She is Samuel Leeds’ former PA, and he is his best friend from school. Together the couple are a formidable force in business. Elliot Spencer has sold 209 deals since attending a Property Investors Crash Course five years ago. He met Leah Campion at one of Samuel’s events and they fell in love. Now they run a successful property company making around £20,000 a month and are about to be married.
‘I thought we would be binmen.’
Samuel and Elliot go back a long way. They have been friends since they were five and grew up together in the Midlands. Neither of them was academic. In fact, Elliot thought they would be binmen when they were older.
When Elliot was 12 his family moved to Wales, but they kept in touch. After leaving school, Elliot got his plumbing and gas qualifications at college and became an employee. Samuel took a different route. He used his paper round money to train in property investing.
Elliot thought it was bizarre and questioned why he was doing it. Nevertheless, his pal’s decision paid off. By the age of 21, Samuel was a property millionaire and went on to found Property Investors.
The story might have ended there, but for the fact that Elliot was made redundant in the recession of 2008. They met up recently when Samuel interviewed him with Leah for his Winners on a Wednesday series on YouTube. Samuel confessed that, whilst he felt bad for his friend when he lost his job, he also found it ‘hilarious,’ given Elliot’s previous misgivings.
Some years later Elliot was working at Screwfix when he turned down Samuel’s offer of a trip to California, telling him he couldn’t get the time off.
Samuel remembers it well: “I’m thinking but you’re on zero-hours contract. That was when I was like, you need to sort out your life mate.”
Elliot says he was grateful for that push and came along to Samuel’s crash course at the Hilton Birmingham NEC hotel. After that he signed up for the Property Investors Academy and completed the Deal Selling Masterclass.
Explaining the strategy, he says: “You find a property, package it up in such a way that it’s an investment. You work out all the numbers and do all the due diligence. You then find an investor who’s looking to add to his portfolio, and you marry them up and take a fee upfront.”
He met Leah in 2019 at another crash course in Peterborough. Afterwards over drinks they got chatting. Elliot learnt that she was a ‘family girl’ and wanted to get into property. They swapped numbers and their relationship blossomed.
Leah too had experienced the frustrations of working for someone else. She went to university to study sports therapy and while doing that worked at McDonald’s.
“I followed that route because that was the route I was told to do. I didn’t really want to do it but did it anyway. Then, not long after I left university, I came across Samuel and started working for him as his PA.”
Although she had previously had a good job with McDonald’s as a manager, she felt it was not enough for her which was why she applied to work for Samuel Leeds’ training company.
It was ‘scary,’ taking that leap into the unknown, she admits, especially as it involved moving to another city. However, she soon found herself immersed in her new role in more ways than one.
“I used to bring Samuel a bucket of water for him to put his feet in when he got off stage.”
From making sure her employer was comfortable after standing for hours in front of an audience, Leah is now her own boss. She left Property Investors to go into business with Elliot and soon they will be tying the knot with Samuel as best man.
Pair partner with Samuel Leeds on £3.6m factory conversion
Elliot and Leah’s property business incorporates a wide range of activities and strategies, including selling and buying deals, rent-to-rents, lease options, joint ventures and development projects.
One of their latest JV’s is with Samuel and involves the redevelopment of the Eagle Works in Wolverhampton where the multi-millionaire Property Investors chairman was born.
The scheme will see the former Victorian factory building converted into 48 luxury apartments at a cost of about £3.6m. Once the work is complete it will be worth £6.5m.
Elliot still can’t believe how far they have both come.
“If Samuel had come to me at school, given me a nudge and said, ‘Hey Elliot. In 20 years, we’re going to be millionaires doing projects like this one in Wolverhampton, I’d have laughed at him and said, ‘Go away. Not me and you. No chance. We will be lucky if we’re binmen. Now look at us.”
Another of Elliot and Leah’s ventures has seen them team up with one of Samuel’s students. She wanted to become a member of the academy but couldn’t quite afford it. So, they agreed to pay her to find them a deal after meeting her on the rent-to-rent course.
She came up with a cottage in Bridgnorth which she thought the couple could rent from the landlord and then let out at a higher rate. To their surprise, when they enquired about it, they were asked whether their intention was to buy or rent the property.
Leah immediately realised she could try to negotiate a lease option agreement which would allow them to do both.
“It was on the market for £145,000. We met the owners who were very open to it. We put forward a proposal for renting if off them for four years with the option to buy it in the future.
“They had had the property for the last 40 years or so in the family. They’d done it up to sell it, but with the mortgage rates going up they couldn’t sell it,” she explains.
They pay the landlord £600 a month and plan to rent out the cottage as serviced accommodation. Having done their figures, they expect to break even at an occupancy rate of 30 per cent. The average occupancy for similar accommodation is 70 per cent.
Based on their projections, the profit will amount to about £1,800 a month which they will use to buy the property in four years’ time.
The agreement is in the name of their company, and they have paid for the furniture and associated expenses. They offered the student a finder’s fee, but she wanted a percentage of the profits. So, they will split them equally when they have got all their money back. In return, the student will manage the place.
The pair also helped another student, Evans Willie, when he was struggling to find an investor for a deal on his Financial Freedom Challenge with Samuel Leeds.
Elliot says he has turned ‘full circle’ from being the one who was looking for the money when he was starting out to now handing it out to people trying to sell their first deal.
“It’s good. I followed the training and the process,” he adds.
The pair also get paid to attend Property Investors events, going on stage to talk about their story and helping people register for the training programmes. That means long days, getting up at seven or eight o’clock in the morning and going to bed at midnight.
Other days, when they are concentrating on their business, are more relaxed.
“We get up when we finish sleeping usually which is quite nice. We will have breakfast probably around 9am to 9.30am. Then we will be on the phones in the morning till the afternoon. Our days are just so varied,” says Elliot.
It is a chance for him to catch up with Samuel too. They spend a lot of time at each other’s houses. Their mothers are also best friends.
“My mom goes over to Samuel’s mom’s house for a wakeover. They call it that because they don’t go to sleep.”
Samuel’s mother Sue, who was a hairdresser before going into property herself, used to cut his hair until it ‘all fell out,’ Elliot jokes.
The two women have also paired up in property. About 10 years ago Elliot’s grandfather died and his mother sold the house, leaving her with a pot of money.
“Sue said put it into something that’s going to give you a return. So, they started doing joint ventures together. My mom put a load of money into a barn in Derbyshire. She’s doubled her money, if not tripled it, and they’re looking to do something else again.”
‘I never want to go back to a job’
In love and property, Leah feels she has found her ‘perfect match’ and adapted well to being a business owner.
“When I was working, I always found it hard to be told what to do anyway which is why I pushed myself to be promoted because I thought if I’m at the top, then I’m going to be the person who’s making all the decisions.
“So, when it came to starting a business, I found it quite easy because it was me making the decisions. My hardest part was when we decided we were going to do it together and working out each other’s strength and weaknesses.”
They each pay themselves a tax-free sum of £12,500 a year and have the option of taking out a dividend when they need extra money.
As business owners, they can also claim tax-deductible expenses.
“We claim a proportion of our rent because we run our business from our home. We run our car for our business. We can also claim parts of our house back on tax. Our lounge is our office,” says Elliot.
They have an accountant who handles their tax affairs, leaving them free to focus on carving out a passive income for themselves as they move forward.
Like Elliot, Leah, whose brother has also been on a crash course, has to pinch herself when she reflects on their success and how her fortunes have changed.
“Before I knew Elliot, or anything that Samuel does, I was struggling to pay my rent. I was going to uni and working full time and I was doing it all on my own. Every day was like, how am I even going to afford to eat? It’s a different life now.”
She is driven by the desire to create a product that people love by providing furnished accommodation to a high standard.
Elliot also recognises how lucky they are. “Most people have a dream board, to have a holiday, a car, a nice house. I don’t have a dream board. I have nightmares. My nightmares are that I am back in a job. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I think I’ve got to go to work.
“I don’t want to have to get a job ever again. I want to do what I’m doing now every day. That’s a big reason why we keep coming back to Samuel’s events because we love the environment. We love being around winners.”
Elliot and Leah’s tips
- It’s all very well finding a quick deal, but ask yourself whether it stacks up? Don’t sell a deal just for the sake of getting a £2,000 or £3,000 fee. It doesn’t work. Build relationships with your clients. Treat each one as family.
- Not many properties are selling because of the interest rates. It’s an incredible time for lease options.
- If you want to get into property, just do it and go all in.
Samuel Leeds’ verdict
“Elliot came to the Property Investors Crash Course, conquered the academy and stole my PA! Now they’re one of the most successful couples we know. They’ve got cashflow and capital appreciation. They should keep doing what they’re doing. They’re rock stars.”
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