"Thank you very much - we were both very pleased with how 86 Barnsley Rd is looking now - we stopped by so I could have a brief look around the outside after we left on Tuesday - and I'm very happy with it. Well done with managing a successful refurb!"
Warren Burgess, Director BP
"Just wanted to say a huge thank you for the Photo's and details of the portfolio, they have been brilliant"
Simon Baddeley, Senior Recruitment Regional Director
"The enthusiasm honesty and passion shown by Nick and his team regarding this property investment opportunity shone through"
Michael Plaza, Affiliate Business Owner
"You really have got great people there and they are so efficient and helpful it’s so nice"
David Hunt, Investor
"What stood out most was the energy level in the office - you clearly have a great team, that gave us confidence in PPB's capabilities for managing property portfolios."
Warren Burgess, Director BP
"PPB is a great investment. I have properties in the South East with lower yields and it wasn’t rocket science to look further north for better returns"
Jeff & Catherine Lawton
"The unique opportunity to buy below market value, coupled with the extensive knowledge of the team, makes me very confident in my investment."
Katherine Newman, Civil Engineer
"Investing in Portfolio Builder was an easy decision once we realised the leading returns that it delivered."
Paul and Linda Cronin, IT Executive
"When I retire the income and capital growth continues. It’s very enjoyable to create something that can run and run."
Henri and Angela Botha, Ex-Dentist
"It was easy to recognise the potential of a passive investment . We have been really happy with the service and very impressed with the team in Yorkshire"
Thomas Clarke, Business Owner and Entrepreneur
"This investment is allowing me to spend much more time with my son without worrying about having to work."
Gerard Scannell, Ex-Warehousing Director

Platinum Portfolio Builder Review – Nic and Diana Holmes


Property pilgrimage. A passive investor’s story.

A year-and-a-half ago, 53-year-old UK finance director of global supply chain solutions company, Agility, Nic Holmes, decided to invest in property for the first time. But while an experienced businessman and capable investor in his own right, he had no experience in the property sector.

To bridge the gap between a lack of knowledge, and his investment desires, he sought the expertise of a third party. Today, he has two portfolios and six freehold properties in Leeds City region and continues to acquire more.

Here, he talks about his choice to use Platinum Portfolio Builder (PPB) as the company to help him with his passive property investments, and how it has benefited him. Matt Pigott interviews.

Why did you decide to use PPB instead of taking the property investment route on your own?

My wife Diana and I had talked about investing in property for about ten years, and initially we did consider striking out alone. But we quickly realised that we didn’t have the time, the expertise or the contacts we needed to succeed.

It’s important to know your own limitations, both in terms of the time at your disposal, and your level of experience. I don’t think it makes sense to jump into an area you have no real knowledge of, unless you’re prepared to commit 100 percent of your energy to it and learn by your mistakes as you go along. That wasn’t an option for either of us. We’re both still busy with work and family, and needed to find somebody we could work with to help us realise our property investment aspirations.

PPB has all of the experience we lack, and employs a specialist team to take care of the various elements involved in the investment process – from sourcing the properties and refurbishing them to managing the lettings.

When you consider the fact that PPB’s buyers only secure one in 13 of the properties they bid for, it gives you an idea of the time and effort they put in. 

Tell us a bit about why PPB’s business model appealed to you

From a financial perspective, the thing that most attracted us to PPB’s proposition is that it secures properties for its client at a minimum of 25 percent below market value. Knowing that any property we bought would build in equity right from the start gave us confidence early on.

We became even more interested when the leveraging and gearing side of mortgages was explained to us whereby we’d be using the bank’s money to buy our first house, and the equity in that to buy another, and so on, until the first portfolio was complete. Any capital gains would be ours, not the bank’s.

Portfolios to be proud of

When we saw how well our first portfolio was doing, we put in another £75,000 for another. Each portfolio matures at four houses, so the aim is eight houses in three years. The great news is that we’re already close to that in less than half the time! We completed on our first property in January 2012, and the second one shortly after. Since then, we’ve bought four more properties. The fifth property we bought was a repossession, in good condition, so the refurbishment required was minimal. And we’ve just had an offer accepted on a sixth property, which we’re looking to complete on within about a month. So I anticipate that by the end of the year we’ll have six tenanted properties. It’s been a faster cycle than we expected.

Seeing is believing, and believing gives you the confidence to increase your commitment, which is why we accelerated the process and went for portfolio number two.

Have you seen all of your properties?

I haven’t seen any of them. I’ve seen pictures, and talked to the guys doing the refurbishments, but I’ve never seen them or had the urge to.

For my wife Diana and I, this is a paper exercise – we don’t need to see the actual bricks and mortar. I trust PPB, and I trust the people dealing with the transactions. Of course, I may drive down at some point and take a look at the properties, purely out of interest, but the whole point of this type of investment is that it’s hands off. 

How important is trust when using a third party to act on your behalf?

It’s vital, and it starts with seeing a proven track record. It also comes from meeting and dealing with the people behind the business and knowing their credentials. Nick Carlile, PPB’s founder, has been in the property game for a long time and is a chartered surveyor. He knows what he’s doing and delivers on his promises. From the outset, he explained everything to us, not just the upside, but the possible pitfalls too. So from day one of putting our money on the table we were made aware of the risks.

What are the risks involved investing in residential property?

There’s the possibility that the value of the assets may decline. However, because the properties are purchased at below market value, I was satisfied that the equity buffer would absorb any dip in market price.

Further risks with buy-to-let are that you may get periods where your properties are untenanted, known as voids. Again, I was comfortable that there was enough slack in the cash flow to cover that risk. And when you have more than one property, your risk is spread.

In addition, there’s the possibility that something can go wrong with a property once you’ve let it out, such as a leaky roof or a plumbing emergency, but these unforeseen circumstances should be factored in at the start and covered by some sort of contingency budget.

The point is that no venture is risk free, and weighing up risk against reward is important. Having the right people around you, people that give the right advice, is essential.

Tell us about the properties in your portfolio.

So far, we’ve bought two townhouses, a mid-terrace property, a bungalow and two three-bed semis.  They range from 2 to 4 bedrooms, so the portfolio is fairly diverse.

What is it about being a property investor that gives you the most satisfaction?

It’s always quite gratifying looking at the deeds or the land registry documents when they come through from the solicitors, seeing the prices properties changed hands for the last time they were sold. It reveals how much the market has deteriorated in the last few years, mainly because of the recession.

Having the built in equity is also a comfort. Seeing what you paid versus what you would have paid if you’d negotiated poorly on the asking price. You know that the market would have to dip heavily to swallow the discount.

But perhaps the best thing for me is that PPB’s business model isn’t predicated on market values increasing. The best discount PPB has secured for us on a property has so far been 25 percent, so you don’t need the market to go up to realise a gain – it’s already there, in the property, when you buy it. So any future growth is simply a bonus.

Tell us about the rental yields on your properties

They currently range from 7 to 11 percent. I think of yield as something that helps with the running costs of the property, that makes the business self-sustaining. In the long term, it’s further capital gain that makes the investments really worthwhile.

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