Francis Dolley was the 2nd speaker at our February PIM and entertained the packed audience in his usual practical advice mixed with amusing anecdotes.
Francis’ topic was “Endless Tenants – How to Eradicate Voids For Ever!”
Francis lives in Somerset and many of his own properties are in Bristol, so he knows our local market very well, also investing in other towns in the area.
Originally in the construction industry, he first started investing as long ago as 1995, but at the time almost by accident and without any detailed knowledge or strategy – in fact it was over 7 years before he bought his next property.
One of the first stories he told illustrated the power of a cheeky offer. He wanted to buy a bank repossession which had twice failed to sell at auction. They were asking £100k for it and Francis planned to offer £80k – but when it came to it, on the spur of the moment he offered much less, in fact only £60k – and nearly fell off his chair when this was accepted.
Much later, Francis started investing in buy to lets. Then, in 2010, Francis and his daughter Emily saw the opportunity offered by rent to rent. His latest investment property had cost £70k, with a deposit of £18k, refurbishment costs of £1.5k and the same for legal costs. The net rental return was £250 per month, for that £21k capital investment, but then boiler repairs were needed and the return went down to £80 pm. Financial freedom looked a long way off at that rate.
So Francis looked at rent to rent and found a good deal on a property in Bristol, where he used a guaranteed rent strategy. With an investment of only £1k for refurbishment and £1k for a deposit, he was now making £600 pm. 6 properties later and his return from a similar £21k investment was £3,600 pm.
Francis built his portfolio to 50 rooms and then gave 20 back! Another important lesson; keep the quality high. Francis now has 80 rooms and decided to stop, to focus on running his own property events.
As a result he decided to appoint a property manager to look after his properties – and this is what has led him to eradicate voids. It started off as a target for his manager, Will, but soon turned into a mantra – and a system. Their active management of properties means Francis can now say they have not had a void for even 1 hour in 18 months!
Will also took to the stage to explain his approach in more detail. The highlights of their system include:
- Great presentation for rooms
- Excellent “fun” ads for rooms
- Videos and Skype viewings using an iPad for overseas tenants
- Collecting prospective tenants details, for ongoing emailing, phone calls and texts as new properties become available
- Ads to generate leads and enquiries
- The Three Foot Rule – tell everyone you know
- Agents boards, ads on cars and postcards to build their brand
- Text messaging to confirm appointments to view – to reduce “no shows”
- Knowing the other tenants well, to sel the property – sell the lifestyle
- Rigorous tenant checking – 3 months bank statements etc
- Staying on top of the paperwork, professional contracts etc
- Regular inspections
- Good communication for happy tenants – be friendly not their friend
Francis has created a couple of publications for those interested in these areas, covering both Endless Tenants and also employing a Property Manager – something he wishes he’d done much earlier.
This was a really useful talk, as well as entertaining.
Do make sure you join us for our next PIM on Thursday 26 March 2015 at Holiday Inn, Bristol City Centre, 6-9 pm
For more info and to reserve your place CLICK BELOW!
We look forward to seeing you there on the night.
All the Team at Property Options