21 Jul 2020
We invited our client Will Taylor to tell us about his experience as an investor in Hull.
How did you get into buy to let property and what was the appeal of investing in Hull?
I got interested in buy to let in the mid-2000s as a means of achieving financial independence in retirement. I managed to save up around £40k and bought and refurbed my first house with it. The timing was excellent. It was 2010 and property prices were very low during the financial crisis. I rented it out and remortgaged it 6 months later and quickly bought a 2nd property. From there we just carried on. We now have buy-to-let ten properties around Hull, a mixture of 2 or 3 bedroom houses and flats.
The main appeal of Hull is that it is my home city. I know the neighbourhoods well, which ones to avoid, and which ones I’d be happy to live in. Investing in my home city and renting to good people means we can give back to our community by giving them quality accommodation at reasonable prices.
Would you consider yourself a full-time landlord, do you have another occupation?
The portfolio doesn’t generate enough cash to pay a full-time wage yet because we decided to take out capital repayment mortgages. So the monthly repayments are quite high. So I have to keep working for now. I’m also the owner of www.compassa.co.uk and we create fun and wacky online health and safety video courses that people actually want to study rather than bore them to tears.
If you were to expand your portfolio, how would you go about it?
I would probably focus on 3 bedroom properties but perhaps outside of Hull, but only so we have some more diversity in our portfolio. We have a couple of properties that are unencumbered. We could mortgage those and quickly raise the cash to expand. I would perhaps consider properties in North Lincolnshire or West Yorkshire. I would feel a little exposed because I don't know the areas or who the reliable agents are but they are close enough for us to visit and keep an eye on.
Do you see yourself as more likely to invest in more property or sell your portfolio in 2020?
At the moment, we’ve decided to hold our portfolio at 10 properties and neither expand nor sell. This is partly a diversification decision. We realised that a lot of our wealth was tied up in property and it’s all in Hull. If Hull gets badly flooded again we would probably have multiple properties affected. So we’re diversifying our wealth and focusing on building Compassa and expanding our portfolio of courses as well as investing in pensions and ISAs.
What would say about the Hull investment market?
Hull is an excellent location for buy-to-let. Property prices remain low enough to get decent yields. However, some areas are more desirable than others. As with all things, choose carefully and focus on properties and locations that will be desirable rather than just focusing on the yield. Hull has always high a working class population, with low wages, and limited employment opportunities and this has kept property prices and rents low. However, it also means there is a lot of potential upside for investors who are focused on the ultra long-term like we are.
Would you consider Ultralets to be a trustworthy second opinion on your investments based on your experiences working with them?
We use Ultralets as our letting agent as well as for investments. Ultimately, if Ultralets make a bad recommendation they will end up with a problem property to rent, with possibly long void periods or difficult tenants. So far that has not happened with any of our investments made through Ultralets. I’m grateful for the advice too. A portfolio of 10 properties sounds like a lot to most people, but it really isn’t. I’m grateful for access to people with a lot more experience in neighbourhoods, prices, rents, and building/maintenance issues. When you lack experience or knowledge, investing in buy-to-let can feel like gambling. But when you’re working with Ultralets, you feel reassured that there’s someone else who can provide a second opinion and advise on areas you’re unsure about.