349: Jake & Lucy of Innova Property on growing a property business as a couple and doing it alongside the day job

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Today I am delighted to be joined by Lucy and Jake from Innova Property. They are based in Bristol and despite initially looking around at some cheaper locations to invest, they decided that being close to home was important. So, with their expertise and their preference for being involved in the renovation process, they were able to make investing work on their doorstep in what is traditionally viewed as an expensive market to get a foot on the ladder. In today’s interview, we talk about that, their funding plan and strategy for sustainable growth to keep growing a portfolio, despite starting out without an abundance of their own money. We talk about them balancing their property investing career and ambitions, alongside their full-time day jobs. Also, we talk about how they are able to work together as a couple more effectively now than when they first started. There’s loads of great inspiration and actionable insights.

Listen to this episode below:

Here’s what we discussed this time:

4:30 – Jake and Lucy give us their back story and tell us about their day jobs – Jake as a regional manager for a German kitchen franchise and Lucy in HR for a social housing company. They tell us there isn’t a huge story behind property but that they started dabbling as soon as they left uni.

7:35 – Just starting and working it out as they went along went really well for them.

7:57 – Lucy talks about inheriting a property in west Wales and their decision to renovate the property. She talks about how it happened by chance and then decided to buy an off-the-shelf investment in Cardiff. That’s been a great investment for cashflow and convenience but hasn’t created a huge amount of equity. It made them realise they needed to make the money work harder for other investments.

9:45 – They talk about why they think the new build market is a bad place to invest.

11:48 – Mike asks what the driving force behind setting up a property business is. Lucy discusses the importance of financial freedom and location freedom, as well as building business that they really enjoy. Jake discusses how satisfying he finds renovating property.

13:42 – They are looking at this from a business perspective, as opposed to simply a passive income situation.

16:49 – Lucy discusses how they have learned to manage from a distance and how they have learnt from the experience of setting up their serviced apartments.

17:33 – Mike discusses how naivety can be good sometimes and that you can use education and fear as a road block. Getting it done and figuring it out on the journey is a good move to make.

18:31 – Lucy talks through some of the worst moments of setting up the SA.

20:40 – They discuss how they manage the serviced apartments and that they do the bookings themselves etc.

21:49 – Jake tells us how they started working out a strategy, but first how they bought a property, lived in it for 18 months while renovating it and doing everything themselves and then they sold it. That sale generated enough to buy another house and a place in Cardiff, too. From here, they realised how they could achieve perpetual growth.

23:02 – Jake realised there was more to strategy than they first thought and started listening to podcasts and developing their serious goals with property.

24:32 – They all discuss how investing in your own home is a great way to get started. But, they discuss wanting a break from the dust and not living in while renovating.

27:35 – Jake talks about their preference for houses when it comes to flip properties.

28:00 – They discuss their plans at the moment and the fact they are able to invest in bigger deals now. They talk about running flip properties alongside a HMO. They talk about using private finance and how they leave their money in the deals. They discuss the early stages of their second HMO whereby they are doing a loft conversion and are due to complete this week on a commercial to residential conversion with their business partners. They also have a Grade-II listed chapel in Cornwall.

33:01- They talk about how they might sell that one with planning and the ins and outs that went into that decision.

36:42 – Outside of being busy, Mike asks how the business is going today. They discuss how they will have to, at one point, think about whether they want to leave their day jobs or not. They tell us how it comes in peaks and troughs, and how that helps them to maintain a balance.

38:17 – Jake talks us through their journey of going from doing everything themselves to outsourcing more work. Mike asks who they are most reliant on in terms of building the business.

40:12 – They tell us how invaluable their broker has been. A good broker more than just finds the lowest interest rate for you, and becomes a valuable member of the team. They can help you to consider different angles and risk evaluation, too.

42:46 – What was the biggest struggle they have encountered along the way so far? They discuss funding and finding deals that stack, especially in such an active and competitive market such as Bristol.

44:30 – They discuss how they balance being a couple and working together on a business. They tell us about the importance of having different roles, but how they come together at times too.

46:42 – Mike asks what advice they would give to someone looking to start out in investing now.

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The Links We Mentioned:

Find Innova Property on Instagram @innova.property or on their website.

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