By Matthew Gunn

As with anything else in life, building a property portfolio with limited experience was a very steep learning curve.  After several years and a lot of hard work that has been achieved, albeit with many mistakes (as well as successes) along the way.

The housing market has both helped and hindered at various times but regardless there were valuable lessons learned and all things considered now in a better position with experience and assets to show.

So how was this achieved?  It all started with a family member wanting to buy a property with savings and pensions as a retirement fund.  We searched together and there was one flat in Mount Florida that stood out like a sore thumb – The proportions to this four-bedroom were quite incredible (including a fireplace in one of the bedrooms!)

When you are house hunting for yourself you always get that feeling when you go into a property and it just appeals to you, it’s advisable to trust your gut when house hunting yourself but not so much when it’s an investment or buy-to-let.

This property needed a bit of work but it really was a gem, the housing market was stagnant at that time and it was purchased below the Home Report value – always a bonus.  After living there for several years and house sharing it was  renovated with a new kitchen, bathrooms and flooring throughout.  Eventually it sold for a tidy profit as the housing market was now buoyant in Glasgow, the rental income generated during the years living there was around £900 per month so this was all round a great investment as most of the refurbishment money came from the rental income.

Prior to this sale I myself bought another two-bedroom tenement at Kingspark Road, Mount Florida with some savings from working offshore, again at the time of purchase the housing market hadn’t quite picked up yet so again a price was agreed under the Home Report.  This was rented out for two years at £600 pcm prior to selling off the market, despite having to deal with a wet rot issue prior to sale again a good profit was achieved on this property which allowed us to move onto other purchases.

The next purchase was the most dubious purchase to date, having made some profit from the previous properties we had money to burn but didn’t see enough of interest coming on the market.  We decided to gamble on an auction property purchased through a well-known Glasgow Auction House (you know the one), this was a complete refurbishment of a decent sized three-bedroom on Daisy Street, Govanhill.

This investment was purchased without viewing,  which I would thoroughly not recommend, the solicitors jaw nearly hit the floor when I called to explain the situation!

It was a calculated guess that the property would be in a run-down condition and a complete refurb on the cards again, the condition was somewhat a surprise even to us.  Without going into graphic details we required pest control as well as completely stripping out everything within the property – the stench was unbearable.

A separate blog post may be more appropriate but I would advise any purchasers to treat Auction Properties with extreme caution, the Home Reports are generally not worth the paper they are written on – Beware!

Anyway after another solid refurbishment with budget in mind we did manage to sell it within a couple of weeks and still turned a decent profit.  Considering that Govanhill at the time was not the best area it was a good result to turn a profit on this investment – lessons learned all round and onto the next project…