Back in the mid-90s the advent of buy-to-let mortgages began and despite ongoing criticism by those representing tenants’ interests, the Private Rented Sector (PRS) has grown substantially. Since we launched this magazine back in early 2002, the growth in buy-to-let has also resulted in many individuals and companies providing safe and good quality homes for their tenant-customers as the social housing sector stagnated.
Prior to the mid-90s, the PRS was dominated by many ‘old school’ landlords who had to overcome a different set of problems than are being experienced by many people today. Many landlords had their rental properties close to home, which from a management viewpoint is almost essential for larger HMO units.
However, as property values increased and rental yields reduced, many property investors then spread their activities further out and built buy-to-let portfolios in locations often hundreds of miles from their own home.
Given the above, it was refreshing to talk with Adam Vickers, who is a very experienced portfolio landlord, letting agent and developer based in Reading and as he explained to me, that is firmly his ‘patch’.
“Yes, this is our hometown and it’s where we have our properties,” said Adam. “I was born and raised in a family of local builders here and that is where it all began. I have over the years put in a lot of time and effort to create our portfolio and property business and at 37 I am now at a stage where I am enjoying the benefits of not having to do so many working hours as I previously did.
“I have grown the portfolio over the years from doing single lets to HMOs and doing small developments and then I started a lettings agency here in Reading about four years ago. I also run the Reading Property Meet every month and we get a good attendance of local investors and trades.”
As Adam has mentioned, he had an advantage in being brought up in a family of builders but as he explained about his ‘journey’ his preference was to work on the business side of property rather than being hands-on with the build side.
“I bought my first property in 2008 and then created an HMO and added an annex to the house, which I rented out,” he added. “My brother, who is a hands-on builder, converted a garage at a cost of £28,000, which I paid for on credit cards, and which is not a recommended route. I then rang the bank to do a re-mortgage and they then valued it upwards by £70,000 which was obviously a positive result and so I thought I had stumbled across a literal ‘holy grail’ of money making.