"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 – Carol Rees George


Sculpting a property portfolio with no experience

Holistic therapist and sculptor, Carol Rees George, is not your average property investor. Having spent much of her adult life in Derbyshire and Yorkshire, raising a family and working in alternative education, she recently divorced at 65, without an occupational pension. Now entering what she describes as an important ‘third chapter’ in her life – living and working in London’s trendy East Dulwich – she has started to build a portfolio of properties in the North of England. Matthew Pigott talks to her about why and how she did it.

Tell us a bit about your background

Many years ago, I went to art school in Nottingham where I trained as an interior designer. I then moved to Lincoln and became an archeological illustrator. When I was 29, I married and moved to Derbyshire, had children and spent the next 14 years of my life looking after them. As a co-creator of an alternative school in South Yorkshire, I supported my husband as a teacher and eventually became a teacher myself. Around ten years ago, my husband and I separated and I moved to London to do a degree in sculpture, which marked the beginning of a new phase in my life. When I completed my degree, I became interested in holistic therapy and travelled to India, Europe and the United States to learn to be a practitioner in the field. I am now a qualified holistic therapist working in London, and am also pursuing some long-standing artistic ambitions.

How was your financial position during this period?

I’ve set my life up so that I can live simply without having to work. I’m not the sort of person for who money is the only goal because I don’t think that money alone is an indicator of success. But being in my sixties and not having a pension is a problem. However, when my husband and I decided to divorce three years ago, I discovered that I was eligible for half of his pension, which would give me a financial cushion when the divorce came through. But I decided to give up my right to most of the pension that was available to me, and settled for a lump sum instead. My choice was then whether to put the money into a new pension when I got it, or use it some other way.

So what did you decide to do?

Two or three years ago, a property investment company called Platinum Portfolio Builder (PPB) sent me a book about property investment. I read the book on a flight to Germany, and it revealed to me an alternative to standard pensions. However, because my divorce took two years to go through, my investment ideas were put on the backburner.
During those two years, I had a couple of calls from PPB who asked me if I was still thinking about investing in property. The tiny amount of contact I had with PPB over this period gave me an insight to their professionalism. There was no hard sell but they were consistent, respectful and quietly determined – qualities that I liked.

Did you seek any professional advice about how to invest your money?

I talked it over with my solicitor who told me to invest in a pension. She felt that was the best option because it would provide a lifelong source of income and therefore more security. But deep down, I didn’t think that was right for me. So I spoke to my financial adviser who at first suggested I do the same thing. But when we dug a little deeper, we discovered that the return I would get on a pension fund over 25 years would be about the same as putting my money into any investment with a reasonable interest rate. I didn’t see the point in giving up control of my money for scant reward and decided to take the property investment route instead.

What are the main benefits of using a third party to source and oversee your property investments?

When I started with PPB, my income wasn’t high enough to secure a mortgage, so they helped me to buy a property outright. I saw a photo of the house. It looked like a real hovel, with the downstairs windows boarded up, but even in that state I could see it had potential, so went to view it.
It was a spacious three-bedroom, ex-council house with a garden. PPB bought it for £35,000, 25 percent below the market price. It was an excellent way for me to get a foothold in the market, as well as an instant increase in equity. The best part was that PPB handled the refurbishment and got the house to a high rentable standard. A year later, I’m getting ready to remortgage that property and buy another.

Did you ever think about investing in property on your own?

At one point I did think about investing in property in London but decided that buying a series of properties in the North of England, for the same price as just one in the South, would give me more scope and security. A more significant factor, however, was that I didn’t have any property investment knowledge. Trying to do what PPB has done for me on my own would have been a huge pressure, and caused me a lot of worry. PPB has the experience and expertise I don’t have plus a team to take care of everything from finding, buying and refurbishing the properties to getting tenants in and managing the rental process.

If you had to sum up your experiences of PPB so far what would they be?

I was pleased to discover that it’s a people business and isn’t just about bricks and mortar. In terms of results, they also showed their willingness to work around the problem I had of being unable to secure a mortgage then really proved themselves by finding me a house I could afford to buy outright.
Best of all, though, I love being hands off. That has given me the three things I need as an artist and therapist: time, space and money. I’ve often had two of those things at once, but never all three at the same time. Now I do and, at 65, that feels wonderful.

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