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Investing in Commercial Property

Commercial property investor Ranjan Bhattacharya talks with Editor Richard Bowser about his latest project

Some fifteen years ago anyone attending any of the annual major property exhibitions at London’s Excel venue would have observed some packed attendances in seminar theatres where Ranjan Bhattacharya was presenting. In recent years he has become known as the host of the well-attended monthly property networking event, the Baker Street Property Meet, which regularly attracts audiences of up to 300 individuals.

I met up with Ranjan recently to learn more about his latest commercial property venture in St. Albans and to find out how and why he has adapted his investing approach. For those who are not aware of his property activities Ranjan initially explained his career background.

“On graduating from University, I joined Accenture as a management consultant, took time out for an MBA then went back into strategic consultancy. I did all that for some ten years before making the decision go to go full-time into property in 2001.”

What was your first property and why? - “When I got my graduate job offer in 1990, I thought it would be a good idea to buy a property in a London surburb. This was during a recessionary period and by chance I came across a motivated seller who needed to sell quickly and who accepted my below market value offer for the property, because that’s all I could afford. With my job offer in place from a big management consultancy firm I then managed to get a 100% residential mortgage.

“At the time I thought I would be working in London so my plan was to live there. However I quickly discovered that a management consultant is always being posted away from home, so I rented the place out. I then quickly realised that this was quite a good arrangement so then went about finding more motivated sellers of properties which I would then rent out room-by-room, producing good cash-flow. At that time, I was typically buying a property every six months.

‘Before the concept of BTL mortgages came in, I was getting mortgages on the strength of my employment. In 2001 the non-status BTL mortgage came in, which is the time that I quit my former career.”

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