Money Talks: Our Investor Story

The personal story of one investor, who will guide you through investing best practices and how to get ahead in the world of buy-to-let.

Revlin is a property investor. His portfolio currently includes an impressive 28 properties across the UK but he says he’s only just getting started. This is his story...

Tell me a little bit about yourself. When and why did you decide to invest in property?

Well, my parents got divorced when I was very young. After that, life took a slight downward spiral for me and I got involved with the wrong crowd. I didn’t have any role models or aspirations or goals. I was actually kicked out of school and I sort of accepted that I might not amount to much. I started smoking, fighting and just wasting time. But property changed everything for me. My mother bought a property and I started to help her with it – we converted it into a HMO and then rented it through the council. I must have been just 14 years old and my mum gave me the chance to rebuild my life. She gave me little jobs around the house and I would go ahead and do them. I learned on the job and it really gave me a sense of achievement.

Property gave me a purpose – and it had a knock on effect on me. I took up boxing, and I gave up smoking. I realised that I had nothing in common with my friends anymore. I met my partner and we started building together from there. That’s when I decided to start my property business properly and I’ve now built up a portfolio of 28 properties. I love my life now – I get to earn money and also provide a fantastic service to people who need a home – and that’s really what drives me.

What was your goal when you first started?

Hmm. Good question. My main goal initially was to earn enough to retire. That’s what I wanted. I was aiming to make £2,000 a month but I soon got to that point and I still really enjoyed it. I also got a kick out of providing work for others so it sort of snowballed. I spent years in other careers but I soon realised that my passion in life was property. Plus, seeing as property prices tend to double every 7-10 years, I thought I could create a healthy retirement pot through real estate investments.

What was your first deal? 
If I’m honest with you, when I was going for my first deal, people thought it was risky. I have to admit it did need a LOT of work but if you wait for the perfect deal, you’ll be waiting forever. There’s a saying which goes: “don’t wait to buy property, buy property and then wait” and I truly believe in it. Since I bought this property, I’ve turned it into a HMO and it’s generating a healthy monthly rent as well as a good amount of equity.


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Tell us how you scaled up to where you are now?

Ignore the idea that property and business success is for “other people” when in reality, it’s available to anyone. You need to get yourself in the right mindset and really give it your all. My best piece of advice is to keep costs low when you get started – that’s one of the ways that I really scaled up my business quickly. I never took money out of my company and I just kept re-investing. Anything that I made from my day job, I would also try and reinvest in property and then save up for my next deposit. I just want to be fully in charge of my money which is why I don’t have a traditional pension. A pound today isn’t worth the same value in 20 years’ time whereas, if you buy in the right area, your money in real estate is going to appreciate naturally.

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made and what did you learn from it?

Honestly, not starting soon enough. I think to myself, what if I started taking it seriously 10 years earlier? I’ve missed out on so many deals throughout the years because I was always looking for the very best one. There were so many deals where I should have gone ahead but I lost out on them for a couple of thousand pounds. Honestly, don’t look for the perfect deal – just get started as soon as you can.

What type of yield do you look for in a buy-to-let property deal?

I decided to outsource the management to an agent. I have a mix of HMOs and standard vanilla buy-to-lets in my portfolio and they look after themselves. The yield I tend to look for is about 10% but this varies depending on the investment opportunity.

What’s your best advice for a new landlord starting out?

Just go for it. If you can’t afford to go it alone, think about teaming up with someone else, but don’t buy when property prices are at their peak. Right now, it is a very difficult market and property prices are high. There are still some great below market deals to be had if you know where to look. Get your first property – and treat it as a learning curve. That’s what I did and it really worked. The journey of a property investor is an interesting one, with no two days the same. I’m a big believer in doing your calculations and due diligence and taking some risks – but remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Do you know the value of your property?