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

There Are no Mistakes, Only Lessons

Jonathan Stein talks with Kelly Lemon about his latest project

It’s been 18 months since I last sat down with Jonathan Stein to discuss his property portfolio and his insistence on having multiple exits, a strategy that serves him well. A few months after our interview Jonathan signed an option agreement for a bungalow he suspected would get planning permission. After positive discussions with the planning department he then exchanged on the bungalow with a delayed completion. After successfully getting planning permission he has now sold the project on and enjoyed a three hundred plus percent return on his money over a nine month period. It’s also worth noting that to this day Jonathan still hasn’t even seen the bungalow in person and he only spends one day per week focused on property. Has that sparked your interest? It certainly did for me and I wanted to know more.

Jonathan’s calm demeanour at the beginning of our interview almost threw me off and for a moment I thought that this had been a rather straightforward deal. However, as with everything in property, the numbers only tell part of the story and there were certainly some jaw dropping moments during our latest interview. As we start to delve into the story surrounding this deal, Jonathan reminds me of the saying he has on his office wall; ‘remember there are no mistakes, only lessons.’   

Just before we delve into the details of the planning gain deal Jonathan did, it is worth giving those readers that missed his initial interview an overview of his property career to date; “I have been in property since 2004 when I started growing a rental portfolio alongside my corporate career. By 2013 I had 16 properties and left my corporate role to move into property trading and development full time. I still do this alongside running my tech startup, Vaboo, which I launched in late 2015.”

Jonathan is a keen networker and he found out about this property after chatting to a colleague about a property she was managing as a rent-to-rent project. “A contact of mine, Laura Crawford, whom I’d worked with previously had this property as a ‘rent to rent’ and was given notice from the owner as they needed to sell it. Having heard a lot about the property, its location and that it was a corner plot bungalow very close to a train station only 20 minutes from central London, I knew there was an opportunity. I asked Laura to help negotiate with the owners in order to secure a sale with a delayed completion. Laura also helped source the planning consultants and architects in return for a sourcing fee, subject to the project being successful.”

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