117: Mark Morris is a long time property investor with experience of multiple strategies on both sides of the Atlantic

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Mark MorrisMark has been building his buy to let portfolio in Salford and Manchester since 1999, alongside his freelance IT career. Starting with flats for professional tenants, he evolved into ex-council properties for LHA tenants, and then long term single lets in the USA.

Recently, he has improved his yields further by moving on to an LHA strategy which has brought his net property income up to the same levels as his income from his IT work.

Along with his own investing, he also hosts the Manchester Property Hub Meetup, which has quickly become the largest free nationwide property network in the UK.

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Investing Strategies

Mark’s original strategy involved providing homes to families in receipt of local housing allowance. This approach allowed him to purchase relatively low cost houses and still achieve great yields by housing tenants who could maximise the housing allowance claimed for each house.

As property prices increased in his target area, he has needed to alter his strategy in order to bolster dwindling yields. Demand from both tenants and the council for larger family homes got him thinking about what he could do to provide a solution.

The shortage of supply for 4+ bedroom houses was due in part to the fact that so many were being purchased to be converted into HMOs. Mark took a lesson from these investors who were turning communal space into extra bedrooms, and has started turning 3 bedroom, 2 reception room properties into 4 bedroom properties, but still targeting single family tenants.

This has allowed him to significantly increase the rental income achieved for each house (~£200 increase from a 3 bedroom to a 4 bedroom) without any of the hassle of managing multiple tenants, complying with strict healthy and safety requirements, paying utility bills etc that come with HMOs.

Biggest Difficulty

Around 2005, a friend of Mark’s introduced him to a new build development on the Welsh coast. With a £2,000 deposit, they were able to have their pick of the apartments on offer, and despite these costing £195,000 (Mark’s typical purchase price was usually around £50,000) they seemed like a good deal in a rising market.

He was taken with the idea of putting down a small deposit and flipping it on for £20,000 profit before even completing on it, but unfortunately it didn’t work out as planned.

Within a matter of weeks of the development completing, the market crashed and Mark was stuck with an apartment in negative equity. He still owns it to this day, and despite every media outlet saying the market is flying again, the apartment is still worth less than what he paid for it.

What’s Your Favourite Book?

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Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity – David Allen

Secrets of a Millionaire Landlord: Maximize Profits and Minimize Hassles – Robert Shemin

Beyond the Bricks: The inside story of how 9 everyday investors found financial freedom through property – Rob Dix

Mark Morris’ Links & Resources

Property Hub Meetups – Find out where your free local meeting is
Mark Morris on Linkedin – Connect with Mark and get in touch if you want to find out more about his story
Email Mark Morris – Got a question or looking for some advice? Get in touch with Mark here.

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