Mike and Victoria Stenhouse

256: Jan update – Interiors, an Instagram challenge and why we’re moving into our HMO




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Mike and Victoria StenhouseWe’re currently sat knee-deep in boxes, in which 80% of our possessions are packed. Yes you’ve guessed right, we move house tomorrow. We still have a lot more to sort out, but in between the packing we thought we’d give you an insight into our January and explain why we’re moving into our latest HMO. 

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Wellington project almost finished – and we’re moving in!

The furniture is arriving today for our latest Stockport HMO, which is incredibly convenient because we’re moving into it. Manchester Road, the property we intended to move into, isn’t complete yet so we’re spending ten nights at the Wellington HMO. It’ll be a great opportunity to test out whether we’re creating the type of product we think we are, before the tenants move in. The first three rooms are reserved and the first tenants move in 14th February (after we have moved out). We’re hoping to net £2,000 a month. It’s a joint venture so that’s £1k each.

We opted for a monochrome-themed interior, which has after some initial doubts (on Mike’s part) has turned out to be favourite HMO interior so far. We’ve spent a little more on than than usual, but we’ve achieved a far greater product. We had the time to plan feature lighting and integrated lighting in the communal areas, which is where we always spend the bulk of our budget. The thinking behind this approach is that each tenant is only going to see one bedroom, but they’re all going to see the communal area.  

Bolton HMO – planning delays

Slightly further afield than most of our projects, we’re managing this one for another investor. The plan is to create a 6-bed HMO, similar to those we have in Stockport. We tried to bypass HMO planning by taking it from B1 office to C3 residential and then using permitted development rights to take it to C4, but an eagle-eyed planning officer told us we should really get a full planning application. Needless to say this has slightly delayed us. However, we’re fairly confident of getting approval as there’s another HMO next-door. The decision date is 12th February and all being well the house should be finished 24th-25th February. 

Manchester Road (IPI Barber Shop)

We’re still moving in here eventually, but at a slightly later date than we wanted to. The property should now be ready by mid-March with a planned move-in date of 16th March. The property consists of a tenanted ground floor commercial unit, with two flats above. We’re moving into the two bedroom flat on the first-floor. Whilst the barber shop on the ground floor gave us a regular income, the downside was it posed problems with regards to accessibility and we got complaints about brick dust falling into people’s hair during the rip-out.

The steels are coming in this week and hopefully it’ll have a new roof by the end of next week. We have a grand plan of installing a floating bed, so look out for that on Instagram. After we head off sailing we’re planning to trial the flats as serviced accommodation. It’s a strategy we’ve been wanting to try out for a long time and we’re excited about what is in-store.

Selling the house

When we bought the current house we intended to stay in it for five or six years, far longer than the two years we ended up here. The sailing plan only sprang to life 18 months ago. The gentleman we bought it off was 105 and had lived in the house since he was 30. As you can expect, it was a full back to brick renovation. We knocked out four chimneys, put in five steels and knocked through a number of walls. After the renovation, the total cost came to £420,000. We’ve ended up selling it for £515,000. We’ve hugely benefited from the market, but it just goes to show that renovating and adding value is the most tax efficient way to make money in property. It’s how we got started in property and anyone wanting to take their first steps in property should, where possible, definitely consider renovating their own home and adding value.

Sailing into the future

We’re aiming for a May departure on our sailing trip, either from the UK or France, which means we’ve still got a bit of time to get set on a few more projects. That said, we’re planning to continue buying whilst we’re away, having been inspired by overseas investors like Paul Averill and Julie Talbot

We’re currently going through conveyancing for a property we plan to turn into an 8-bed HMO in Stockport. If everything goes according to plan, it should be nearing completion before we sail away. We’re planning on putting in mezzanine beds, like in the Warrington project. We’ve got our eyes on a few properties and hopefully we should have a few offers in before our next update at the end of February.


We love Instagram’s close-knit, friendly and supportive community and we’re hoping to share that love through our second Instagram challenge. We did our first in September and it was a massive hit. Check-out @InsidePropertyInvesting on Instagram for the full details. And if you’re not a member of Instagram yet, what are you waiting for? Sign-up and kick-start your #7DaysOfProperty!

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