It’s not often I give my back story or even open up too deeply about what’s been going on with me… mainly I love working with property investors and making sure that they are a huge success! However, a little while ago I was asked these questions and I thought you might enjoy the read!
Intro about yourself (Name / Age / Where you’re based / Name of your company)
Natasha Collins MRICS, 28, Putney, London. My awesome company is NC Real Estate
Your main property strategy:
I have 3 different portfolios… my own properties, I have 3 and it will be staying that way for a while, I’m paying down the mortgages, maximising the rent and income on my one SA (these are high yielding and support me perfectly fine, you don’t need many properties for that ‘freedom lifestyle’).
Then I have my parents pension trust, which I’m doubling every few years by increasing the value of assets and then using the equity to expand… this is a 10 year plan.
I also have a development company with my friend and business partner called NC & NCC Investments Ltd and those properties are purely just flips… we buy properties maximise their values and sell them again, purely for the enjoyment of topping up the business float.
Your current level of success (In terms of amount of units / finances / future plans / deals in the pipeline etc):
My successes… I think this is far different then you might think! I love buying properties and maximising the income is fabulous but…
NC Real Estate is one of my biggest success to date, I set up the Members Club to educate investors in best practice, awesome strategy and give them someone to talk to when they need it. My greatest joy is seeing the excitement in my investors when they have breakthroughs, buy another property or achieve a goal, I’ll often be dancing around with them celebrating its an incredible feeling.
Another one of my triumphs and ohmygosh I’m blown away by this every time I think of it, is the success of my Supercharge Your Wellbeing seminars… and yes before you ask it has everything to do with property. I created these as a response to my own wellbeing problems. When I took my APC, (assessment of professional competence to become a chartered surveyor) the first time I was having serious mental health problems. I was working full time as a surveyor, revising for my APC, working towards my masters in Real Estate Surveying AND investing in property. I was so burnt out that by the time my APC came round I couldn’t cope with questions and I tanked badly. I was an awesome surveyor with no self belief. So I spent the next 6 months working on my wellbeing and happily passed it on my second attempt. For the last 12 months I’ve been hosting seminars in partnership with LionHeart (The RICS’s charity) to support other surveyors and help them feel supported and to give them back their self-confidence. Its a priceless skill which will get you far. I love the transformations. Seeing graduate surveyors believe they are awesome surveyors and then passing their APCs with confidence makes me so proud. As I write I’m flying to Glasgow to roll out a new wave of seminars in Scotland… wow.
Finally, being a University Lecturer, who would have thought it?! Having worked with over £500 million (seriously!!) of property, the University College of Estate Management took me on to teach the property management modules to undergrads and masters students. It is so fantastic to see my students grow… these are the property professionals of the future and they are going to keep this industry an awesome place to be.
I don’t see my success in owning property, I find success in empowering people to go out there and be their amazing selves. My property portfolio has been the catalyst for allowing me to do that… I’m not tied to anything I get to do what I absolutely love!! (And also meet some truly amazing inspiring people)
How / why you got started in property:
I got started in property by accident, I had a lot of debt whilst studying for my undergraduate degree (Join Hons Geography & Computing) so took a job at a letting agent to pay my bills. Through letting a property to a client he asked me to babysit for his children. From there he suggested I became a surveyor and got me a graduate position in London where I quickly became head of asset management and was running estates for the NHS and large Landed Estates among others. I decided early on I couldn’t manage other peoples portfolios without having my own… so negotiated with my parents to remortgage their house so I could get a deposit and brought my first BTL in Notting Hill… a tiny 350sq ft top floor one bed which in 2011 I got for £200k. I’ve paid them back through a tactical remortgage. I then got my masters and became chartered… here I am!
Biggest mistake you’ve made that others should avoid:
The biggest mistake you could make… following anyone else’s strategy word for word. You’ve got your own goals, build a portfolio that suits that, it wont work chasing someone else’s dreams. I built the members club to teach that, thinking for yourself, building a strategy that works for you and sprinkled with some tweaking from me and action taking from the investor to make sure the goals are achieved.
Number 1 piece of advice to someone starting out:
If you are starting out. Buy your own property first, take huge advantage of the tax breaks available to you (no SDLT!) and the awesome first time buyer mortgages. Also you want to be a Landlord? Rent a room so you can take advantage of the circa £7k tax free income you can get.
Work on a positive mindset, property investment can be hard… even now deals don’t go as planned for me, as much as I’ve just written about how rosey things are…sometimes terrible deals happen purely because you cant be in control of everyone. I will go to the end of the earth for a client to make a deal work for them and still sometimes I don’t get the best outcome – I’m an ‘expert in my field’… its OK. Learn from it and move on. Money is just money, its a tool not a death sentence and property is a business not personal. As long as you act with honesty, transparency and ethically you will come right in the end.
After every deal I reflect with my solicitor (and now great friend) on what went well and what I could have done better… investing in property is a process, a cycle.