Will Tsang lives in Buckinghamshire and joined Platinum Property Partners (PPP) with his wife Hoi in May 2015. He invests in the Northamptonshire area and has two Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) up and running.
What did you do before buying your franchise?
I was working in the finance industry in London and then Hong Kong for the past ten years. I had a flat that I was living in whilst working in London and when I went to Hong Kong, I rented it out because that seemed like the sensible thing to do. That was as far as my experience in property went. But, it has given me a pretty decent return. So when I came back to the UK, I had some savings, a chunk of capital and no job so decided to look into property more as a way of generating an income.
How have you found the past year?
Looking back, it’s amazing how much we have achieved in such a short space of time. There has been so much to learn and I am still learning now. Even the small things which are actually just common sense, but you don’t know what you don’t know. During refurbishment mentoring for example, we learnt an awful lot.
We’ve now got two properties fully tenanted – the first one was ready within five months and the second within five weeks!
Financing was a challenge for me because I didn’t have a recent track record in the UK. This was where being part of PPP stood out because we were able to use their approved broker who were able to find good products for us. That’s been really crucial because this could have really hindered our progress if I was on my own.
What are the benefits of running a PPP franchise?
Initially, we were very sceptical about joining PPP and did think about doing it ourselves, but we knew investing in property would be very capital-intensive and the risk of losing all that capital if we made just one mistake was too big for us to take. The benefit of being part of the franchise far outweighed the cost and risk of going it alone. Also, being part of a community of like-minded people is definitely important. We can share ideas, successes and challenges and talk about best practices.
Being franchise partners also helped us get started quicker than we thought was initially possible. And there are so many resources too. I’ve even found that once a property is up and running, there is very little time investment needed.
What has been your most memorable moment of the past year?
For us, renting out the very first room was a great achievement and key moment. It proved that the model worked and that the investment, the commitment you’d made and time you’d spent on it was all worthwhile. It gave us so much confidence moving forward.
What are your plans for the next year?
Our ultimate goal is to earn £70,000 a year net income which we could achieve with four to five houses. But that was our five-year plan and we are almost halfway there within our first year, so we are well on target for what we initially envisaged. Hopefully, we’ll have at least one more property by the end of the year, but we’re already able to survive on the income from the first two houses so have the option to sit back for a while.
What would you do differently?
We can definitely see that there is a demand in our investment area for slightly different HMO models and the flexibility that PPP offers means that we can adapt our offering while still following the model. We might focus on providing larger rooms for tenants in slightly smaller properties. As we have already tenanted two properties and have some experience, we are better placed to experiment, and that’s a really good option to have.