01 Feb 2021
We sat down with former professional footballer and Ultralets client Paul Fewings to get a steer on how when and why he ended up being involved in property investment in Hull.
How did you get into buy to let property and what was the appeal of investing in Hull?
From the age of about 17, I became more and more interested in property. When most of my friends were looking at brand new cars I had a burning desire to invest in something that I hoped would appreciate in value. I’m not sure where that desire came from as my family certainly didn’t have any kind of background or track record but between the ages of 17-24 my job at the time meant that I lived in the South where house prices there made it almost impossible to get on the property ladder.
So rather than go down the conventional route of purchasing a property to live in, I set about saving up my money to purchase a flat in an area I knew was more affordable for my budget and somewhere I had local knowledge of and friends in various trades to call upon if needed. That place was Hull.
I aimed to rent the flat out to students and managed to secure a four-bed flat on Pearson Park for 62K. I was fortunate enough to make some money on it when I sold it a few years later just before the credit crunch arrived and using that money, the rent I had saved up plus my own savings I managed to buy a one-bed flat that I could live in myself in a place called Wolverton- Milton Keynes. It was just around the corner from where I had started what turned out to be a long term work role.
Would you consider yourself a full-time landlord, do you have another occupation?
I’ve gone from dabbling in it to really immersing myself over the years gaining as much knowledge as possible. I love my full-time job but property is also a passion of mine that I’ll continue to pursue.
What is the worst thing about being a landlord?
In the early years, I used to dread phone calls about maintenance issues or tenants not paying rent but over time you realise that it’s a business that you’re running and that you need to ensure that you have adequate cash flow and contingency funds factored into your model to ensure you don’t find yourself struggling if these things happen. They’re not pleasant but you can mitigate against most things with the correct insurance and ensuring your numbers stack upon any property you take the plunge on.
Do you see yourself as more likely to invest in more property or sell your portfolio in 2021?
We’ve just managed to let out what was our family home this year and our new home is being renovated with the possibility of us letting out a part of the outbuildings as an Airbnb. Our location of Beverley is quite desirable for holiday lets so we’re interested to test ourselves in that market now that many people are looking to stay in England rather than a holiday abroad.
What would say about the Hull investment market?
It’s important to know your strategy before investing in the area in my view. Are you looking to Buy, Refurb, Refinance and Rent out a property or are you looking to turn a property around quickly from refurb to market? (Sometimes known as a flip)
If you don’t know the market, or importantly you don’t have connections with someone who does, you can easily come unstuck.
In some cases, there may be two streets next to each other but one will be on a completely different level from a resale or rental demand perspective.
Some areas might stack up in terms of numbers on paper with attractive yields and return on investment but it’s important to understand the challenges some of those areas might bring so that you go into things with your eyes wide open.
Even though I am from Hull originally I would always run any property I have in mind past Spencer just to be sure.
How have you found the Ultralets service since working with them and what is your favourite thing about the company?
When I moved back to the area I knew that it had changed quite a bit since I last lived there so I wanted to do my homework and started off by calling around all the letting agents asking for their input and advice.
Whilst many of them were helpful, Spencer stood out from them all as he was prepared to go that extra mile. I would send over property targets at all hours of the day and I would always receive a comprehensive reply outlining what I should consider with a rental assessment attached to help me crunch the numbers.
When I embarked on two refurb projects I enlisted the help of Ultralets to do it. With my work, I could only really visit during the evening but I would often find the guys working on site trying to get it over the line as quickly as possible for me. Spencer not only produced a schedule of works for me but carried out the refurbs one after the other in quick succession to a high standard at a price that was very competitive.
I’m delighted to say that we have maintained that relationship and Ultralets manage those properties for me.