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 Landlord Profile: John Socha, property investor and portfolio landlord


  • Ex National Landlords Association (NLA) Chairman
  • Started own business in 1995
  • 25 properties
  • Average yield of 7.7%
  • Average length of tenancy 4.8 years

When did you start your property portfolio?

I became a portfolio landlord due to the redundancy monies I received when I left Dun & Bradstreet Ltd (the business credit rating agency) in 1992.

Having resisted the temptation to reduce my home mortgage, I bought my first two properties in 1996, a two bedroom semi and a studio apartment.

Today my portfolio consist of 25 properties in the Northampton area, which two are currently being built.

How did you start your portfolio?

I borrowed against my two properties to buy the third one. I borrowed from Nationwide Building Society, when they were in the portfolio landlord business. Nationwide now only lends to Buy To Let landlords through the Mortgage Works.

What tips can you give landlords to run a successful property portfolio?

Achieving the best yields can be done by sticking to the same locality. Many years ago I met a landlord who had purchased five properties in four different towns. The petrol costs were astronomic! Even worse, local agents to pay and manage.

In addition, stick to what you know works for you. Running HMOs is very different fom running self contained accomodation, even flats versus houses are different as well. Yields are far higher in the "intensive" part of the rental market, versus self contained accommodation.

Scattering your investments all over the UK is far from "spreading" the risk, you compound it. Know your market, that is true in any business. Housing is no different.

All my properties are located in Northampton, less than 4 miles to the most distant. My yield is average due to me having owned the majority of the properties for over 15 years.

Click here to calculate how much you can save with Upad

John's killer tips:

  • Stick to markets you know and are good at servicing and you enjoy dealing with
  • Yield is a function of how much personal time and effort you are prepared to allocate to your investment
  • Choose a property letting agent like Upad that allows you to stay in control of your portfolio
  • Find tenants that you think you can do good business with. If you do not get the right feeling about a tenant, do you need to take them on?

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