07 Mar 2021
Meet George Binnington. He's a young and hungry investor who has started building his portfolio in Hull and is helping others do the same. We sat down with him to discuss his story so far.
Firstly George, we know you are on the younger end of the scale when it comes to our customer base, how did you get into investing?
I’ve had an interest in property for as long as I can remember to be honest; when I was younger, I would find myself in my element browsing Rightmove for hours on end (I still do this now!), but obviously with nil buying power back then. I also have an entrepreneurial streak within me, so I was quite eager to invest as soon as I was able to.
In preparation, I set out on ‘sharpening my axe’ by reading some of the key books around the topic, watching YouTube content and listening to countless podcasts, as well as picking the brains of family friends who were property investors.
The time came in 2018 when I was 21 and I sealed my first deal in Hull – a decent 2-bed semi. It was a decent house that had sound ‘infrastructure’; by this, I mean a nice kitchen, bathroom, and newly installed boiler. It just required some cosmetic work, which I rolled my sleeves up for and some minor plumbing, which my brother came in rather handy for.
I definitely learned a lot with my first investment, especially from familiarising myself with the purchase process, such as mortgage broker consultation, viewings, estate agent and solicitor liaison and the post-purchase stages such as refurbishment, safety standards compliance and deposit protection.
After completing my first property, I was completely hooked, which led to more books, more YouTube, more podcasts and last summer, another property too.
Why did you choose to invest in property?
I think it’s the best asset class to invest in bar none; I could go on all day about why but I’ll keep it straightforward and tell you my four main reasons.
Let’s not beat around the bush, this is definitely the first and foremost reason people invest in bricks and mortar. The best thing is, there isn’t just one source of income, there are two:
Unlike, for example, stocks and shares, property is yours (unless you default on your mortgage payments, then the bank will take it); as such, you have a significant degree of control both before and after you’ve purchased.
Before you purchase, you can choose where you buy, how many bedrooms it has, whether it has off-street parking or not, a garage or not, a conservatory or not, and whether it has a donkey in the back garden or not (this actually happened to someone).
After the purchase, it is at your discretion whether the walls are grey or pink, whether the kitchen gets refurbed or left as it is or whether you want to allow pets or not, the choice is yours.
Simply put, with rental property, you only need 25% of the purchase price. Therefore, to acquire a £100,000 house, you only need a £25,000 deposit (plus a few grand for fees, stamp duty and other costs). Conversely, if you want £100,000 of Apple shares, you’re going to need £100k.
4) Financial security
Property is relatively quite a forgiving and safe asset class to invest in.
In the unlikely event that something goes wrong, or you’re not a fan of being a landlord, you can just sell up and leave the market. Or if you want to sell a property but the market is low, you can rent it out until it picks up again.
Houses provide shelter, and shelter is a basic human need, so there’ll always be demand. There’s also a housing shortage in the UK which corroborates this point.
Lastly and very importantly, when you invest in property, aside from taxes and legal fees etc, about 80% of the total sum you part ways with becomes equity in the house you’ve bought; it does not merely vanish into thin air.
Why did you initially think to invest in Hull?
I think I’m lucky to have this sort of housing market on my doorstep.
Not only are the region’s prices generally lower than the national average, but there’s also a postcode or smaller area within the wider Hull and East Yorkshire area for every investor’s budget, preferences, desired returns, and risk profiles.
It's no wonder many southern and overseas investors choose to invest in the Hull area.
What has been your biggest struggle so far whilst investing?
Something that is holding me back from growing as a property investor is my lack of confidence in approaching external investors. Whilst it would provide me a catalyst for growth and I know I could deliver bank-beating returns for investors, it’s something I’ve struggled to bring myself to do.
How far are you planning on going with your investments?
The plan is to continue expanding and compounding the portfolio over the next couple of decades. Following that, I’ll focus on reducing portfolio exposure.
How did you end up working with Ultralets and what has your experience of their service been?
For my most recent property, Ultralets helped me with finding a tenant. I was actually abroad when I first contacted Spencer after my ‘Plan A’ tenant was suddenly unable to move in due to personal reasons.
Spencer and the team at Ultralets immediately extinguished my stress of being about 3,000 miles away and therefore unable to do much about the situation myself, by going above and beyond their call of duty and orchestrated an exceptionally smooth letting process, whilst also managing some minor works and getting the property compliant for me before letting.
They really make the process completely hassle-and-hands-free and are more than willing to turn their hand to unusual circumstances. They’re a very up-to-date letting agency, with the systems they employ and they’re also very efficient and prompt at keeping you ‘in the loop’ with updates regarding your investment.
I am pleased to say that I have since remained in touch with Spencer; he's very approachable and always on hand with helpful and honest advice. Im looking forward to working with the Ultralets team on future investments.
Do you have any suggested content for people to watch about getting involved in property?
‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki – sounds incredibly cheesy but don’t let the title put you off, the stuff you learn is perspective-changing and will lay some vital foundations in your personal finance life for property investing.
‘Property Investment for Beginners’ by Rob Dix – A really clear and decent introduction and explanation of the world of property investing.
There are many, but I’ll suggest a couple…
The Property Podcast – with Rob Dix and Rob Bence
Property Investors Podcast – with Russell Leeds and Alasdair Cunningham
Your First Four Houses – the chap on this is really effective at simplifying and breaking stuff down; he helped a lot when I first started out.
Your Property Network magazine – a good way to keep abreast of industry news and changes, as well as get interesting insights into other investors through case studies.
We know you help other 'Millenials' invest and learn about property investment, how have you been doing that and is there a way people can get in touch with you for advice and support on their journey?
Yeah, that’s right; since I started out in property, I’ve had a lot of friends and family members approach me for some guidance on different aspects of property investment: what to do, where to go, who to talk to etc. Whilst some people would just like pointing in the right direction, others want me to suggest an investment strategy or find them a decent property and in one case, I’ve had someone wish for me to execute and manage their investments and long-term strategy going forward too.
Property investing is quite a technical business and oftentimes quite time-consuming, so for people who either lack the know-how, or the time, or both, I endeavor to offer my assistance.
I like property and I enjoy helping people out, so it’s something I’m keen to continue doing and possibly expand too.
I’m always eager to chat with like-minded people about investing, feel free to get in touch: