Episode #381: Behind the scenes of this first time HMO investment, with Courtney Bryan

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I think you’re going to love today’s episode as I chat with Courtney Bryan about his investment story so far, specifically looking at the details of his first HMO – what worked well, what didn’t go to plan, how he selected his investment area, sourced the deal, and so much more, including all the numbers of that first project. 

Courtney mentions our Inside HMO Investing programme a couple of times throughout the interview, and I’m thrilled it’s had such a positive impact on his confidence to get out there and invest, but actually most of our guests these days we’ve worked with in the past, whether it’s through our HMO programme, our Open Days or our raising private finance programme.

Some of our recent guests like Nikki Smith, Martin & Lauren Plummer, Howard Giblin, Jess Leader, and Kim Opszala have all invested in support and education with IPI, and as I said to Courtney after recording this, it’s so fulfilling 7 or 8 years after starting this podcast to be part of all of their stories, and I hope one day I can be part of yours as well.  Maybe even, I’ll get to discuss it with you as a guest on the podcast. But for today, let’s see what we can learn from Courtney Bryan and his own investing story. 

What we discussed in today’s episode:

  • Before Courtney Bryan started in property investing, he had a career in football. He was aspiring for the heady heights of getting signed by Arsenal in the past, he got scouted by pro clubs and had matches but he had a number of injuries which halted his career.

  • That’s when he went back to college and took a Degree in Multimedia Technology and entered into the corporate world of cybersecurity.

  • Ellie and Courtney built their property business from their own savings. His wife Ellie is now working part time for her corporate job while Courtney is still working full time. Building up their income from property is their focus but at the same time, having a stable monthly salary from their jobs keeps them mortgageable.

  • In April 2021, they started investing in their first HMO in Ipswich which is a 30–40-minute drive from their home. Their main reason for picking Ipswich was to invest in a location that’s within a radius that they can easily visit if they need to. They started doing analysis and research and learned helpful tips along the way; to talk to the locals at coffee shops and speak to taxi drivers because they knew more about the area than anyone else.

Courtney's first investment property in 2016
Courtney Bryan bought his first investment property in 2016 in South East London where he grew up 

  • Their first purchase wasn’t the easiest as it was via the modern method of auction. The expected completion was 56 days but there were delays and the seller threatened to pull out several times. If they can do things differently from what happened, they might get a different bridging lender who specialises in auction purchases which could have preempted the issues they encountered.

  • It was perseverance and communication that Courtney was able to survive the whole frustrating process. It kept everyone on the loop and they tried to be proactive as possible.

  • The first project had a fairly big renovation and it was completed in March 2022 with the initial quote around £100,000 refurb. The builder was running late in starting the renovation and they were pushing things back slightly. Then one day the builder called Courtney that he can no longer do the job. He might have found an easier job. In 2021 to 2022, builders were cherry picking in their jobs like crazy.

Courtney's first completed HMO investment
Courtney Bryan’s first HMO investment that was completed in 2022

  • Courtney learned from what happened and it gave him a dose of realism in property investing. Sometimes, things are out of control, the builder won’t show up and the lender solicitors take longer than expected. Everything happened for a reason and because of what happened, they found a better builder that’s truly amazing. It was a learning curve for him.

  • January is usually a pretty good time to get HMOs in the market because lots of people are thinking of moving for a fresh start for the year. Courtney Bryan knew the market was strong. He used a specialist and some HMO managing agent to advertise the finished property and within the first day of the advert going live, about 20 people had already booked for an open house.

  • The property in Ipswich was a three-bedroom property but they renovated it and ended up creating a six bed, five-bathroom, HMO.

  • Purchase price of the property was £208,000 including the reservation fee since it’s an auction purchase. They had a total renovation budget of £115,000 in the end including £10,000 additional work which was part of their contingency.

3-bed semi-detached to 6-bed HMO conversion
A single storey rear/side extension and conversion of 3 bed semi-detached property to a 6 bed HMO

  • As of this time, they’re actively looking for a property to build another HMO in Ipswich. They know the area very well; they’ve got a good team and they met good people.

  • The couples’ roles and responsibilities are evenly split. They are actively involved in analysis and sourcing of new deals. Ellie makes the shortlist and then Courtney contacts the agent for the properties that are of interest to them. Courtney and Ellie do viewings but Ellie likes to do more of the design elements of things, from interiors to the final finish of the projects.

Courtney's little finishing touches
For Courtney Bryan, the little finishes make all the difference to the end product

  • Courtney Bryan’s future plan for his business is to use private finance to fund his upcoming projects. He wants to buy and renovate properties with private finance which takes away all the stress, headache and burden. It definitely has a lot of advantages.

  • Courtney’s advice to anyone who’s just starting out in property investing:
    • Surrounding yourself with the right people who actively does what you are doing and have done it, can be a support system for anyone.
    • Work on your mindset. In most cases, your mindset may stop you from doing what you’re doing so it’s important to train the mind to focus on the goal.

  • You can follow Courtney’s property investment journey on his Instagram page.

Ready to find out if HMO Investing is right for you?

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