property podcast

271: March update – an HMO conversion in an article 4 area and why we love converting cellars




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Property podcast, Mike and Victoria Stenhouse

It’s time again for our monthly update. Now that we’re only two months away from setting sail, we’ve been busy finishing off the final bits and bobs of some of our longer running projects this month. At the same time, we’ve been lining up properties to keep us busy when we’re on the boat.


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IPI Barbershop – almost finished

Following some unforeseen delays, we eventually moved into this property in March. It will be serving as our temporary home until we collect the boat in June. When we leave, it’ll turn in to our first serviced accommodation (SA) project. We’re currently in the process of learning about the many things to consider with SA, from council tax to SA specific mortgages. We’re also having a lot of fun with the interiors. Not only do we have a little more to spend on them than with a traditional HMO, we also have more freedom now we’re not factoring in monster kitchens for 8 people. 

IPI Project – a lesson in managing local concerns

Another property located in our traditional Stockport area, this commercial building has lain empty for ten years. We recently submitted a planning application for an eight bed HMO with seven bathrooms, which attracted a lot of attention from people living in the local area. It wasn’t until we were tagged in a discussion about the property in a community Facebook group that we became aware of the debate it had provoked. 

We usually avoid wading into discussions about our projects so as not to draw unnecessary attention to them. However on this occasion it was clear the project was already in the limelight and we broke that rule and engaged in discussion on the thread. Explaining who our target market are (young professionals) and sharing photos of previous projects helped to alleviate concerns. In fact, we ended up getting a lot of positive feedback from people within the group.

IPI Wellington – adding communal space through converting cellars

Another commercial conversion into an HMO in Stockport, we lived in this property shortly before it was tenanted, after selling the house.  It is now fully tenanted. We undertook a large cellar conversion with this project and it’s definitely something we would do again. It’s a great way to add an additional communal area, whilst freeing up space on the ground floor for an extra bedroom.

We’re such converts to cellar conversions, we’re now revisiting one of our five bed HMOs and adding a lounge-cum-cinema room to the cellar. The area the property is in has recently become quite competitive. Adding additional communal space should allow us to reduce voice periods, whilst nudging up rents a little. Best of all, it should only take three weeks end-to-end. 

Bolton HMO – first room reserved

Another commercial to HMO conversion, but further afield from our usual territory. This is a six bed, five bathroom, design-focused HMO. It’s now approaching completion and in just another two weeks it will all be done. One room has already been reserved on the back of the first viewing and we’re confident in the other rooms shifting just as quickly. It’s a great property in a nice area of town: with those two essentials ticked off, it’s in good stead to be a very successful project.  

An HMO conversion in an article 4 area

An HMO project in an article 4 area. Yes you read that correctly. How?

Article 4 directives often cover large areas, but usually are only designed to restrict HMO conversions in a very small section of that area. The article 4 directive that applies to this property is intended to prevent the creation of HMOs close to a university. This property is far away from the university. We’ve consulted a planning expert and they’re confident we’ve got a high chance of getting the planning application accepted.

However, if it does fail the property already has planning to convert it into two apartments, meaning we have a solid backup plan at the ready. This is one of two deals that we did with a JV partner that we talked about in our podcast, ‘2 HMOs for the price of 1,’ a few weeks ago.

Only two months until we set sail

With now only two months to go until we set sail, we’ve been turning our preparations for the sailing trip up a notch. The boat is scheduled to be finished by the end of April and we’re excited to start our adventure in location-free working at sea. Having seen how people like Julie Talbot make a success of remote working through implementing strong systems and processes, we can’t wait to give it a go ourselves.

On a final note…

In the meantime, we’re seeking individuals wanting a fixed return on their cash for a minimum of 12 months. Get in touch:

Typically we can offer 8-10% on loans. The loans are made to our holding company so it’s backed up by the security of our portfolio. Funds will be used across multiple projects.

8 Week HMO Challenge

Our 8 Week HMO Challenge starts 16th April. The course takes you through the full process of finding your first HMO deal, from goal setting and area analysis to finance, mortgages, property sourcing and deal analysis. And the theory is reinforced with practice through homework, clear tasks and accountability. We also throw in a free copy of our Inside HMO Investing course for anyone who signs up.


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