An interview with Azid
Q1: Perhaps you could tell the readers a bit about yourself and how you got into property
To be honest, I’ve probably got a very common story in that I got into property by chance rather than forward planning on my part.
Having said that, it all started when I attended university and would have had to pay £90/week for ‘not the most glamorous of pads’!
I began to think whether I would be happy paying £350/month or did I want to live somewhere that would be mine? I choose the latter option!
In 2000, I was able to get a mortgage, which was fairly easy at the time, although my application was nonetheless helped by my parents, who kindly supported me and stood as guarantors.
In addition the fact that I had also been working for several years, as a part-time care assistant in the NHS, was also very helpful, in proving income and ability to pay the mortgage.
My first property was a single dwelling house, which I shared with one other person, so the mortgage payments were effectively shared and it worked out that the rent from the other person was just about enough to cover the mortgage payments, so I was essentially living rent free, although at the age of 20, I hadn’t yet fully appreciated the concepts behind property investing.
After graduation, I started to work within the Pharmaceutical Industry, earning a good salary, and by then I had gained a better understanding of the property rental market, so I continued buying more properties every year, as financially, it made a lot of sense. In effect, I viewed property investments as a way to fund my future pension.
Q2: What objectives did you have when starting out in property?
The main objective was to build up that pension pot.
So between 2000-2010 the focus was on BTL properties, which were generating around £400/month, after all costs.
As my portfolio grew in size and value and I’d learnt more about the dynamics of the UK property market, I was able to refinance (re-mortgage) equity out of these BTL’s, which together with the rental income were ploughed back into the business, to purchase even more properties.
In addition to this (rental income), my salary coupled with generous bonuses, i was able to fund further deposits and refurbishments.
For me, the best thing about investing in properties is the ability to leverage your money.
This, I have always, and still do use to my advantage to keep growing the portfolio. Today, I am comfortable operating at around 65% LTV across all of my investments.
Even though the portfolio was growing steadily in the background, I continued to educate and develop myself, first studying for an MBA at Warwick Business School (WBS) in 2010, and thereafter graduated with an MSc in Economics at the London School of Economics (LSE) in 2015.
I firmly believe that the collective knowledge I have acquired, be that in property investments, economics or just how to run a businesses effectively, has really helped me scale my property business.
During one of my MBA modules, I specifically chose to undertake a project looking at the dynamics of UK housing market (again). This is despite the fact that by that stage I had been investing in property for over 12 years.
This time my deep dive accounted for an increased knowledge of these unique dynamics of UK housing sector which were developing in 2010.
These new found insights ultimately culminated in the strategic decision for me to move into the HMO sector, which duly started to take shape around 2013.
Today we have well over 100s of tenants!
Strategic Decision Making:
My research highlighted a number of things:
I realised that London was soon to become over-priced and unaffordable for huge swath of workers and I remember thinking; “we’ve got people who would be working in London (for the higher wages), but wouldn’t be able to afford to live in London. So, where would they live in the future”?
This led me to focus on investing heavily around the fringes of the M25. Relatively, quickly I scaled up to several HMOs, all located 30-40 mins commute to London.