A woman who managed to amass a property portfolio of seven homes worth a collective £1.5 million has revealed how she did it all before turning 30.
Emily Evans, the self-proclaimed “Martin Lewis of the property world”, said she now wants to teach other Millennials how to do the same after launching her buying career at 19 with a £160,000 home.
Emily, from Bridgend, Somerset, said: “I was never book smart as a child and from a young age, I knew I wasn’t intelligent enough to go to university.
“But I knew I wanted to get out of the poverty trap and have the financial security of owning a home. At age 19, I bought my first house and I kept on going from there,” she explained.
Emily said she started out eyeing up properties in need of redevelopment, she’d then make an offer at a discounted rate, renovate the place and then re-mortgage it to buy her next property.
“Of course sometimes it was terrifying, I would worry that it was too risky buying another house and would consider pulling out of the purchase.
“But I always knew the figures worked and today I have seven properties in total.
“I always say I bite off more than I can chew and then chew like hell later.”
But while Emily admits she took some huge risks, she said she’s proof that home ownership is attainable – even for those trapped in the so-called Generation Rrent.
“Lots of young people panic and think it’s an impossible feat to get on the property ladder.
“We go to school and we learn Maths and English but we are never taught about how to buy our first home and put a roof over our heads. We’re not educated about property.”
The young buyer, who runs a podcast called ‘PropertyPod’ said she now wants to help other buyers follow in her footsteps.
My property empire
Emily bought her first house at 19, a two-bedroom end-of-terrace for £160,000 in Bridgwater, Somerset with a 10% deposit.
She made the purchase with her boyfriend after the 2008 crash, who then used his skills as a plumber to help re-do the house inside out.
The couple split up shortly after in 2011, but then sold it on for £210,000 – making a joint gross profit of £50,000.
That same year, Emily purchased a two-bed end of terrace house for £120,000 on Bilberry Grove in Taunton, Somerset, with a £12,000 deposit and added a new bathroom and kitchen to the property.
A year later, she put in an offer of £50,000 on a one-bed house in Bridgwater that was about to be repossessed.
Emily had to remortgage her home on Bilberry Grove and use all of her £12,000 savings to buy the property.
“Everyone thought I was mad buying that house. It was such a wreck that I didn’t even go inside to view it and it was about to be repossessed so I didn’t even have time to get a survey done.
“But while I was never good at maths at school, I realised I had a good mind for figures. And as an estate agent, I would regularly meet with up builders renovating properties so I could see this house had bags of potential.
“I knew this property would be a good investment so I trusted my gut instinct.”
Emily fully renovated the property and the gamble paid off when it was valued at £115,000 soon after.
This allowed her to take out a mortgage to release the £68,000 so she could build her next property in 2013.
In the following years, Emily purchased two more houses in Somerset through re-mortgaging her existing properties as well as with the help of a bridging loan.
In 2016, she bought her seventh and final property – a two-bedroom new-build in Clifton, Bristol – which she now rents out.
Emily’s tips for hopeful homeowners
“I genuinely want to help people get on the housing ladder. I understand how scary and complicated it can seem but with a bit of knowledge and advice, it’s more than possible,” she said.
“Sometimes, it just means a few simple tips. For example, don’t go direct to a bank for a mortgage, go to an independent mortgage adviser instead ( see our tips on finding a broker, here ). They have access to better deals.
“Buy a property that needs work or look out for end of terrace houses with corner plots where you can get planning permission to build another house.
“And if you live in London and can’t afford property there, buy out of the capital and rent the house out. The most important thing is to get on the ladder!”
Emily admits her career in property started young – she chose not to go to university and left school to become an estate agent, which she later managed.
“At age 18, I became an estate agent and worked my way up to manager at the branch quite quickly.
“I was very lucky. Working as an estate agent, I quickly learned about the importance of owning a home as well as about mortgages and the financing to actually be able to get on the property ladder.
“For example growing up, nobody tells you how getting a credit card and making the payments back on time can help you get a mortgage.
“Most young people don’t necessarily have the education they need to buy a home. They just need a little help.”
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Emily said she has no further plans to purchase any properties and instead wants to focus on helping others buy their first home.
She also wants to use her platform to advise the Government on the property problems in this country – such as housing shortages and flaws to stamp duty.
She explained: “Ultimately, buying a property is the biggest investment you’ll ever make in your life and an opportunity for financial security.
“People need help with how to buy a house and I want to show them how. I would love to be the Martin Lewis of the property world one day!
“I genuinely want to help people get on the housing ladder. I understand how scary and complicated it can seem but with a bit of knowledge and advice, it’s more than possible.”
Now renting in London, Emily wants the Government to improve the property issues in the UK as increases in stamp duty make it difficult for many potential homeowners.
Emily’s top tips for new homeowners
Living in London can’t afford to buy? Buy out of London and rent the house out. Good areas to buy: anywhere on the new cross rail lines, Croydon, then out to cities like Bristol. Get the advice of a good letting agent, preferably not linked to an estate agents.
Buy a property that needs work? Get stuck in yourself to save money.
Look out for end of terrace houses with corner plots, where you can get planning to build another house.
Don’t go direct to your bank for a mortgage speak to an independent mortgage advisor, they have access to better deals.
If money’s tight, employ a no sale no fee solicitor. So if the deal does fall through you don’t have to pay legal costs.
Do your homework finding an honest trustworthy builder. I would not be where I am today without my builder Josh. Recommendations and word of mouth is where to start.
Negotiate! Negotiate on everything. When buying the house, when buying a new kitchen, anyway you can. Get multiple quotes for items and see who wants to give you the best deal.
Buy with a boyfriend or friend or sibling. If you can’t get a mortgage on your own, invest with someone else this will get you on the ladder. Do everything 50/50 and make sure a contract is in place. Recommend to sign as tenants in common.