TWO ambitious brothers are proving that age is no barrier to business growth as they build a multimillion pound portfolio and their reputations among property investors across the UK.
Anthony Hunter, 26, and elder brother Chris Hunter, 28, who bought his first property aged just 19, together run Newcastle-based Chant Properties North East and use investors’ cash to buy-up, refurbish and let out residential properties in the region.
This approach to finance, which was originally born out of their inability to raise deposits themselves due to their age but has since proved to fill a vital gap in the market for cash rich/time poor investors, means the business is now purchasing an average of one new property per month.
And the pair, who have a firm, five-year business plan, intend to increase this purchase rate almost three-fold to 30 properties a year by the end of year five.
And they say online accounting software Xero, which they have installed following advice from their accountant, Robson Laidler Director Martin Wardle, has been integral in “knowing the numbers” and giving them the confidence to expand.
Chant Properties director Anthony Hunter said: “There is a bit of stigma towards being young in business and let’s face it, neither of us look particularly old. People have this pre-conception that we might run off to Ibiza with their money so we have worked hard to build trust with our investors.
“They now know that we do what we say we are going to do, purchasing and turning round the right properties quickly, and then return their money, with the exact rate of return we promised. And then actually, most of them then see how easy it has been and ask if they can reinvest.
“Building trust and credibility, with both investors and estate agents, has been the most crucial thing for us. Followed closely by using the most up-to-date accounting software. We can even set Xero to alert us when rent has not been paid, which is so simple, but means rent arrears would never be allowed to escalate.”
Chant Properties has grown its rental portfolio up largely by targeting former local authority properties with big rooms, near good schools.
Director Chris Hunter said; “People tell us the ship has sailed on property investment because house prices aren’t rising at anything like the rate they were.
“However, we recognise that there is certainly a market for our business model as people with surplus money but no spare time are seeking out a better return on investment than they can get from savings or ISAs during this sustained period of low interest rates.
“We are currently viewing up to 30 properties a month, that’s a lot of viewings and a lot of relationships with estate agents. But that viewing level is necessary if you are looking to complete on a property every 30 days. It’s a full time job seeking out, and securing, good opportunities but with the right house in the right place there is still great returns to be had.”
In order to fulfil its business plan, Chant Properties is on the lookout for new investors.
Robson Laidler director Martin Wardle said: “I have worked with landlords and property developers for many years now and it’s always good to see just how resilient they are as a group.
“Many people, myself included, thought that the recent changes to tax for landlords would all but finish off the sector. Working with Anth and Chris is proof that there are still good opportunities for those that put the work in.”