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Buy to Let & LettingRefurbishment

How To Make Property Personal – And Profitable

Today I am throwing out the developers rule book.  I am going to share with you a fabulous learning which breaks all the rules.  You know that cardinal rule which states “don’t make a property personal”? Well forget it! You know why Sarah Beeny say’s it? She doesn’t want us in on the secret of how you can make MORE money by making property personal!

So what do I mean when I say this? Well, let’s take my place in Poole for example. I never intended to rent it or sell it.  It was my crash pad by the sea. That’s it. It’s nothing special – it’s a 1 bed flat in a 1930s block. But it is in Poole which is a lovely area.

I loved the flat because it had a huge living room (22ft) and dual aspect triple windows. I ignored the fact that actually I wanted a 2 bed – the lounge did it for me.

This is what it looked like before (it was a repossession) – it doesn’t photograph so well – but trust me it was a lovely room.

I was in love. And after a bidding war with another buyer, I ended up paying 12k more for the flat than what I intended to. So my budget for refurbishing the flat was blown…and so I decided to do it on the cheap.

This was the day I moved in – no sofa, just a couple of deck chairs and a retro 1960s table I had found at the junk shop…and so the retro theme started

I couldn’t even afford carpets for the lounge – so I hired a sander and sanded the boards

I decided to stick to the retro theme as I could find original pieces at reasonable prices and I loved hunting in the junk shops and auction houses.

I got these original curtains – these are defo love or hate – but I LOVE them!

Original lights:

Yes – these are the sort of things which ordinarily you would look at in a house and shout “OOOH disgusting, old, rip it out” – Me I liked them.

This is how my lounge looks currently:

Now I agree it’s very personal, it’s very retro, it’s not to everyone’s taste.

However, here’s my learning for you: I have now reached a stage of “busyness” where I am hardly able to get to Poole and so most of the time my lovely flat is sat vacant. That’s a shame. And so last week I took the big decision that I should rent it out for a bit until I have more time to start visiting again.

I looked at what one beds rent for and I decided mine was better. Mine was unique. Mine was going on the market for £150 pcm MORE than any other one bed. My one bed flat was more expensive than a two bed, hell it’s even more expensive than a place with sea views.

No local agent would have accepted the price I put in on for – they would have been nervous that it would just sit on their books. But that’s the joy of owning your own agency – it’s my agency and it’s my property.

And so I put the flat on the market and within hours we had people clamouring to see it. The flat let to the first person who viewed it, who begged me to take all the money now as he did not want me to show anyone else.  Why? Because you will not find another rental property like this in Poole. It is my personal retro style.

What I have done is what I wanted to do in this flat. It’s personal to me and to my property. And you know what – it’s also very profitable. So forget the rulebook – property can be personal and it can be profitable!

5 comments
  1. James hall

    Sam, I wholeheartedly agree with this. My Company has just let a 1 bed flat in a complex where the highest offer price previously, according to Rightmove was £725. We let it for £765 within 3 days on the market simply because it was better. We done similar things for other special properties. Your success with your own property proves that desirable property gets let first and for the best market rents.

  2. Sam

    Yes – I think there is a lot to be said for not being a “standard mag and white” property. As rentals have become more and more the usual – people expect and want some point of difference!

  3. Diane

    Maybe people are finally bored of the bland magnolia look we’ve been shown so much on TV. One of Sarah Beeny’s most successful developers was that woman in Manchester who did the shocking bathroom floor and bizarre crushed glass fire place.
    Even Wickes paints advert on tv at the moment shows a shocking pink paint that I would just love to have on my stairs – if only I can persuade my other half!

  4. Sara

    I’ve recently purchased a repossessed flat needing total refurbishment with the intension that my daughter would live in it for a year or two then we would rent it out. Rather than put magnolia walls etc. I opted (like you) to decorate it to my taste and I have to say I LOVE IT!!! I have no doubt that when I put it on the open market for rent that it will go in a flash because it has style. I did spend a bit more £££, but not that much and now I have a flat that I’m proud to own.

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