All Mr Haliburton's 150 properties are in the West Midlands in centres such as West Bromwich, Dudley and Wolverhampton, which he knows intimately. "I can't talk for other parts of the UK," he said. "The property market in this country is like many different countries put together. But in my area, HMO is booming. The tenant demand isn't drying up at all.
"And prices are low. You can feel a new energy in the market but prices haven't yet shifted. With interest rates steadfastly refusing to rise, investors are searching elsewhere for investment opportunities. One particular opportunity is the rental property market, you either get a mortgage on a property and then rent the property out, thus paying the mortgage. With property prices still rising, it's a technique that offers a degree of security whilst offering decent returns on your investment. However, its not without its pitfalls. The following link offers answers to questions such as Does Direct Line Landlord Insurance Cover Buy-To-Let Properties?.There's still over-supply."
READ: Will income from a £750k buy-to-let empire pay for our three babies?
Most of Mr Haliburton's 150-odd properties were three-bed family homes until he bought them. He then split them into six or seven bedrooms, each of which is let to separate tenants.
But now he is branching into formerly commercial property, too. He cites as an example an old pub which he bought for £80,000. The cost of refurbishing it and splitting it into 14 studios was a further £120,000. After that, each studio lets for about £100 per week -generating a total income from the block of £6,100 per month, or just over £70,000 per year.
That gives an astonishing yield of 35pc.
But the work is hard, warns Mr Haliburton. Of his total 840 tenants almost 500 are unemployed and on a variety of benefits. Some won't pay rent "as a matter of course", he said. In some cases he gets tenants to agree to rent being held and paid via a credit union. On other occasions the rent is paid directly by the local authority. But chasing money "sometimes from tenants who drink or have other issues" is an ongoing problem.
One arm of Mr Haliburton's growing empire is a training business in which he helps those who want to emulate his process.
Preparing would-be HMO landlords to engage with potentially difficult tenants is part of the course. "It's not the lack of knowledge that stops people from this type of buy-to-let," he said. "It's fear of the tenants. Some people just aren't confident enough or don't want to have those kinds of encounters."
Mr Haliburton now has over 40 staff to help him run his portfolio of HMOs. But he warns this dilutes returns. "You'll make the most money if you can keep it your own business, maybe stopping at ten properties. You have to be prepared to unblock toilets and so on, but you'll make more money."
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