”
He adds: “Our 25th deal has just gone through since the end of December, and we’ve got about five bespoke clients.”
‘We spend 15 to 20 minutes a week managing our rent-to-rents.’
On their training Mitch and Gavin were taught to start in their own area. As a result, they focused on Hertfordshire where they were born.
It is not an obvious visitor destination, but Mitch makes the point that serviced accommodation is not just for tourists.
“Once you start thinking outside the box and marketing to the right people you will do well wherever it is.”
Their mentor Samuel tells his students that even if they live in the middle of a field, they can convert a barn into a holiday let and claim capital allowances.
Gavin makes a similar comparison. “Hertfordshire on a map does look like a farm until you start seeing these little areas. Then you just need to dig deeper to see why people would be travelling there.”
It was in London, however, that the twins landed their first deal. A friend’s father had a property in the city which had been untenanted for a year. After some discussion they took it on as rent-to-serviced accommodation.
Explaining the strategy, Mitch says: “You rent a property from a landlord, or an owner or vendor, and you take it on through your company as a corporate let. Then you rent it out on Airbnb and bookings.com The property is fully furnished, and you charge clients or guests a premium on a nightly instead of a monthly basis.”
Gavin and Mitch took on their London rental, knowing they could only legally let it for a maximum of 90 nights in a calendar year. Mitch, however, was confident they could still make it work.
“I help quite a lot of the academy members and I get that question all the time about the 90-day rule. It’s not something to be scared about. You’re always going to have challenges but there’s always an answer to them. You just have to be creative around the way you operate.
“I thought if there are management companies, and their sole purpose and business is based around serviced accommodation in London, then it must work.”
Their solution was to use a Licence to Occupy contract which covers medium to long-term stays.
“The guests don’t have tenant rights, but it’s not the same as if you were staying at a hotel. It’s that nice in between where you’re allowed to carry on operating,” says Mitch.
Platforms like Airbnb automatically stop owners and property managers from exceeding the limit. So, in this case, they market the property on Rightmove and Zoopla, says Gavin, adding:
“We tend to get quite a lot of relocators. We’ve just accepted a booking for a couple moving from India. They’re booking our accommodation for two months whilst they’re exchanging and picking up the keys for their personal house.”
People travelling on business also book to stay in their accommodation, and even their neighbours give them custom.
Mitch says: “Once the neighbours like you, their family will come and visit. One of our neighbours is from Finland and their family comes over all the time. They book it instead of the hotel down the road.”
They now have five rent-to-rents with each one making an average profit of about £1,000 a month. Thanks to their power team, their income is largely passive. A cleaner takes care of the properties and sends them pictures before the guest arrives and after they leave. If anything needs repairing, her husband who has a maintenance and construction company will fix it up to an agreed amount and then send them the invoice.
The main challenge has been dealing with rejections from landlords and agents. Now when someone says ‘no’ to them, they send out an explanatory email including details about their background, what a rent-to-rent is and it benefits.
Gavin says: “As a company we are going to take on the maintenance and keep the level of the property at its highest. For the landlord they don’t really do anything. They just get paid a guaranteed rent for a long time.”
Mitch agrees: “The landlords we work with love that we are maintaining the property. We do get cleaners before and after every guest as well. This is hassle-free. They’ve never needed to chase us for rent or make sure the bills are paid. The second anything goes wrong we’ll be there to fix it. We haven’t had any major problems.
“We spend 15 to 20 minutes a week managing all five of them.”
They ask agents to copy and paste their email and send it to every landlord who enquires about the possibility of a company let. They put in a follow-up call to the agent to ensure landlords are receiving their information.
When it comes to finding new investors for their deals, Mitch and Gavin have an advantage. At a networking event, they work the room between them.
Gavin says: “I’ll shoot around the right. He’ll shoot around the left. We’ll gather everyone’s contacts, meet in the middle and put them onto a list.”
The twins have also set up a networking group in Hertfordshire and grasp any opportunity that comes their way to speak about their company, the Vaughan Property Group – whether that’s on the weekly Mastermind Zoom call with other academy members or at events and dinners.
Their charge for sourcing a standard rent-to-rent deal is £3,000 to £5,000. This goes up if they are selling more than one deal.
“We might be selling blocks at a time, so five to ten units at once to one investor. Instead of charging £3,000, we’ll charge £15,000 to £20,000 for the deal,” Mitch says.
On the back of their success, Gavin and Mitch are about to embark on a buy, refurbish, refinance project. The twins have put in an offer on a property which would involve converting a commercial unit in the basement and creating a two-bedroom apartment.
“We’ll joint venture with the building and maintenance team that looks after all the rent-to-rents. They’ll do the build. We’ll then pay them afterwards if we flip or refinance it. They will get a percentage of the profit which will be about £70,000.
“For the deposits we’re using investors’ funds. Some of them are friends and family members. A lot of them come from the academy,” explains Mitch.
They are also negotiating a lease option on a terraced house in Watford.
The speed of their progress has surprised Mitch, but Gavin puts it down to their training.
“All we’ve done is follow the blueprint we’ve been given and taken action.”
Gavin and Mitch’s tips
- Get your name out there. The more attention you bring to yourself the more deals will come.
- Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help from the mentors.
- Regardless of what you’ve done so far in your life you just have to be coachable every day. If you’re not letting people teach you, that’s where your success is going to stop.
Samuel Leeds’ verdict
“What Gavin and Mitch have done which is really good is that if someone is more successful than them, they will ask questions to learn. But also, with people who are starting out on the academy they will happily let them pick their brains.
“When you add value to the community in that way, people will trust you and do deals with you.”