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

Trading Places

Kelly Lemon talks with Cardiff based property trader Mark King

Over the past twenty years this investor has bought and sold hundreds of properties. As a property trader this is not out of the ordinary, however, after building up a personal buy to let portfolio that generated enough cash for him to live on - he decided to sell his entire portfolio …twice. Now I am intrigued to find out a little more about Mark King.

Mark moved from South London to South Wales in his early twenties and after a car crash in 1996 Mark decided to build up a buy to let portfolio of HMO properties. "I started in 1996 after recovering from a road accident. I was looking to move away from my sales management job in a corporate telecoms group. I could see that the earning potential was uncapped and that the area I was living in had strong demand for rental property. I'd moved to Cardiff in the early 1990s as there was huge regeneration going on and it was relatively cheap to get into the market."

His initial strategy was HMO (houses in multiple occupation) properties. "My focus was on yield and also I guessed that bigger properties in popular areas would appreciate faster than flats or small houses which proved correct." Mark is a self-taught investor and from an early age had watched his family work within the property industry. "My extended family had been builders and developers in the Chelsea/South Kensington area of London for many generations. Although their wealth had faded by my generation I could see what relatively ordinary people could achieve."  

Between 1996 and 2001 Mark had built up a HMO portfolio of seven properties. This gave him enough cashflow to take the plunge when the company he worked for offered him redundancy. He wasn't keen on working for others so the situation worked out well for him. However, he was getting to the point where his savings were not enough to continue buying property. "Initially I used cash deposits and mortgages to fund my purchases and I've generally paid down debt and not been a fan of over extending myself."

It was this situation that prompted Mark to start trading properties instead of buying to hold. "I started trading around 2001
as I needed to bolster my capital pot whilst buying buy to let properties. The constant deposit requirement for mortgages quickly depletes reserves. I now purchase properties generally direct from vendor with a number of exit strategies such as selling to developers, landlords or owner-occupiers. My margin can be from buying below market value, adding planning gain, splitting titles or refurbishment value added."

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