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Buy to Let Property Sourcing

Being a Property Sourcer

I’ve got to admit it, Saturday’s course was ace!

Twelve people in a room with one hugely successful property sourcer who usually earns over £12,000 a month – what’s not to love?

I knew much of what we were taught, which was great – confirmation that I’m on the right track. Because I’ve already been working with investors and already have my own portfolio I knew more than some people. And no doubt less than others.

One thing that worried me a little was the lady sitting next to me, who said she had got into sourcing properties because she wanted something easy.

“I love the thought of being able to package something up, send it off and collect my money,” she told me.

Now either I have been sourcing properties for investors wrong, or she is in for a bit of a shock. The two most stressful things in life are apparently divorce and buying a house.

As a sourcer you might deal with the first, and you will almost definitely deal with the second (unless you only source rent to rent deals, for example).

I’ve bought numerous houses over the years and each purchase has had its stressful moments along the way. Why someone would think managing a house purchase – or several at a time – dealing with both the buyer AND the seller – would not each come with its stresses I have no idea.

As usual, I was crippled with self doubt and immediately assumed I’ve been doing something wrong. But I don’t think I have. I suspect this lady has been sold a dream, or allowed herself to hear a dream, and she could be in for a rude awakening.

Anyway, enough about someone else. I have more than enough to worry about concentrating on myself.

With Sarah Poynton-Ryan, super successful property sourcer

I came away with a set of actions, for sure. I also realised I needed to do a lot of thinking.

Sarah Poynton-Ryan, the sourcer who ran the course, sources properties all over the country, never visiting any of the properties. I’ve always seen myself being much more of a local property sourcer, property professional. I’m working hard to get to know my area, get established here, get known. Once our new company – not the bathroom business, the next one (!) gets going, we’ll become synonymous with our local patch. The anonymity of sourcing nationally unsettled me.

I previously spent time with a different trainer, whose approach was far more hands on, and aligned better with my comfort zone. So do I want to be him, and possibly limit myself in this small and rural area? Or do I want to think bigger, harder, nationally.

Two days on I’ve given my subconscious chance to tell me what it wants. It told me pretty clearly that I don’t, currently, want to be a hardened, big-scale sourcer, although no doubt deals from around the country will come my way as I get more established.

Dean and I want to offer a refurb service to our investor clients. We want to work with them as partners, not just passing deals on. We’ll probably end up managing those properties later once they are let. That might change, of course, and maybe I’m just playing it safe?

Either way, it shows the power of taking time out to learn. Knowledge truly is power, even if it is the power to know that something is not for me. I picked up loads of tips and info on Saturday that will serve me whatever I decide to do.

I might kick myself later, because following Sarah’s path might be more lucrative more quickly, and I hate the thought that I might be playing it safe! But everything is fluid and movable and the journey ahead is long and full of opportunity!



Buy to Let Leap of Faith Property Sourcing

So far so good!

It’s 11.17 pm on Friday night, and I’m sitting on my bed in a hotel in Milton Keynes (I know, the glamour, right?!)

It’s ages since I blogged, I’m so sorry. Partly this communication failure was due to my laptop needing to go to the mender’s, partly it was because everysinglefrickindayseemstolastabouttwosecondsatthemoment.

Seriously. The alarm goes off at 6.02 am, I take a couple of deep breaths, spin around, eat something and suddenly it’s 11.17 at night and I’m finally blogging.

(Where do those days go? I seriously need to start taking more control of my days. Plans are needed. Ok, more of that later, not now when I’m too tired to think.)

Back to my lack of blogging. Actually, my blogging blackout has been a good sign.

Last time I scribbled my thoughts into the universe it was the day before T was due to join us, our new sales director/project manager type. It was a true leap of faith and I had NO idea here how it was going to go.

OMG folks.

It has been AMAZING.

It could have gone two ways, but I am so delighted to say that it went the right one. We are six weeks in and already things have turned around unbelievably.

I’m giving myself a quiet pat on the back here, because I followed my instincts and brought him on board, even thought it was a huge financial risk to do so. It still is – I mean, it’s early days – but it seems to be paying off.

On his second day he went round all the suppliers and potential suppliers, negotiating discounts with them on bathroom products. I mean, I don’t even know how to do stuff like that.

In the past week he has gone out alone to do price ups. There was me thinking he would be doing that six months down the line.

We are booked up until August, with deposits received from customers which means there is money in the bank like never before.

We’re not rich. Yet. Far from it. But the signs are there. Not that we’ll all be driving around in brand new Mercs by Christmas, that’s not really us – more that there is now the possibility that we will be able to build up enough reserves so that the business will still be around in a year’s time. Less of the luxury profits, more of the actually building some decent foundations.

And the very fact that I’m here, sitting in this overheated Novotel is because tomorrow I’m due to attend a course on sourcing properties. Because after cutting back on all my other business interests to focus on the main one, I have finally felt that I will be able to make some headspace for another income stream.

And because our bathroom and building businesses bring us into contact with people constantly, we are in a great place to take advantage.

So I’m hearing you ask what a property sourcer does. The answer is simple – they source property ‘deals’ for other people, usually investors.

Say someone has a pot of money they want to invest but nowhere to invest it. They might approach a property sourcer to find them a decent property at a bargain price, they then pay the sourcer a fee for that ‘bargain’ and they keep it as an investment. Or do a refurb and sell it on for profit. The key is in the sourcer fee – it can be a nice little earner, in fact I know some people making a very good living out of property sourcing.

But how on erath do you find bargain properties, I also hear you ask. That’s where the nice bit comes in. Property can be bloody brilliant but properties can also be a nightmare. Inherited houses, houses that won’t sell, houses that need refurbing etc etc can all become real problems for people. Then there are issues like divorce, relocation, downsizing etc etc which can make people want to sell fast. For these people, the property sourcer can be a huge help to get them out of a problem situation, and if that means dropping the price then for many it’s worth it.

I already work with investors and I know a bunch I haven’t worked with yet, so I know I will be able to sell on deals.

And I already know of people who have told me of their own ‘problem properties’ – so I know they are very much out there.

So I reckon I’m going to do okay at this property sourcing.

And if it brings me in a salary then that will take pressure off the business, while allowing me to split my time between the two.

I have so many ideas and plans it’s hard to contain them all. But I will, I have to!

Right now there are four people’s salaries balancing on one small job. So the foundations absolutely need to strengthen. And I’m hoping sourcing properties will compliment our family business, not distract me too much from it.

I’m hoping that T will continue to take more work away from me, so that I can do more like this, sit in the Novotel and blog about exciting things happening tomorrow.

I can’t wait!







Buy to Let Change your Mindset Positive Thinking Progressive Property Property Time Efficiency

A Wasted Journey… almost

So it could have been infuriating.

On Wednesday night Dean and I left Cumbria for the 223-mile journey down to Peterborough.

We were due on the Joint Venture course at Progressive Property*. Two whole days of learning how to work with investors – which agreements to use, how to ensure we stay well within the law and within agreements that will work for us, any potential investors and everyone else.

Wednesday was a crazy day. Hey, every day is crazy for us!

My parents have come to stay for a month (I enrolled them in Sam-and-dog-sitting some weeks ago), and just before they arrived Dean decided to take down a wall and the old ceiling in their en suite. Then he found the existing shower was faulty. Then, both jobs we had ongoing developed unexpected issues. So, everything fell behind schedule and when my parents arrived, wearily stepping into the house after a long, long drive, the room was still filthy and full of tools and Dean was flustered and busy with hours ahead.

Naturally, one of our neighbours/friends who has been incredibly supportive then called to say her bath was leaking into the floor below.

It was also enrolment night for Sam at his new college course.

We had an appointment booked with potential bathroom clients which I had provisionally aimed at approximately 5.30pm.

So the plan was to casually swan off, all ready and prepared at 4.30pm, pop into college with Sam, then leave him settling in with all his new friends and with money to take the train home while we headed south, via the potential clients.

Of course that didn’t happen!

At 4pm, with Dean still hard at work, I took my mum and the dogs up to the field so she could see what to do when it came to walking them.

At 4.50pm I took Sam into college, he enrolled, but of course we couldn’t leave him, they needed to speak to me. Apparently adults are still responsible for young people, even once they have reached the dizzy age of 16!

Dean and I finally left at 6.30pm, got to the friend/neighbour’s who had by then gone out, we made it to the client’s house at 7pm – they want to go ahead, which is good news – and eventually set off on the long road south at 8 pm.

And then came the final disaster. As we neared the final 90 minutes of the journey, the A1 was closed with a diversion in place. It took us on a wide tour of central England, a long line of diverted traffic crawling through sleeping villages and past dark farms, as we argued over whether we should stick to the diversion or follow a different route using our phones. It was well past midnight by the time we got to the hotel and entered our stale smoke-filled room. The mattress was pretty lumpy and uncomfortable – a little like a water bed, wobbling every time one of us moved.

We arrived at Progressive Property towers just before 9;30am on Thursday feeling absolutely shattered. Even through my exhaustion I sensed something was wrong when I saw the small group of peple gathered there, with trainers I recognised from a different course – I’ve done plenty of courses at Progressive, I usually can’t recommend them highly enough.

My sinking feeling turned out to be right. The course had been cancelled some weeks earlier and for some reason I was never notified. It was pretty mortifying after the long drive and the cost of the fuel, hotel and, most importantly, our TIME.

But, it was my own fault for not checking and, with the benefit of hindsight, it seems extremely stupid to have set off for such a long way without double checking the event was still on. (In my defense, all the courses I’ve attended previously at Progressive Property have all run as planned, in fact they’ve all without fail been absolutely superb learning.)

We returned to the hotel in a disappointed daze, gutted to have wasted so much time, but determined to make the best of it that we could. We popped to the shopping centre next to the hotel and bought some new shirts for Dean (he was a man in desperate need of a few shirts!) Then we set  off for home feeling shattered and resentful and dreaming of the wonderful sleep we would have had that night if we were at home. As Dean drove, I leaned against my pillow and tried – failed – to sleep.

And then, something miraculous happpened. From somewhere came a second burst of energy, and we started talking about the property we’re living in, the one we’ve been considering turning into a house of multiple occupancy – an HMO.

We priced up pretty much the entire work needed, something we’ve been planning to do for ages. If the sums don’t work, we won’t do the work needed to create the HMO, so this was crucial.

We also stopped at a few kitchen places on our way back up north.

It meant that once we arrived back at home, to two delighted dogs and three bemused humans, we could begin a serious discussion about what to do with the property. And so the decision was reached. There will be no HMO. Instead we will renovate to a high standard, ready for a family home, and either let it or sell it as such.

The work needed to make this old, slightly awkward property into a 5-bed, 5-en suite HMO is just too much and too expensive. It would take every penny that we have, and it would take forever. And right now we need to keep hold of some money, and we need as soon as possible to be able to concentrate 100% on the business.

And although I’d been looking forward to putting an HMO together, it is a relief to have finally made a decision. Now we can move forward, get it done, and get back to business.

I would have preferred not to spend hours in the van, traipsing for miles through the dark, not really sleeping on a dodgy mattress, and losing a day’s work.

But by deciding not to let the day be a waste, we turned something that could have been really negative into a positive, and that was definitey worth doing.

(Oh, and Progressive have offered to reimburse what we’ve spent and they’ve given us a choice of dates to attend the next course, so we will be back – although we might change hotel.)


*Progressive Property is probably the UK’s biggest and best property success story, started by two friends and colleagues, Rob Moore and Mark Homer, and offering fantastic training into how to make money from property. Their courses are awesome (we’ve been on loads of them) and it all starts at their Multiple Streams of Property Income course (MSOPI) which is a 3-day course all about property. Tickets usually cost a few hundred pounds but they are free if you get referred from someone else – if you would like free tickets email me at and I will make sure you get yours!

Attracting Income Attracting Success Business success Buy to Let Change your life Property Time Efficiency

How Not to Waste Time

If you are thinking of becoming a landlord, be aware that when you rent out properties,  there is ALWAYS something that needs to be done!

(Yes, even if you do use an agent to manage your property.)

So here’s the story:

Monday: Email from the letting agent on Monday to say the arm on one of the sofas has broken and would I like them to source a new one (couch not arm) for £295 + VAT?

Positive: Agent would find new sofa and have delivered. No hassle to me.

Negative: Next month’s rent would be around £350 down. Plus I would have to pay for the old sofa to be removed.


Tuesday: Tenant of another property (very local to us here) asks randomly if I know anyone who wants a new sofa. Amazing! I look, it’s in great condition, a couple of years old, still with Fire Regulations tags attached.

Positive: Just been offered replacement sofa for free!

Negative: House is nearly 100 miles away and couch will need to be delivered there.


Wednesday: I speak to Dean. We decide to take the sofa to the house ourselves.

Positve: Even with fuel we will save around £300.

Negative: We’ll use up a huge amount of our own time taking it.


Saturday: We take the sofa but we use the day as best we can:

  1. We turn it into one of our regular property inspections
  2. It’s good to see the tenants again and chat about any issues
  3. While Dean drives, I work out profit/loss on the business
  4. We listen to ‘Uncommon Sense’ by Mark Homer on Audible, to increase our business knowledge*
  5. We take Frankie the dog, which gives her experience travelling in the van
  6. AND I film the day, which turns into this:

So we turned what could have been a wasted day into a useful one. Frankie got to see some of the world, I got my Yorkshire fix, Dean and I both learned something about investing from Mark’s book (which is brilliant by the way, I heartily recommend it and you can check it out here if you like) AND we got a film out of it for the Project Life Success channel.

Which I like to think of as a Successful Outcome. Hurrah and Double Tick!! √√

*Audible is pretty much the best thing EVER! I love to listen to audio books while I’m driving or doing housework (not that I do alot) plus all those other times when you’re still doing things but are in a position to listen. The subscription is something like £7.99 a month and for that you get a book free. Utterly recommended! √


Project Life Success – changing career aged 40+ and building my own business!