The monthly magazine providing news analysis and professional research for the discerning private investor/landlord

Understanding an Area and its Demographics

Kelly Lemon talks with Gavin Coutts about his experiences as a student property landlord

Gavin makes an interesting comment for an investor who has built up a portfolio over the past 10 years big enough to support himself and his family: "I don't care how much a property is worth." However, capital isn't Gavin's main focus, cashflow is. After he graduated from Dundee University and moved to London to work as a graphic designer I am keen to find out how and why Gavin got started in property.

"My wife Victoria worked as marketing manager for Deutsche Asset Management in 2006 while I was working in the design industry. We realised that we needed to invest for our future and it was fortunate that because of Victoria's job we had access to all the marketing materials and information relating to the investment and pension funds her company offered to their private clients. That sparked our interest in the subject of investing for the future and when reading some books on the topic of investing I came across Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T Kiyosaki and that opened our eyes to how flexible, creative and exciting the world of property investment could be.

"The concept of leverage to increase returns made us favour the property market over the stock market. The property market was also very hot in 2006 and it seemed like everyone was making money on TV programmes like Property Ladder. At the time Victoria already owned the flat she lived in, based in Clapham, and also had her old flat that she kept hold of and rented out in Shepard's Bush. So I guess Victoria already had a vested interest in the property market and some experience of being a landlord already.

With that the decision was made to start investing in property in 2006. "Victoria had built up a large chunk of equity in the two properties that she owned. We were able to release some equity and our initial strategy was to concentrate on one and two bedroom flats in up and coming areas in London. We bought a one bed flat together in Crystal Palace. That area was part of the East London Line Extension so we figured prices would do well there. It turned out to be the right decision and that property has done well for us and we still own it today.

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