My partner and I were fresh from an investment training programme with Legacy Education Alliance. We had settled on HMOs as our investment strategy and, after some desktop research, had chosen Mansfield and the surrounding areas as our investment area for the strategy. However, while we felt we had built up a good base of knowledge on our course and knew what we wanted, we needed help transitioning from investment education to investment reality and support with putting our knowledge into action in the real world.
In order to ascertain further information on HMOs and the requirements of the area, I spoke to Mansfield District Council. When we got to talking about letting agents, three were recommended, including Purseglove.
I spoke to all three, with a view to using one of them as our letting agent once we had a property ready to go. The other two were fine but nothing special. However, what I got from my call with Rich Purseglove was much more than expected.
Not only was he clearly a HMO specialist with unparalleled knowledge on anything and everything to do with HMOs and the area, but he was very patient and generous with his time (I had a lot of questions).
It also struck me that Rich had undertaken a similar property course to us, learned about HMOs and the huge market in and around Mansfield for them, and was an investor himself. This gave me great confidence in what Rich told me was Purseglove’s unique selling point – that the service they would provide me would be the service they would provide for themselves. However, while this is a great selling point (and a very true one, I have since found out), it was the fact that Purseglove offered an end-to-end service that attracted us to them over the alternatives – this is where Purseglove really come into their own.
To test the water, as it were, we asked Purseglove to assist us with viewing two potential properties, one in Shirebrook and one in Huthwaite, and to provide us with an overview of our options as to what we could do with them. Following Purseglove’s visits and initial advice (Rich was very generous with his time, explaining everything to us over coffee and helping us formulate our numbers), we made offers on both properties, and lo and behold one was accepted (the Huthwaite one)!
While this was great news, we were now in completely uncharted territory. But we need not have worried. Purseglove went into overdrive and, almost as soon as the offer was accepted, they went to the property and undertook a viability report for us so that we would have a proper floor plan of the proposed conversion – from 2 bed house to 4 or 5 bed all en suite HMO – including a scope of work overview/cost estimate for each option and advice on end valuation. They also assisted us in securing angel funding, providing a deal analysis that we could share with potential investors (we were using angel investment to help us fund the refurbishment works). These documents were invaluable in helping us nail down our numbers, gave us confidence we would be able to fill the rooms with tenants (and keep them filled), and provided us with the reassurance that we had bought the right property (a particular necessity for first-time investors).
Next we needed someone to build the thing! Although we already had national power team members on side (broker, lawyers, and accountants), we needed a trusted and specialist build team for the job. Purseglove already had one on hand, so once we got through legals, a build team was ready to go, and Rich was ready to project manage them. This was a huge weight off my shoulders; as a lawyer down in London, I didn’t have the time nor want the hassle of regular calls with, and checking up on, builders.
Now, it would be disingenuous to say that the refurbishment went smoothly, but I put none of that down to Rich and his team, just builds and builders. If anything, the challenges that arose gave Purseglove another opportunity to excel in their client care and show their ability to get things over the line, come what may. And what we ended up with was well worth the wait; a 5 bed all en suite HMO that – wait for it – achieved a commercial valuation (which almost never happens in properties with less than 7 beds, according to my property networks) thanks to a very good broker that Rich put us in touch with. This meant we got much more out of the refinance (an estimated £90,000 more) than a standard bricks and mortar valuation, to roll onto our next property investment.
In terms of the letting side, the rooms were filled before they were ready, and have remained filled in the six months or so since we have been renting out the property, with minimal fuss. We trust Rich and his team to look after our and our tenants’ interests, as they would their own, and we haven’t been disappointed. The tenants are happy and we got the rent rates Purseglove told us we would get at the outset (in some cases, more), achieving a gross rent (PCM) of over £2,500 on a property that would have grossed around £650-£750 PCM as a family BTL. All thanks to the help and guidance of Rich and his team.
To summarise, the services that Purseglove provided us with include:
- Initial property viewings to review our options
- HMO viability visit with sketch plans and cost estimates
- Assistance with deal analysis document to secure angel funding
- Refurbishment management
- Commercial finance and valuation support
- HMO letting and management
As you can see, Purseglove really do provide an end-to-end service. They have assisted us from the initial viability study through to the valuation and, currently, with the management. They’ve given us way more value than charged, every step of the way.
I should say that we weren’t pressed into using all of Pursegloves’ services and an investor could approach them at any point in their investment journey for help in putting together a plan to achieve their goals, utilising whatever services they need along the way. It’s just that we were so impressed with Purseglove that we decided to use them for everything. Not only that, but we have also been delighted by the fact that there was someone there, in our investment area, who could and did bridge the gap for us from investment education to investment reality.
Rich and his team held our hand every step of the way, going above and beyond, with Rich particularly a pleasure to speak to and deal with. I don’t mind saying, and I have told Rich this, that we were lucky to have found Purseglove when we did (thanks Mansfield District Council), and we would not have had the success we did on this project without their hard work and attentiveness.
When Rich asked if I would write Purseglove a testimonial based on the above project, I did not hesitate. They made the whole process as easy as it could be and really got our investment journey going. I highly recommend Rich and the team at Purseglove to any property investor, but particularly to fellow fresh-faced graduates looking to establish a foothold in the reality of the property investment world. Purseglove will help your training become reality.
I am aware from discussions with Rich that Purseglove will be offering a HMO experience day which is focused on what was our exact situation, bridging the gap between training and reality. Knowing Rich as I now do, it will be very thorough, incredibly useful and great value. If you find yourselves in the same situation we were in, call Purseglove today! You will not be disappointed.