It’s been a busy couple of months for Julia Matthews. Since joining Platinum Property Partners in March 2017, she and her husband Philip have attended a two-day bootcamp, had their purchase mentoring with Mike Dixon and refurbishment mentoring with Kim Thorogood. Now sale agreed on their first property, Julia explains how she’s found the first few weeks as a franchise partner.

“I was keen to get started with the training and mentoring as soon as possible. I was still slightly concerned whether the training and mentoring was as good as we had been led to believe and not just a sales pitch to get us to join. And now I know that it’s actually one of the main areas that Platinum excels in.

Our training started with purchase mentoring with Mike Dixon. It was an intense couple of days, and while I probably wouldn’t have initially chosen to do it that way, I can see why it works. We viewed 10 properties on the first day, had three second viewings and two initial viewings on the second day and were sale agreed on our first property by the end of that day. It does mean you get things done and progress very quickly.

Unfortunately, work commitments meant that Philip couldn’t join us for the first day, but it worked out better, because he was then able to help me shortlist three properties for second viewing objectively. The problem was that I’d done pretty well in selecting the properties in the first place and all of them worked well as HMOs. And so Philip said, let’s just look at the numbers.

It was great to hear that Mike agreed with us. He told us he would let us know if a property didn’t work, but he didn’t want us to be influenced by his favourite. As it happens, the property we went sale agreed on was the first choice for all three of us.

Property Investor Julia Matthews _HMO pictures

We then attended bootcamp at the Platinum Head Office in Bournemouth. It was extremely useful and we loved meeting other people who were also starting their journey. You get a very good overview of the business, there’s a good combination of practical and theoretical learning and the supporting material is excellent. I’m now working on setting up a good online filing system that will work for me so that I can go back to it when I need to.

The thing I am looking forward to the most at this stage is getting our first property finished and fully tenanted so that I can be comfortable with the whole process. I’m also really excited about the refurbishment because even though I am following a proven system, there is still room for individuality and creativity.

We had our refurbishment mentoring with Kim Thorogood, who was very thorough about everything needed, from room sizes to amenities and health and safety requirements. It’s a five-bedroom detached town house which we are going to turn into a six-bedroom HMO with four en-suite bathrooms.

To add value, we’re going to build an extension, which will involve a build over agreement because of the location of the current drainage. This will be another learning curve for me. It’s three-storey, so we don’t need planning permission but we do need a licence. We’ve already met with the HMO officer, who is happy with our plans.

I left our fellow attendees at bootcamp with the impression that we would be adding colour and sparkle throughout our properties, which was not strictly true, but we will be avoiding the magnolia!

It will be about 12 weeks before we are able to start the refurbishment, so we have time to get things in order. The challenge is going to be finding a builder who is available, because of course, a good builder is always busy. But we currently have tenders out, so fingers crossed! So far, the whole process has been very well-paced and I have complete faith that this venture will work.”