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Playing The Game With Property

Portfolio landlord Angela Bryant talks with Kelly Lemon

I was utterly shocked when George Osborne announced that landlords would no longer be able to claim most of their mortgage costs as an expense. Utterly. It is so shockingly outrageous and scandalous; it’s disgusting.” Angela Bryant admits it was an emotional reaction and a few years later she has a slightly different take on the section 24 tax changes, but we’ll get to that later in the interview. It has taken her time to come to terms with the tax changes and implement a plan to deal with them. That’s no surprise given Angela had just hit her goal of owning one hundred Buy To Let properties before Mr Osborne changed the ‘rules of the game’.

Over the past few years Angela has been on quite a journey. She has made some key decisions in her own portfolio and she has also explored other ways of making money in property which is outlined in her latest book; ‘The Complete Guide to Property Strategies’. To date Angela describes her journey in property investing as ‘playing a game’, a game that has brought her and her family great financial success, and a game she says is still worth playing despite government changing the rules.

However, before we delve into the last few years I am keen to know how a stay at home mum raising three children managed to buy 100 BTL properties. “Dave and I married when we were both 21. We took lodgers for around ten years and that helped to pay off the mortgage on our first home. Someone at Dave’s work mentioned they were renting a flat for £400pm and we realised the mortgage would be only half that so you’d make a profit and it seemed preferable to lodgers as by now we had three young children. This was in 1995 and before buy to let so we re-mortgaged our home and bought a flat. We carried on having just one lodger instead of two and with the rent and Dave’s income we again paid off that mortgage within three more years (it was around £30k). By then we wanted to move to a 4 bedroom house and when I went to see a mortgage broker and explained we owned our home and a flat with no mortgages he asked if I’d heard of BTL…the rest, as they say, is history.”

Angela continues: “After moving house and settling in we re-mortgaged the flat with a BTL mortgage and used that money plus more savings of around £10k by then (we weren’t big spenders) to buy three more houses in 1998. From that point, with house prices rising, the portfolio mushroomed as we simply drew down more equity to use as deposits to buy more whenever we could. However, by 2004 the game changed somewhat as rents became the limiting factor that prevented us from further drawdowns as they weren’t rising in line with property prices. So I had to find another way. By now, with the internet, I’d started going on property forums and heard about A Quick Sale Ltd (AQS) which was a franchise that helped franchisees with marketing for below market value deals as well as supporting and educating us about how to do no money down deals with instant remortgaging, as was allowed at the time. So I carried on doing deals – sometimes no money down, though not always as I also used property income as it built up and did the odd buy to sell. That all came to a halt though with the credit crunch when the plug was pulled on NMD and with crashing property prices many in AQS suffered badly and most of us eventually left.

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