115: Mark Shanta was a professional poker player who knew he needed to build a longer term income, so started investing his winnings in property and now has a million pound portfolio across his home city of Glasgow

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Mark Shanta LettingsMark is a 31 year old Glasgow based property investor who began buying single let properties 8 years ago and now has a mixed portfolio of 14 properties of different sizes and construction types spread across his home city, worth around £1.2 million.

Last year, he took the next step by opening his own letting agency, Shanta Lettings, to manage properties for other landlords, with a goal of treating each property, landlord and tenant with the same level of respect and attention that he treats his own portfolio with.

He’s passionate about maintaining these high standards as his business grows, and maintaining a good work life balance so he can spend time with his family and young daughter. He’s also a passionate footballer, playing for a local club and having represented Scotland amateurs in international matches.

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Investing Strategies

As well as growing his letting agency business, Mark is still actively investing in property, although his strategy has changed since when he was first starting out. Originally, he was playing professional poker and using his prize money to pay for the deposits of his next investment.

Since he stopped playing poker, he obviously lost that ability to generate big lumps of cash on a fairly regular basis, however he made the smart decision to take the original mortgages out over short terms (typically 15 years) on an interest and repayment basis. 8 years down the line he’s therefore now in the position where he can refinance some of his existing portfolio to fund the next deals.

Biggest Success

No single deal stands out in Mark’s mind as his favourite, but given that most of his single let properties give double digit yields and see great capital appreciation as well, it’s no surprise he can’t pick between them.

One example of a great deal though was a 2 bedroom top floor apartment overlooking all of Glasgow that he purchased for £83,000. After spending £7,000 doing it up, it’s now worth £120,000. Whilst not a property he’ll be able to retire from on it’s own, it’s certainly a great step in the right direction.

Another example, this time of his highest yielding property, was a 1 bedroom flat in Bridgeton (a working class area to the east of the city). He purchased it for cash 4 years ago for £25,000, and spent £5,000 renovating it. The same tenant has been in the property since he finished the work, and it gives Mark a gross yield of 18%.

Biggest Difficulty

One of Mark’s big renovation projects was scheduled to take a few weeks to complete, and as such Mark was on site regularly and chatting to neighbours as they passed by. One guy stood out in his mind as asking a few too many questions, and as (bad) luck would have it, the same day he’d had this conversation, Mark forgot to lock the door on his way home!

He returned the next day to find absolutely everything had been stripped out (boiler, radiators, carpets etc). Not only that, but he found out his buy to let policy wouldn’t cover it as the property was vacant and he hadn’t told the insurance provider. A real lesson in making sure you have the right insurance in place.

What’s Your Favourite Book?

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The Thank You Economy – Gary Vaynerchuk

Mark Shanta Links & Resources

iSurvey-Inventory.co.uk – Find out more about the mobile inventory app that Mark loves
Mark on Facebook – Connect with Mark on Facebook
ShantaLettings.co.uk – Find out more about Mark’s Letting Agency – Shanta Lettings
Mark on LinkedIn – Connect with Mark on LinkedIn
Email Mark Shanta – Got a question or looking for some advice? Get in touch with Mark here.

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